Beware! Blog Post May Be A Threat: Michael Volpe On HRO Filed Against Dede Evavold

Beware, the next blog post may be a threat to someone’s safety by Michael Volpe

All rights reserved under the 1st Amendment regarding free speech

Beware, the next blog post may be a threat to someone’s safety.

That’s the allegation made in an ex-parte restraining order filed by David Rucki against Dede Evavold.

Respondent (Evavold) continues to post information about my family, photos of my family, myself and other members of my family,” Rucki said in his ex-parte harassment restraining order application, “Respondent also continues to make allegations which are false but may incite others against me. My children are frightened for their safety and feel their privacy has been violated.

The application continued, “This is a proven pattern that has been going on for years.”

Rucki does not specify what Evavold has said which is harassing or threatening; an email to Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliot, was left unreturned.

Evavold has a blog called Red Herring Alert, where she writes about the Rucki case among other blog posts.

This is not the first time David Rucki has used the legal system to try and shut Evavold’s blogging down. In the Summer 2016, his then attorney, Marshall Tannick, sent Evavold a letter threatening a lawsuit if she didn’t remove her blog immediately.

I am writing to you on behalf of David Rucki,” began a letter from Tanick to Evavold from June 7, 2016, “and his daughters, Samantha and Gianna, with regard to the matter relating to the removal and concealment of the girls and related incidents that have occurred during that episode and thereafter.

There are various civil claims arising from your involvement in this matter.”

Tannick did not respond to an email for comment and it’s not clear if he is representing him regarding the restraining order.

Evavold did not respond to the letter at the time and continued blogging.

On April 18, 2013, Rucki’s two oldest daughters- Samantha and Gianna- ran away from home and stayed for approximately two and half years with strangers- Doug and Gina Dahlen- after a judge- David Knutson forced them to live with Rucki’s sister- Tammy Love; even though all five Rucki children complained vociferously at the time that David Rucki and his family were violent.

Rucki has lived in the Minneapolis suburb of Lakeville throughout the process.

Evavold was one of four people convicted in relation to this disappearance after she recommended to the girls’ mother- Sandra Grazzini-Rucki- that she take her two daughters to live with the Dahlen’s; the Dahlen’s pled guilty for their role in hiding the two girls earlier in 2017.

Ironically, David Rucki is no stranger to restraining orders as nine people- his five children, his ex-wife, two neighbors, and an in-law- all successfully took out a restraining order against him after threatening and stalking behavior.

This case has been covered internationally and Rucki has conducted hundreds of interviews, making his pleas for privacy curious.

Rucki has a long history of violence including: includes: a bar fighta road rage incidentincidents of stalkingmultiple violations of restraining orders, and choking his wife with an organ leg.

The trial judge- Karen Asphaug- disallowed any mention of his criminal history; when his ex-wife testified at her trial she wasn’t even allowed to allude to the restraining order she and her children took out against him.

The four defendants argued they hid the girls because they feared for their safety in Rucki’s care; Rucki once chased after his daughter on her birthday, according to a police report and stuck a gun in his son’s head according to a Child Protective Services report.

Not surprisingly, Asphaug also granted him this restraining order ex-parte, which means without the other parties- in this case Evavold- knowledge.

Normally, an ex-parte restraining order is only granted in cases where someone is under immediate threat of physical danger and the granting of a restraining order based on blog posts should raise first amendment issues.

I contacted Brandon Stahl (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Laura Adelmann (Sun-Current), Michael Brodkorb, Elizabeth Vargas, Sean Dooley, and Beth Mullins (the last three the team behind the controversial 20/20 broadcast on this case which ignored Rucki’s documented history of abuse)- but none provided a response.

Adelmann, it was recently revealed, approached the jury during Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial and asked if any would like to be interviewed after the trial was over; her behavior is now the subject of a jury tampering allegation.

Asphaug appears to be David Rucki’s personal judge. She presided over each of the four criminal trials in this case- Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold, Dough Dahlen, and Gina Dahlen.

Asphaug ruled to disallow nearly all of David Rucki’s criminal history and forced Gina Dahlen to testify in multiple trials even though she was a defendant still awaiting her trial.

The 1st Judicial District, where Asphaug sits, would only say that judges are chosen to a case “by statute” but would not explain how Asphaug wound up repeatedly on Rucki’s cases.

A phone call and email to Lissa Linne, a public affairs officer for Minnesota Courts, was left unreturned.

A call to Asphaug’s law clerk, Jennifer Williams, was also left unreturned.

Asphaug taking over legal proceedings related to Rucki continues a pattern.

Judge David Knutson placed himself on every legal case related to the Rucki’s when he took over their divorce in 2011.

The above referenced matter has been assigned to the Honorable Judge David Knutson,” a letter written by Knustson’s clerk in August 2011 stated, “all future matters shall be scheduled in front of Judge David Knutson.”

Knustson proceeded to issue approximately 4,000 orders, almost all regulating Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s behavior; he gave 100% of a multi-million estate to David Rucki and forcibly- under the threat of jail- removed Sandra Grazzini-Rucki from her home, and awarded David Rucki sole custody of his children, despite his documented history of violence.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has not seen any of her five children since early 2013.

Evavold has twenty days to challenge the restraining order.

The terms of the restraining order forbid Evavold from speaking about the Rucki family in public or approaching the family; the restraining order appears to be overkill as the terms of Evavold’s probation already forbid all this.

Evavold’s probation is overseen by Judge Asphaug, though she’s yet to violate her probation.

Evavold has four months left to serve on her prison term, but like Grazzini-Rucki, Asphaug has ordered her to serve it over the next six years.

 

Judge Asphaug: Blogging More of a Safety Threat Than Frightening Neighbors, Intimidating Police

In yet another bizarre development of the Grazzini-Rucki case, David Rucki claims that blogging is a threat to his safety, and that of his minor children and filed for a restraining order against Dede Evavold, co-defendant in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial. It should be noted that Rucki’s petition for a harassment order (HRO) did not actually name or specify what blog had allegedly harassed or threatened him. The HRO did not provide any evidence that Evavold was responsible for owning any blog or that she had posted anything about Rucki on social media that constitutes the legal definition of harassment (per 609.748 Harassment Restraining Order).

Without proving actual harassment occurred, and in violation of Evavold’s freedom of speech, Judge Karen Asphaug granted a HRO against her that is effective for 2 years. Ex Parte HRO

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

There are numerous problems with the HRO granted … including Judge Asphaug’s prior role on a criminal case involving David Rucki, where she was instrumental in dismissing charges that involved physical threats and harassment that he committed against the neighbors. 

Another connection is that Judge Asphaug’s husband, David Warg, shares a close professional and social relationship with Judge Tim Wermager, the first judge to preside over the Grazzini-Rucki divorce. A local newspaper article covering the swearing in of Judge Wermager alludes to political alliance, and deals made on the golf course that influence the court system, and judiciary, in Dakota County. Are these forces also at play in the Grazzini-Rucki case?

Judge Asphaug Dismissed Prior Criminal Charge Against David Rucki Despite Overwhelming Evidence of Threats, Harassment

That Judge Karen Asphaug quickly issued a HRO against Dede Evavold with absolutely no evidence to support any of the claims made is a sharp contrast to the role she played in dismissing a serious charge of disorderly conduct against Rucki, that involved harassment and threats. Many of Rucki’s acts were targeted against children. The police report filed from this incident includes remarks from Rucki that suggest he knew that if criminal charges were filed, the court would rule in his favor.

On September 8, 2009, Rucki was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after threatening and harassing his neighbor and swearing at and threatening their children. Police responding to the complaint noted in their report that Rucki tried to intimidate them and referred to the neighbor as a “bitch”. Explosive Expose by Michael Volpe: Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases?

Officer Michelle Roberts writes in her report,”Suspect (Rucki) told me that he didn’t have to listen to me. I advised him that if he would not allow me to question him regarding the specifics, I would have no choice but to charge him with disorderly conduct based on their allegations.

He stated,’Go ahead, it’s their word against mine and you can’t prove anything.’

I told him I would mail him a citation for disorderly conduct and he would have the opportunity to give his side in court. He responded,’I’m not going to show up for court, this is bullshit.’  He then said,’You guys can get the fuck off my property.’ Suspect approached us two additional times, each time arguing that we couldn’t take their word over his.

In a supplemental report written by Officer Barb Maxwell, she took a complaint from the neighbor regarding Rucki’s frightening behavior towards his family. Officer Maxwell notes that when she attempted to speak to Rucki, he “..tried to intimidate me. I introduced myself and stated,’I am here because of a complaint on your dogs.’ Rucki got very close to me and said,’There is NO complaint on my dogs‘, and from that point on I was unable to say another word.”  Rucki Incident Report 9/8/2009

Public Domain Image

Judge Karen Asphaug presided over the criminal trial against Rucki and dismissed all charges under unusual circumstances. Journalist Michael Volpe has extensively investigated the Grazzini-Rucki case and writes about these charges against Rucki, and the resulting hearing: “The case came in front of Judge Karen Asphaug and on December 31, 2009 a preliminary hearing was held.

As a result of the hearing, a trial was scheduled for February 8, 2010. But, on the eve of the trial, the defense filed a motion to dismiss for “lack of probable cause.” That motion was granted without a hearing by Judge Asphaug and the case was thrown out.

This is unusual and inexplicable. A motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause is supposed to be heard during the pre-trial hearing. If a trial date is set, that normally means the probable cause standard has been met. Furthermore, given the number of witnesses to the altercation, dismissing for lack of probable cause is even less appropriate.”  Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases?

That Judge Asphaug presided over this prior disorderly conduct case  against Rucki should have disqualified her from later presiding over the criminal case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold and the other 2 co-defendants. That Judge Asphaug had knowledge of an incident involving a criminal charge against Rucki, where he was accused of violent behavior, creates a conflict of interest.

Further, this incident with the neighbor should have been allowed as evidence at Sandra’s criminal trial but Judge Asphaug would not allow it in. The neighbor had also written letter to describe his experiences with Rucki,”In our near decade of living next to him I have found him to be a very angry individual rages at anyone who has contention or confronts him. It got so severe against our family that the court awarded us a restraining order in September 2009….

As police reports can verify, he has boldly cursed profanely at, and tried to intimidate Lakeville’s female animal control officer. It is logical to conclude he is capable  of more towards those more vulnerable, such as his wife and children.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Judge Asphaug’s Husband Connected to First Judge Who Presided Over Grazzini-Rucki Divorce

Judge Karen Asphaug is also married to attorney David Warg, who was once a partner in a law firm with Judge Tim Wermager. Judge Wermager was the first judge to preside over the Grazzini-Rucki divorce.

A news article on the swearing in of Tim Wermager suggests that a good ‘ole boys club exists in Dakota County. The article hints that Wermager became a judge because of his political connections. (2008) Wermager sworn in as judge

Notable excerpts from the article include:

(Judge William) Thuet, also a Hastings resident, is a former attorney from the same law firm that Wermager practiced with for many years. In his remarks, he mentioned the connection.

“What do Rex Stacy, Tom Bibus, me, and now Tim Wermager, have in common?” he asked. “We all were in law practice with Jim O’Connell. He’s the judge maker.”

…Thuet was sworn in as judge in 1983 and remembers being told to “do what is right.” He urged Wermager to do the same.

In his remarks, Wermager thanked everyone, including his law partners O’Connell and David Warg, his family, and friends.

“One of the reasons I wanted to have this ceremony here is because of the history here,” Wermager said. “This is where we all started. (Community Room, Hastings City Hall

Wermager said Dakota County is held in high regard for its judicial practices.

“Attorneys like to practice here,” he said. “They are treated fairly and with respect.”

That pattern was begun by Judges Breunig (Robert), Mansur (Martin), and Hoey (George), Wermager noted. It continues today.

In this environment of cronyism and backroom deals how could Sandra Grazzini-Rucki or an of the co-defendants in the criminal trial, including Dede Evavold, ever receive a fair trial? When justice is offered for sale, it ceases to exist as justice and instead sows the seeds of corruption, greed and abuse of power at every level of the system.

HRO: Who is Harassing Who?

Rucki’s filing of a HRO against Dede Evavold seems well timed to silence Evavold from speaking out about her case, and to make an example of her to intimidate anyone else who is posting on social media, or other news outlets, about the Grazzini-Rucki case. There is only one narrative on this case that Rucki endorses – his own.

Second, Evavold has recently filed an appeal on her conviction of felony parental deprivation charges. Evavold Response Brief: Deceptive Dakota County If Evavold’s case is overturned on appeal, she could still be subject to this HRO, which would become another way for Judge Asphaug to throw her in jail for any social media posting… As this HRO has established there doesn’t need to be evidence that Evavold did anything wrong to punish her. The basis of the HRO is quote “blog” posting with no blog named, no threatening statements listed, no acts of harassment cited,no proof Evavold posted anything that constitutes harassment or threats as defined by law. Judge Asphaug has created a situation where she can blame Evavold for any “blog” and charge her with an HRO violation; this is a clear abuse of judicial discretion.

Stay tuned as the Justice Blog continues to expose this harassment order, and other developments in the #grazzinirucki case!

Dierdre “Dede” Evavold Appeals Criminal Conviction

From Red Herring Alert blog… Dierdre “Dede” Evavold filed an appeals her criminal conviction State of MN vs. Deirdre Evavold A17-0200

Dede Evavold

Evavold Appeal 2017  is a compelling read that begins with the argument that Dede was wrongfully charged and convicted of parental deprivation and that, quote (p.5), “The affirmative defense did not need to be raised as there was substantial evidence supporting the affirmative defense. The state had all evidence that no crime was committed and that the girls ran away because of abuse...” That statement is validated by police reports that show when paternal aunt Tammy Love reported S.R. and G.R. as missing that she admitted the girls had run away because they were “upset because court ordered her and her sister to live with aunt…” Another police report dated 11/23/2015, the day the girls were found living at the Dahlen ranch again affirms they did run away of their own free will and would run again if forced to live with their abusive father,”Both girls made it very clear to me that if they were forced to go with their dad, they would run again…

The appeal also argues:

*The State purposely ignored allegations and documentation indicating child abuse of S.R. and G.R. occurred.

*The State refused to investigate allegations of witness tampering because it would hurt its case to do so.

*Additional charges were filed against Evavold after S.R. was forced to recant her statements due to pressure and intimidation asserted against her by father, David Rucki, and paternal aunt, Tammy Love. S.R.’s story then changed from her original statements, which is witness tampering. The State should have never been allowed to proceed with prosecution due to witness tampering. (p.8-9)

*The Dakota County Attorney’s Office obstructed the discovery process and failed to provide all evidence available to Evavold. (p.12-21)

*Prosecutor Kathryn Keena attempted to force Evavold to plead guilty without allowing her to see all of the evidence of the case, which has been dubbed a “trial by ambush”. (p. 16-17)

*Judge Karen Asphaug should have recused herself from the case because she was involved with previous criminal proceedings involving David Rucki where she ruled in his favor, and then concealed her role in the cases. (p.21) (Also read this expose written by journalist Michael Volpe on the subject: Did judges in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case previously fix husband’s cases? )

*Judge Asphaug assigned herself to all 4 criminal trials relating to the Grazzini-Rucki parental deprivation case, “this action led to knowledge of disputed facts and affected impartiality“.

(Side Note: Judge Asphaug’s husband David Warg is a former partner in a law firm with Judge Tim D. Wermager. Judge Wermager was the first judge assigned to the Grazzini-Rucki divorce. Wermager sworn in as judge)

*Due process violations prevented Evavold from getting a fair trial.

Additional information about the Grazzini-Rucki case, and the criminal trial of Dede Evavold can be heard at the following link: Dede Evavold: Paying for Being an Activist for Change. Village Connection Radio with Fletcher Long and Carlos Rivera.

 

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

BACK FROM THE BIG HOUSE (Repost Red Herring Alert)

 (Dakota County, Minn) An update from Dede Evavold, a victim of corruption and Judge Karen Asphaug’s vicious abuse of judicial power…

BACK FROM THE BIG HOUSE

The trial went forward despite my arguments regarding witness tampering and obstruction of justice due to illegal withholding of a portion of my evidence. Also, the evidence I did receive was not disclosed in time to afford me the opportunity to make beneficial use of it. (Received on September 1st and trial was scheduled for September 26th).

asphaug-1

Judge Asphaug also demonstrated prejudicial judicial conduct by granting the State’s motion to have substantial exonerating evidence not introduced in the trial.

 

gavel

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I did not have a settlement conference and was offered a plea deal on the first day of my trial. As I’ve said numerous times before, the goal was always to have me plead guilty or be found guilty without access to all of my evidence.

After I declined the plea deal, the attitude of the prosecutor and the judge changed significantly and became quite hostile. Here’s the thing, a statement must be free and voluntary, not extracted by any sorts of threats or promises, however slight. Judge Asphaug indicated that if I lost by having a jury trial, she would have the ability to impose a harsh sentence which is exactly what happened. Plea bargaining extorts guilty pleas and the trial tax is just another way to tilt the playing field in favor of the state…”

Visit Red Herring Alert to read the full article: BACK FROM THE BIG HOUSE

 

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