“Furthermore, the court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner (SGR) is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition has no residence.” ~ Judge John R. McBride, dismissing OFP petition Grazzini-Rucki v. Brodkorb, 9/22/2016
Dakota County, MN: Judge Karen Asphaug issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, citing a probation violation for not disclosing her address to the court. Sandra is currently homeless, and not a resident of the state of Minnesota. The arrest warrant comes even though Sandra is already being held in jail, and no bail hearing has ever been conducted. Judge Asphaug insists that Sandra must complete her sentence with 6 years of probation and conditions, forcing her to live in Minnesota for the duration of probation. Judge Asphaug refuses to allow Sandra to finish her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug is wasting valuable time and resources of the courts, correctional department and costing the tax payers of Dakota County when this case could be quickly, and efficiently resolved by having Sandra complete her sentence in prison.
On Monday, November 21, 2016, at 9 am, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki will face Judge Karen Asphaug for a hearing concerning the alleged probation violation. According to records, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was taken into custody on November 3, 2016, and is currently in custody at the Ramsey County Workhouse. The violation concerns Sandra’s alleged “refusal” to provide the courts with an address to where she lives. Why has an arrest warrant been issued against someone who is already being held in jail? Sandra has not even had a bail hearing. Usually the court places a hold on a prisoner NOT issue a nationwide warrant. Homeless Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has made so many appearances in the Dakota County Judicial Center, that indeed, it could be listed as her address.
For Judge Asphaug to demand that Sandra disclose an address is ridiculous – Sandra is considered long-term homeless, meaning she does not have a permanent address. Sandra also is not a resident of the state of Minnesota. Sandra was arrested by US Marshals on October 18, 2015 in Florida for felony deprivation of parental rights and subsequently brought to Minnesota, and booked into jail on November 5th. Since November 5, 2015, Sandra has been homeless – she has been held in jail for much of that time, and alternately, reported to be “couch hopping”.
Sandra is considered “long term homeless” meaning she has been lacking a permanent place to live for a year or more, or has been homeless at least 4 times in the past 3 years (both requirements for long-term homeless apply to Sandra). Many homeless individuals resort to “Couch hopping”; which is a term for temporary shelter (i.e. sleeping on the couch). Couch Hopping does not offer permanent shelter, so even if an individual is temporarily staying in one location, it is not considered a permanent address. In Sandra’s situation, she has only been able to obtain temporary shelter, she is homeless and without an address.
Factors to becoming long-term homeless include: being previously homeless for long periods of time, faced with a situation or set of circumstances likely to cause the individual to become homeless in the near future, discharged from a correctional facility, lack of sufficient resources and unable to pay for a place to live. ALL of these factors apply to Sandra. Minnesota Housing Finance Agency: Long-Term Homeless Definitions
Further, Findings of Fact (#6) and testimony from the September HRO hearing validate that indeed Sandra is homeless, and without a permanent address, “Petitioner’s lawyer, Ms. MacDonald, informed the Court that her client is “homeless.” (Ms. MacDonald used the word homeless.) Ms. MacDonald further indicated that her client had been homeless since the year 2012. Ms. MacDonald stated that she had permitted Petitioner to stay in her office, and that her client was staying there at the time of filing the instant petition. Ms. MacDonald did not indicate how long her client had been staying in her office.“ Defendant Michael Brodkorb also argued the HRO be dismissed on grounds of “improper venue” meaning Sandra had not proven her address to be permanently residing in Washington County. Judge McBride later accepted that Sandra is homeless, and has no permanent residence; his ruling to dismiss the HRO is based on Sandra’s inability to prove residency in Washington County.
Judge McBride determined in his ruling that, “3. Minn. Stat. § 609.748 does not supply a definition of the term residence. Elsewhere in the law, however, residence is defined as “the place where a party has established a permanent home from which the party has no present intention of moving.” Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 9. It is doubtful that Petitioner ever established a “permanent home” in her lawyer’s office. 4. Furthermore, the Court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition, has no residence. It follows that Petitioner does not have a residence in Washington County.“
Second, Judge Asphaug is basically demanding that a resident (who?!?!) in Minnesota offer to give Sandra shelter, at their own financial expense, and endure the invasions of legal involvement on their own personal lives just so Sandra can comply with probation…for the next 7 years.
Those who have offered temporary shelter or shown support of Sandra have faced retaliation from David Rucki and his sister, Tammy Love, and/or been subjected to intrusive, and unwanted, legal and police action. Some examples – police seeking information about Sandra sought a warrant to search the home of a friend, the home was ransacked and personal property unrelated to the case, and not subject of the warrant, went missing (never to be recovered).
In another incident, The Carver County Corruption blog and The Red Herring Alert blog both published news and information about the Grazzini-Rucki case and were later threatened with legal action, and possible criminal charges, from David Rucki who was represented by a high-buck attorney, Marshall H. Tanick. The administrator of the Carver County blog was so terrified that she shut down her blog completely, and one administrator from Red Herring Alert has also removed herself from the blog, and attempted to erase the articles she had written out of fear.
In another incident, Sandra temporarily stayed at a residential apartment held belonging to her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald (the apartment is used for business purposes including hosting clients). The address of the apartment was blasted all over news media and the internet, interfering in the privacy of not only MacDonald but the neighbors as well. Michael Brodkorb hired a private investigator to do surveillance, and take photos and video of the apartment. Brodkorb continues to make active efforts to discover where Sandra is staying, and with whom. It is no wonder that Sandra can not find a temporary place to live in Minnesota… which would involve not just a few days but a full 7 years of her probation! Anyone who offered Sandra shelter would be subjected to terms of probation that would include having their home randomly searched. Not to mention the threat of legal action by David Rucki. Who would sign up for that? What Judge Asphaug is asking is outrageous – there is a simple, and efficient solution and that is to have Sandra serve the remainder of her sentence in prison.
It is wrong for Judge Asphaug to seek criminal charges against Sandra for an alleged “probation violation” for a crisis that Judge Asphaug alone is responsible for. Sandra has complied with the terms of probation, she does not pose a risk to the public. The challenges Sandra is facing directly relate to her being homeless, and also relate to the ongoing retaliation and legal abuse perpetrated on her by David Rucki and by extension his attorney, Lisa Elliot, and corrupt agents the Dakota County court and legal system.
Items of Concern:
- Judge Asphaug’s mishandling of the criminal case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki do not serve the best interest of justice.
- Sandra has requested to execute her sentence, and shown a willingness to complete her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug has refused to allow Sandra to execute, and has recently requested that Sandra be placed on a GPS/Ankle Bracelet. Judge Asphaug is going against the recommendation of the probation officer, who has requested to the court that Sandra’s probation be revoked, and that she be sent back to jail.
- Sandra does not have the ability to pay for the costs associated with the GPS/Ankle Bracelet. She is currently not working, and her only source of income is a minimal amount public assistance. She is struggling to survive and not able to meet the basic costs of living let alone to afford massive court fines, and exorbitant child support payments (that is based on imputed income and not actual evidence).
- Sandra was afforded a public defender. Judge Asphaug has revoked the public defender. Meaning Sandra is now going to court without legal representation, and lacking the proper knowledge needed to defend herself.
- Sandra’s situation meets the criteria for long-term homeless; she should not be punished because she does not have a permanent address. Additionally, Sandra had been living out of state when she was brought to Minnesota to face criminal charges – she has not resided in Minnesota for several years. The nature of how and why Sandra was brought to Minnesota, demonstrates that she would not have a permanent address here.
- When an individual is considered long-term homeless, they may seek temporary shelter known as “couch hopping”. Temporary shelter does not count as permanent or stable housing. That Sandra does not reveal an address is not a probation violation, it is an expression of her being homeless – she does not know where she will be staying, or how long she will be allowed to stay there.
- Sandra does not pose a danger to herself, to the community, or to anyone else. She has complied with her probation, and conditions of release. The challenges Sandra is facing is directly related to the experience of being homeless. Due to the conditions of her probation she is unable to work in her profession as a flight attendant because she cannot leave the state. Sandra lacks the resources to maintain housing. For Judge Asphaug to refuse to allow Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison is cruel and unusual punishment because Judge Asphaug is condemning Sandra to stay in Minnesota for 7 years in a situation where she would be homeless, unable to support herself, and at risk of emotional and physical harm while she is struggling to survive.
- Minnesota Law allows for revocation of probation, which is what should be done in Sandra’s case. Judge Asphaug is wasting the valuable time and resources of the courts, law enforcement and the correctional facility pursuing this reckless course of action against Sandra. In addition, tax payer dollars are being wasted. – It is unjust for the Grazzini-Rucki case to cost the citizens of Dakota County, and the state, so much when this case can be quickly resolved by revoking probation, and allowing Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison.