Appellate Briefs Reveal More Shocking Behavior in Rucki Case

** BREAKING NEWS ** From Michael Volpe and PPJ Gazette reporting on the appellate cases of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold

Briefs Reveal More Shocking Behavior in Rucki Case.

“In separate response briefs to pro se attorneys, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office has acknowledged jury tampering, misdirected an allegation of witness tampering, and refused to respond to address all allegations of judicial misconduct in the Rucki case.

The briefs from Dakota County Prosecutor James Backstrom were in response to briefs filed by Dede Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, both representing themselves.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom

 

Evavold has been representing herself after the state ruled her too well off to receive an attorney while Grazzini-Rucki was represented but was so disgusted by her attorney’s brief that she filed one on her own.

Her attorney, Steven Russett, who was provided by the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender’s Office, did not respond to an email and voicemail for comment.

In the most startling admission, the prosecutors acknowledge- responding to Grazzini-Rucki- that a reporter approached the jury while they were in a common area during a lunch break and asked if any wanted to be interviewed when the trial ended.

The reporter’s name is Laura Adelmann, who works for the Sun Current, the hometown newspaper of Lakeville, Minnesota, where the Rucki’s live. “There was one occasion during trial in which it was it was reported to Judge Asphaug that a reporter (I.E. Laura Adelmann) had approached the jurors while they were eating in the common area of the courthouse and asked if she could interview them after the trial was over.” Backstrom’s brief stated.

 This incident occurred on Friday July 18, 2016, while the trial was ongoing, and on Monday July 21, 2016, Judge Asphaug issued this statement to the court gallery.

I also received information that a member of the press approached our jurors last week and asked if jurors would be willing to speak after the trial. It is- I am ordering that you may not approach the jurors in the common area of the courthouse. It is- it has a chilling effect. It concerns jurors don’t do it.” An email to Adelmann was left unreturned. A voicemail to her editor, Tad Johnson, was also left unreturned.

Judge Karen Asphaug

Though the trial was covered internationally there was not one story which referred to Asphaug’s statement while the trial was ongoing.

Emails to Karen Zamora and Brandon Stahl, who each covered parts of the trial for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, were left unreturned.

An email to Michael Brodkorb, who has boasted that he covered each day of the trial, was also left unreturned.

Emails to 20/20 host, Elizabeth Vargas, and her two producers, Beth Mullin and Sean Dooley, were also left unreturned; 20/20 covered parts of the trial though it’s not clear if they were there that day.

Beau Berentson said “Our office does not conduct legal research,” in an email.

But when asked if an investigation had been started or if anyone had been disciplined for allowing press to get so close to the jury- a major break in protocol according to everyone this reporter spoke with- Berentson did not respond.

While lawyers who spoke with this reporter said it was unprecedented that press would ever get so close to a jury during trial, they were split on its significance.

Michael McCray, a United States Department of Agriculture whistleblower and lawyer, said he believed that such an interaction would cause all sorts of thoughts to enter a jury’s head “not one will be about the merits of the case.”

Lee Dryer is a Nashville attorney and part-time judge.

No trial is perfect,” Dryer said, but was less concerned since nothing about the case was discussed.

Dryer said he was more concerned with an allegation of witness tampering; Samantha Rucki, Grazzini-Rucki’s daughter who ran away, responded to Kelli Coughlin a Lakeville Police Department Detective, who asked her if she was at a police interview conducted approximately a month before her mother’s trial.

This police interview occurred approximately a month prior to her mother’s trial on June 30, 2016.

They (her father and his sister) basically said I have to (go to the interview) and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and it’s going and that’s the way it’s gonna be- and they made me feel guilty about it and I started to cry.” Samantha responded when asked if she was at the interview of her own free will.

Judge Asphaug refused to allow the interview into Grazzini-Rucki’s trial, Samantha Rucki testified by Skype, with her aunt, grandmother, and attorney in the same room but not in camera, her father was listening in from outside the door.

David Rucki Facebook April 2016, Public Statement About Missing Daughters

Furthermore, Judge Asphaug would only allow a limited number of questions. Samantha then downplayed the abuse and claimed she ran away to get away from a bad divorce.

Dryer said that having Samantha testify by Skype raises sixth amendment issues, of a defendant confronting their accuser.

Judge Asphaug argued that Samantha was too fragile to see her mother, but child rape victims are forced to confront their alleged rapist if that rapist is to be convicted.

In their response brief, prosecutors argued that since they weren’t directly involved in the witness tampering, they shouldn’t be held responsible.

Appellant (Evavold) fails to detail what misconduct Respondent (Dakota County Prosecutor) engaged in. In support of her argument, Appellant points to an interview that was conducted by law enforcement of SVR (Samantha). Appellant is under the misbelief that Respondent somehow coerced SVR into providing the statement and that SVR lied in the statement.

The prosecutor’s brief only alludes to a police interview but does not detail what Samantha said in the interview.

Dede Evavold also argued that there was judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, charges not answered by Backstrom.

Judge Asphaug placed herself on Evavold’s, Grazzini-Rucki’s, and the Dahlen’s cases, and refused to recuse herself when each of the four defendants asked.

Furthermore, in 2010, she appears to have fixed a case for David Rucki.

On September 8, 2009, David Rucki went into a fit of rage against his neighbors while they were escorting approximately a dozen two and three-year-old children to the daycare facility they ran.

Complainant stated his wife, two children, and six daycare kids ages three and under were in the driveway when suspect (David Rucki) approached. He stated the suspect threatened his wife, his son, and called them all assholes while standing in the cul-de-sac in front of their home. While I was speaking with the complainant, he informed me that the suspect drove by as we were speaking and put up his middle finger on his left hand at him. Complainant said that they have had on-going harassment type issues with the suspect and his dogs as a result of operating a home daycare facility. He said suspect’s dogs repeatedly come into his yard when daycare parents and kids arrive, barking and growling and the guests as the children are dropped off. He said they have tried to talk to the suspect in the past to mediate the situation, but that he no longer feels comfortable due to elevated language and behavior.

Rucki was charged with disorderly conduct and the case came in front of Judge Asphaug. On the eve of trial, Asphaug dismissed the case for a lack of probable cause, an inexplicable decision which has never been explained.

Lack of probable cause applies to cases with little or no evidence not an incident witnessed by several adults and approximately twelve children. Furthermore, if a case is dismissed due to a lack of probable cause it would be during normal pre-trial hearings, not on the eve of trial, and there’s no evidence that any sort of motion was even filed to trigger this.

Asphaug proceeded to exclude approximately 90% of the evidence of abuse: including David Rucki’s police report, all Child Protective Services reports, all orders for protection against David Rucki, and letters, from Sandra Grazzini Rucki’s, Dede Evavold’s, and the Dahlen’s trials.

Backstrom’s office provided answers to most of the charges of judicial misconduct but not all.

For instance, in their reply brief, the prosecution claims that Grazzini-Rucki only referred to three items as being excluded: The Fox 9 Newscast from June 2013, the GPS tracker from when David Rucki placed a tracker under Grazzini-Rucki’s friend and advocate’s car, Michael Rhedin, and Social Services records.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

But while Grazzini-Rucki did complain about these, and their exclusion is significant, police reports, letters, and other recordings were also excluded; Sandra Grazzini-Rucki complained of clear judicial bias.

The prosecution downplayed in its brief the breadth of the evidence excluded during trial.

Backstrom’s office did not respond to emails for comment.”

Fletcher Long and Michael Volpe: Shocking Developments in Grazzini-Rucki Case

Jaw-Dropping show with Fletcher Long and Michael Volpe on the Grazzini-Rucki case reveals layers of corruption, abuse cover-up

Date: January 10, 2017

Listen Online: http://mixlr.com/iradiofreedom/showreel/iradiofreedom-on-mixlr-49/

Fletcher Long and Michael Volpe discuss a variety of topics that include:

1) Michael Brodkorb’s questionable involvement in the Grazzini-Rucki case; and close relationship with David Rucki. Michael Brodkorb is a political blogger and supporter of David Rucki, that has been following and publicly commenting on the Grazzini-Rucki case.

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Michael Brodkorb, source: startribune.com

Fletcher Long reads a provocative e-mail that he received from Brodkorb. Long says about the letter, “I never had a member of the news media make an editorial and rather impassioned plea on behalf of the subject of his story.”

And “This guy has lost his objectivity… His advocation of David Rucki was unseemly, off putting and unexpected…”

Michael Volpe responds that Brodkorb speaks as if he is David Rucki’s attorney or public relations person rather than an independent media person covering the story.

Brodkorb is fixated on the Grazzini-Rucki case, covering it exclusively and not covering any other case or other news story. Brodkorb says he attends all hearings and has read all publicly available documents. Yet Brodkorb’s coverage of the case omits mention of David Rucki’s criminal record, his violent behavior, and allegations of abuse raised against him.

Is Brodkorb really just a blogger or is something more going on??

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center

2) Due Process Violations during the custody trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (Sept 11-12, 2013), an incident where her attorney, Michelle MacDonald, was strapped in a wheelchair and forced to represent her. Sandra was told by a court officer that court was adjourned and held left (with her files) when Attorney MacDonald’s horrifying ordeal began.

Michelle MacDonald says about the incident,”I sued a judge in Federal court on behalf of a client for civil rights violations. (See Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, et al v. (Judge) David Knutson, United States District Court no. 0:13-CV-02477-SRN; and Petition for Writ to the United States Supreme Court, docket no. 15-220.)

The next day, that same judge made me participate as her attorney in a child custody trial — in handcuffs and a wheelchair, with no shoes, eye glasses, files or client — and missing children. So far, he has gotten away with it. I will make certain there is oversight, accountability and reform of our judicial system.”  Supreme Court Associate Justice 6, Michelle MacDonaldl

The court ordered issued from this outrageous custody ruling became the basis on which Sandra was later convicted for deprivation of parental rights.

Volpe states that judges in the appeals court continue to make excuses for Judge David Knutson, even as he breaks the law, which in turn, help Judge Knutson avoid responsibility for his actions.  “The reason why the Knutsons of the world can do this is because there are appeals court judges who look the other way when this kind of corruption happens.

3a12c-hickknutson02

Judge David Knutson (Source: Lion News)

3) Volpe and Long also analyzes a 99 page collection of documents posted on the “Justice for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Children” blog: druckipolicereports

The collection of documents includes records of David Rucki’s criminal history, protective orders filed against him, police reports regarding incidents of Rucki’s violent behavior,  documentation of stalking, photographs, and a letter written in support of Sandra by a witness to Rucki’s violent behavior. The information contained in the document spans 3 counties, and goes back more than 20 years; establishing a clear pattern of Rucki’s violent and threatening behavior.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Within the documents, Volpe uncovers criminal records that connect Judge Karen Asphaug to David Rucki, who appeared as a defendant in her court, on two separate occasions to answer to charges.

On each case  Judge Asphaug ruled in Rucki’s favor in what Long says are “curious and extraordinary ways which would tend to suggest a bias in his favor”.

In another case, Rucki appeared before Judge Karen Asphaug as a criminal defendant for a violation for an order for protection; the order was filed by Sandra. Volpe argues that years later, in Sandra’s criminal case, Judge Karen Asphaug would not allow evidence of past abuse, and would not allow evidence of Rucki’s criminal record. Judge Asphaug benefited when the evidence was suppressed because her own involvement in prior cases could be concealed, and she could conceal her own knowledge of the abuse that occurred. After suppressing the evidence, Judge Asphaug then claims there is no evidence of abuse.

Long says Judge Asphaug should not be appointed to Sandra’s criminals case because she has too much intimate knowledge, including knowledge about the victim.

lawlesslakeville

A similar pattern has occurred with Judge David Knutson, who presided over a hearing in which a relative of Sandra’s filed a restraining order against Rucki after he threatened to kill him. Judge Knutson dismissed the order for protection, and later went on to preside over the Grazzini-Rucki family court case. Keep in mind that David Rucki personally asked Judge Knutson to be appointed to the family court case after he contest the original judgement and decree.

Judge Knutson was initially appointed to the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, where he set her bail at $1 million dollars. Judge Knuston got off the criminal case and appointed Judge Karen Asphaug to fill the vacancy.

This shows the level of corruption in this case…” Michael Volpe says about the two judges who had prior experience with David Rucki, always ruled in his favor, who were later instrumental in convicting ex-wife Sandra of criminal charges, and always ruling against her.

4) The outrageous complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, filed by Judge Knutson who criticized MacDonald performance in court during the custody trial where he alone impeded her work. MacDonald is facing a 2 month suspension.

Listen to this valuable, and informative show! You will hear information on the Grazzini-Rucki case that major news outlets refuse to cover.

You will also be given valuable insights on the case that will deepen your understanding of the legal system, your rights and help you to identify an out of control judge.