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Battle Over Free Speech Sends Blogger to Jail.. Dede Evavold dragged from her home in handcuffs, arrested and held without bail after a judge signs as a warrant for her arrest – her crime: posts about the Grazzini-Rucki case published on the “Red Herring Alert” blog were deemed to be “harassment”.
Evavold was previously ordered to remove the posts in question, which she did, and then was arrested after compliance with the court order.
It should be noted that the Grazzini-Rucki case has been publicly reported on for over 5 years, and gained national attention after being featured on ABC 20/20. The posts in question on “Red Herring Alert” included news about the case, and documents related to court involvement, allegations of abuse, and included statements/stories from people involved in the case. How this publicly available information constitutes “harassment” has not been explained.
The implications of Evavold’s case are far reaching… Dakota County is setting precedence to criminalize freedom of speech; meaning the court has established grounds to jail anyone for blogging, reposting articles or web links, and social media posts.
“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”
~ Frederick Douglass
Dede Evavold is in jail, held without bond: her crime, not removing blogs fast enough for a court.
This blatant violation of Evavold’s first amendment rights appears to be just fine with all involved: the sheriff, the judge and the media which have been covering the Rucki story.
The whole bizarre scenario started with David Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliott, filed an emergency motion on February 12, 2018.
“Ordering Respondent to immediately remove the entire post titled ‘Beaten Before Born: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Assaulted While Pregnant – Rucki Wanted to Kill Baby Because ‘Wasn’t Perfect.’, dated December 18, 2017, from the Red Herring Alert Blog and /or any subsequent revisions to the post along with any reposts and/or posts to Facebook and Twitter, which is a direct violation of Minnesota Statue § 609.748, Sub.1a;” The motion stated.
Remarkably, the original blog in question was re-printed from another blog; the story originated on Justice for Grazzini-Rucki children, where it remains today.
The motion was still quickly granted and Evavold was ordered to remove the blog post immediately.
The motion was granted even though Rucki has had glowing coverage from local media and national media like 20/20 and it’s not clear how a blog would “harass” him as he alleged.
An email to his attorney, Lisa Elliott, was left unreturned.
That order turned into an order to remove nearly ten blog posts and then dozens. When Evavold did not comply with the most recent order to remove dozens of blog posts, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
The arrest warrant was initiated by Elliott who filed an affidavit in early March 2018: “Respondent has failed to comply with this Court’s March 1, 2018 Order. THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: That the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department shall issue an arrest warrant immediately for the detention of the Respondent, Deirdre Elise Evavold, as outlined in its March 1, 2018 Order.”
Her request was quickly granted by a retired judge from Ramsey County, Kathleen Gearin, and an arrest warrant was issued on March 14, 2018; but Evavold, while free, said she was out of the state on a preplanned trip at the time the warrant was issued.
According to her neighbor, Evavold was picked up by a Stearns County Sheriff- Evavold lives in Stearns County- on Sunday March 18, 2018.
The Stearns County Sheriff, Don Gudmundson, said any potential violations of the 1st amendment must be taken up with the judge: “Mrs. Evavold can take those issues up with the Judge. My lawful duty is in Court File 19AV-CV-17-1950 and Write of Attachment 19AV-CV-17-1950-1 which states ‘Hold Without Bond.’”
According to Minnesota statute, her violation- contempt of court- is punishable by a maximum of $250 fine and six months in jail, but as Sheriff Gudmundson stated, she is still being held without bond per the order of the judge.
Judge Gearin is retired and could not be reached; staff at Ramsey County Court and Dakota County Court- from where the warrant was issued- did not respond to messages to explain what appears to be a blatant violation of Evavold’s 1st amendment rights.
Staff at Dakota County did say that retired judges are brought in when there is a shortage of judges, and this would be the reason Judge Gearin presided over parts of this case.
Evavold’s neighbor, Angela Young, said that Evavold was arrested even though she handed the sheriffs her own affidavit of compliance with the order.
A subsequent email to the public affairs department at the Minnesota Courts was also left unreturned.
Remarkably, Michael Brodkorb, who runs Missing in Minnesota, accompanied the sheriffs as they arrested Evavold.
Sheriff Gudmundson did not respond as to how Brodkorb would know to be there for the arrest; Brodkorb has blocked my email and did not respond.
When the Rucki girls were found in November 2015, Brodkorb also accompanied police on that trip, even though the police were supposed to be executing a sealed warrant.
Evavold was convicted along with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki of helping hide Grazzini-Rucki’s daughters when they ran away from home in April 2015, after a court forced them to live with their father, despite insisting to the court that he abused them and their siblings.