Letter in Support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki: I Feel the Threat of Injustice, and Demand an Explanation…

Public Domain: goodfon.com

A letter in support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, sent as part of the campaign initiated by J.A.M.

Learn More On How You Can Help Here,with Tips in How to Write Your Own Letter: A Call to Action: You Can Help Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Fight for Justice

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Subject: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Family Court, Child Support, Criminal and Appellate Cases

Date:

Dear

I am writing to express my deep concerns with the ongoing Grazzini-Rucki case, which has exposed significant violations of state law, violations of Constitutional rights against Sandra, who has been so extremely targeted that she is now destitute and homeless. The rampant corruption in this case is mind-blowing but must not be ignored. 

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…As a citizen I feel this threat of injustice, and demand an explanation as to how the vindictive, vicious actions against Sandra can be justified in the name of laws that have been broken against her back? How can those entrusted to protect the welfare of children, justify actions that have directly placed the lives of the five Rucki children in danger and allowed David Rucki, the identified perpetrator of abuse to not only gain sole custody but worker to also ban a fit, loving mother from having any contact with her children… for the rest of their lives. The system continues to protect the very judges and officials who break the laws, and break families! I now this is true because there is absolutely no accountability in the Grazzini-Rucki case.. even as these court orders, and rulings, defy all logic and serve only to perpetuate injustice.

Background Grazzini-Rucki Case

For your reference, here is a brief background – the Grazzini-Rucki case began in Dakota County in 2011 when Sandra, a victim of domestic violence, sought a divorce from David Rucki, a wealthy and well connected abuser. Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, in addition to numerous protective orders filed against him, and the documentation of abuse against Sandra and her five children clearly show Rucki’s propensity to violence, and the rage he inflicted upon his family (see some of the documentation: druckipolicereports)

Sandra encountered a nightmare in family court, under the jurisdiction of Judge David L. Knutson, that resulted in her being forcibly removed from her home by police escort on September 7th, 2012, never to return. She lost her five children and all property, possessions, and tragically, her guaranteed freedoms as an American citizen. As a result of proceedings, Sandra was court ordered into a “lifetime of servitude,” stripped of her children, her home, her employment, and her freedom—always plagued by the control of her abuser who has promised to“see her dead.”

Judge Knutson has never been held accountable for his reprehensible actions against Sandra, the Rucki children and her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald, that have enabled the abuse to continue and punished Sandra for efforts to protect her children from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Judge Knutson now sits on the Board of Judicial Standards, securing a seat on the organization responsible for investigating and taking action against corrupt judges like himself. Justice has been effectively denied.

Judge Knutson has recently retaliated against attorney Michelle MacDonald and sought sanctions against her, and removal of her law license, falsely accusing MacDonald of failure to properly represent her client, Sandra.. when in truth, the actions of Judge Knutson alone are responsible for the great harm done to her. During the Grazzini-Rucki custody trial, Judge Knutson instructed Sandra to leave the courtroom in the midst of  trial and then ordered Mrs. MacDonald to proceed without her client, and while handcuffed and strapped to a wheelchair. By Judge Knutson’s order, Mrs. MacDonald was held in jail for over 24 hours without ever being charged, where she was subject to abusive and humiliating treatment from Judge Knutson’s bailiffs. (One of these bailiffs was later subject to a PREA complaint from Sandra after harassing her, and taking inappropriate photos of her when she was in the emergency room, handcuffed to a hospital bed, after suffering from a fractured skull that resulted from an unexplained incident in jail).

Source: Lion News

Judge Knutson is also responsible for ignoring abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children, and using court facilities to forcefully compel the frightened children to visit their father despite tears, and pleas for help. One of the children testified that she was even called a liar after speaking out about the abuse. In order to prevent escape, Judge Knutson ordered his bailiff to guard the door so the children had no way out… under these circumstances the Rucki children were terrorized by the very court that should have worked to protect them.

The Grazzini-Rucki case reached a crisis on April 19, 2013, when Sandra’s two teen daughters ran away after the court refused to protect them from abuse. The daughters lived on a therapeutic horse ranch for 2 1/2 years, in safety. They were discovered in November 2015 and despite raising abuse allegations, the daughters were given back into the care of their abusive father, David Rucki. Rucki was on probation for a violent offense when the girls were placed back into his care.

Legal action has been brought upon Sandra for aiding in their escape with resulting felony convictions for “parental deprivation,”. Under Minnesota law, if a person has reasonable belief that a child is in danger of physical or sexual assault, or substantial emotional harm, it is not a crime to take action an effort to protect a child.Yet Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed at least 80% of the information vital to her defense in a heavy-handed abuse of judicial power that worked to manipulate the jury into finding Sandra guilty. The conditions surrounding Sandra’s trial and sentencing meet the standard for cruel and unusual punishment.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Sandra now lives in hiding, afraid for her safety due to the actions of a dangerous abuser bent on destroying her, and due to an out of control court system enabling him.

Sandra has also been involved in child support proceedings and despite being homeless and unemployed, has been ordered to pay Rucki – a millionaire who owns 4 homes and 9 cars – $975 per month in child support. Failure to pay this massive sum may result in Sandra being jailed. Rucki is also receiving public welfare and Dakota County has allowed him to receive assistance while admitting they exempted Rucki from the normal financial verifications all recipients are required to provide.

Under these unjust circumstances, I strongly denounce the attack upon Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s rights, and humanity, and the laws being broken to perpetrate these many abuses against her.

PLEASE RESPOND – Questions Regarding Handling of Grazzini-Rucki Case

I am asking for an explanation as to how such injustice can be excused, even when complaint and lawsuit are filed against Judge Knutson, the Guardian ad Litem, and other court officers (and quickly dismissed).

Just a few of my questions regarding this outrageous case of legal and judicial abuse:

How can you condone the continued abuse of the Rucki children perpetrated by not only their father, David Rucki, but also by the legal system? How do you respond when the system fails to protect its most vulnerable? Judge Knutson has set precedence in Dakota County that when children come forward with abuse allegations that it is acceptable, and even encouraged, to ignore and ridicule the victim.

In the face of serious allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the Rucki children were forcibly “deprogrammed” and placed into experimental “reunification therapy” to force a relationship with the abusive father whom they feared. How is this in their “best interest”??

Where is the checks and balances in the judiciary? Why are so many judges allowed to hide behind immunity even in the face of clear evidence of wrongdoing? One example of many from the Grazzini-Rucki case… Judge Michael Mayer ignored the recommendations of a social worker who stated she believed the runaway Rucki sisters had been abused, and for their own protection requested they be placed in foster care with only supervised visits granted to Rucki. The teen girls were also represented by an attorney who begged to keep them in foster care for their own safety. Judge Mayer boldy stated that he knew the girls would not be happy with his decision when ordering them back into the custody of Rucki. The girls were then taken from the courtroom, under guard, and escorted onto an airplane for “reunification therapy” in a remote area of California, chosen because if the girls ran again they would have no place to go. The Rucki children have “reunited” with David Rucki but only under threats, intimidation and creation of Stockholm Syndrome. Is this the stance Minnesota supports on child abuse?

How is it permissible that Sandra, a homeless, unemployed woman with 6 felonies on her record, all facts in the record, be ordered to pay $975 per month to millionaire ex-husband, David Rucki, who is not required to provide any proof of his income when applying for and receiving welfare benefits?

How can you justify the millions of dollars spent on the Grazzini-Rucki case that has only created more chaos, and harm for Sandra and the children?

How can you justify the continued pursuit of Sandra through multiple legal actions, and the threat of jail hanging over her head, which is costing the tax payers not only huge sums of money but consuming massive amounts of resources and manpower? Sandra has no prior criminal record and is not a threat to anyone.. and yet she is being treated worse than serious offenders, even violent offenders, who have gone unpunished in comparison.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter. Sincerely and in full support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki,

Name:

CC:

Brian4Justice@yahoo.com

CC:

Elizabeth Vargas-20/20 host elizabeth.a.vargas@abc.com

Sean Dooley- producer 20/20 sean.dooley@abc.com

Beth Mullen- 20.20 producer beth.a.mullen@abc.com

Beau Berentson, public affairs officer for the Minnesota Courts – beau.berentson@courts.state.mn.us

James Backstrom, Dakota County Prosecutor – attorney@co.dakota.mn.us,

Monica Jenson, public affairs officer for the Dakota County Prosecutor – monica.jensen@co.dakota.mn.us

Marybeth Schubert, public affair officer for Dakota County – marybeth.schubert@co.dakota.mn.us

Attorney General for Minnesota – attorney.general@ag.state.mn.us

Dave Oney, public affairs officer for the US Marshals Minnesota Court of Appeals (651) 296-2581 – dave.oney@usdoj.gov

 

 

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Is Minnesota Safe with Judge David Knutson on the Bench? In Three High-Profile Cases, Showed Leniency to Dangerous Child Abusers

Judge David L Knutson

(Courtroom 2F, Dakota County Judicial Center, Minnesota) Judge David L. Knuston aka “Korrupt Knutson” presides over yet another controversial case – this time giving a drastic downward departure, meaning a sentence more lenient than recommended by guidelines, for an unlicensed daycare provider convicted of brutally assaulting, and nearly killing, a 13 month old boy.

Due to the severity of the injuries, the child was not expected to survive – today he is 2 years old and suffering from permanent brain damage.

Has justice been served? In two separate high-profile cases – the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki divorce/custody case and the criminal trial of child predator Dennis Roy – Judge Knutson showed leniency to a perpetrator of child abuse, and gave sympathy instead of prison.

A deeper look into all three of these cases suggests a pattern that Judge Knutson’s reckless disregard for the safety of children, and for public safety, has enabled dangerous abusers to avoid the punishment their heinous crimes warrant. Is the public safe with Judge Knutson on the bench?

#1 – The Merchant Case (2016/2017) : No Prison for Daycare Provider Who Nearly Killed a Toddler

Source: pinterest

Background: On September 22, 2016, parents Jessica and John Merchant say their child “WM” was in good health, and showed no sign of any problems, the day he was dropped off at the home of Mariel Alexandra Grimm. Grimm, a mother and unlicensed daycare provider, had been watching “WM” since he was 9 weeks old. Grimm says that after being dropped off at her home that day, “WM” was at a usual level of activity, and that he “he was playing on the floor with some toys and seemed fine…” The day started off like any other, then ended in tragedy.

Grimm was the only adult in the home the day “WM” suffered a near fatal brain injury. At the time, Grimm was caring for 5 five other children – four of her children who were being home-schooled, and another daycare child.

WM” was dropped off at 7:15 am; Grimm said she cuddled with “WM” and then laid him down in a pack n’ play. Grimm then went upstairs, and left “WM” alone, in the basement, to nap. At 8:47 am, Grimm heard “WM” crying and went to change his diaper, and brought him upstairs where he ate some cereal. After breakfast, Grimm brought “WM” back to the pack n’ play, and left him alone in the basement again so she could home-school her 4 children in the upstairs level of the home. In her statement to police, Grimm did not recall how long “WM” slept.

When “WM” woke again, Grimm went to change his diaper and noticed “WM” was stiff and unconscious. Grimm tried to rouse “WM” but he would not respond. Grimm then called Jessica Merchant who instructed her to call 911. The 911 call was made at 12:51 pm, an ambulance arrived soon after. When medics arrived, they found Grimm holding “WM” – who had a pulse but was breathing very shallow and was unresponsive. Medics noted that one of “WM”’s pupils was extremely dilated, and the other was not, a sign of head trauma. At the hospital, “WM” was diagnosed with a massive subdural hematoma (a build up of blood between the layers of tissue that cover the brain, a sign of severe trauma) and required emergency surgery.

Physicians treating “WM” stated that he would have become unresponsive immediately after or shortly after the head trauma occurred. The physicians also testified that type of trauma “WM” suffered is beyond what a toddler would experience if they had a normal fall or bump to the head, and the severity of the injury is consistent with being violently shaken or thrown. Meaning the greater force applied to the head, the more severe the damage to the brain and functioning will be. A severely injured infant would not be able to regulate any behavior requiring higher cortical functions, such as eating, sitting, playing, laughing, or walking – which is how “WM” now presents.

WM” was diagnosed as suffering from abusive head trauma. He required surgery to remove a part of his skull in order to alleviate the swelling around the brain and spent months in the hospital. Medical experts testified that the injury inflicted on “WM” is consistent with “a violent acceleration-deceleration event, such as a high-speed motor vehicle collision or being severely shaken or thrown..”

An online comment says this about the case:..Her (Grimm) story has changed repeatedly — her timeline is both inconsistent and incoherent and isn’t supported by the physical evidence.

Her daughter testified that the boy woke up crying while Mariel was in the shower, her daughter got her mother out of the shower who was angry about it, then Mariel was heard yelling at the boy to shut up. He then went entirely silent.

The boy suffered permanent and severely debilitating brain damage. To the extent that he is expected to remain a toddler in his capabilities for the rest of his life (though he is hoped to exceed those expectations). The damage was described, by one of the premier pediatric neurosurgical and neurological teams in the entire United States, as one of the worst cases of TBI that they’ve ever seen…Comment VO

Grimm noted in an online post that attorneys were “happy” that Judge Knutson was appointed to her case, and they had good reason to be considering the favorable outcome she would receive. Grimm was convicted in July 2017 by a jury of 1st degree felony assault; sentencing occurred in September 2017.

WM”, an adorable little boy with eyes that smile, chubby cheeks and golden blond hair, suffered from permanent brain damage and will never fully recover from injuries. The rest of his childhood will include continued medical treatment, and uncertainty. The Merchants said during their victim impact statement that “WM” cannot walk, requires a feeding tube, and suffers from seizures and intractable pain.

Mother, Jessica Merchant, said,” It is impossible to convey the tragedy and depth of devastation and sorrow as we watched our son fight for his life for days and weeks…

His life has been forever altered. Instead of wondering where he’ll go to college, or if he’ll be an engineer like his daddy, or a teacher like his mama, or an astronaut or a writer or an athlete, we have to wonder if he’ll even be able to have a job … to participate in school … to live on his own.”

Many in the courtroom cried after listening to the heart-wrenching victim impact statement. The Merchants asked Grimm be given the harshest sentence possible.

Despite the severity of “W.M’s” injuries, Judge Knutson showed sympathy – not to the “W.M.” or to the Merchant family but to the woman convicted of shaking the child, Mariel Grimm. Knutson praised Grimm for “cooperating” with the prosecutor’s office and her attitude in court; to which Judge Knutson bizarrely notes,”She has expressed ongoing love and support for the victim..” An “expression of love” does NOT involve violently shaking or throwing a toddler, causing his brain to hemorrhage!

Judge Knutson said he was also touched by the letters of support for Grimm but ignored the victim impact statement of the child’s parents, and the reaction of the public to it. 

Prosecutor Heather Pipenhagen said, “All of Ms. Grimm’s good qualities … do not mitigate what she did on September 22, 2016 to this child..Make no mistake, she took his life. He’s alive, but Ms. Grimm took his life.”

Grimm was facing up to 8 years in prison but in an act of misplaced mercy, Judge Knutson stayed the sentence so that Grimm will avoid prison. Instead, Grimm will spend up to 90 days in county jail but could be released in as little as 60 days. Grimm could also be released from jail to attend counseling appointments, and to home-school her 4 children. In addition, Grimm has been sentenced to 60 days of electronic home monitoring, 200 hours of community service and 15 years of probation. Grimm has an open case with CPS, her children were not removed from her home, but she has been required to be supervised when with them. As part of the conditions for probation Grimm is required to follow all directions of CPS. Grimm says she is innocent, that “WM” came to her home with injury, and plans to appeal.

A Fundraiser has been set up to help the Merchant family pay “W.M.’s” medical bills: Help with Medical Bills

Read More About the Merchant Case:

Daycare provider Mariel Grimm gets probation in shaken baby case (City Pages)

Eagan day care provider sentenced after baby left brain damaged (Twincities.com)

Eagan Day Care Provider Guilty Of Assaulting Toddler (Patch)

 

#2 – Dennis Roy Case (May 2013) : Stayed Sentence for Child Rapist, Victim Imprisoned By Ongoing Trauma, Flashbacks

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Dennis Michael Roy, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct after raping and repeatedly assaulting a 5-year old girl, a relative, from Eagan (Case No. 19HA-CR-12-495).

Roy faced a maximum of 30 years in prison and $40,000 in fines…but instead he walked free. Roy appeared before Judge David L. Knutson, who handed down his sentence on March 22, 2013. Judge Knutson sentenced Roy to a 16-year stayed prison term and 20 years of probation.

In September 2014, Roy was found guilty of a probation violation for loitering in public with an open bottle of alcohol. He served 45 days in jail.Roy has 18 prior convictions, including second-degree burglary, multiple motor-vehicle thefts, multiple DUIs, trespassing, disorderly conduct and multiple domestic assaults.

The child involved continues to struggle with the assault, and suffers severely from the effects of trauma with flashbacks, anxiety and depression.

Read More on the Roy Case:

Never Forget: Judge Knutson – Stayed Sentence for Child Rapist

Child Rapist Gets Stayed Prison Term, 20 Years Probation

 

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Divorce/Custody Case: Abuser Given Sole Custody of Children He Victimized, Lifetime Ban From Children Against Protective Mother

Judge Knutson is the family court judge who presided over the Grazzini-Rucki divorce and custody trial after it was illegally re-opened. Judge Knutson also demanded that ALL legal matters concerning the Grazzini-Rucki family be placed under his jurisdiction alone, and no other. By “coincidence” all the judges appointed to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s other legal matters (appellate, child support, criminal) share a connection to Judge Knutson, and all have issued extremely harsh rulings against her – even violating the law to do so.

In September 2012, Judge Knutson court ordered the removal of mother and primary caregiver, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, from the home, causing all five children to run away after hearing the news. Judge Knutson instilled paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love, a temporary guardian. Love had previously lost custody of her children due to drug use. The Rucki children feared Love, and say she mistreated them (one of the children told police after running away that Love hit her). Judge Knutson’s irrational decision came after allegations of sexual abuse involving two of the children were raised, which he was fully aware of. The Rucki children were apprehended and put into the care of a maternal aunt while Judge Knutson continued to work to give abuser, David Rucki, custody of the children who were so desperate to escape his abuse.

Instead of protecting the five Rucki children, Judge Knutson sought to isolate the children so they would have no avenue for help. Judge Knutson worked to give the abusive father complete control over the children – directly putting them in harm’s way. For the Rucki children, their childhood died the day their loving and protective mother was removed from their home, and their life, their existence would become a nightmare involving continued legal chaos and abuse; that would be impossible to escape, even as adults.

The traumatized Rucki children were then court ordered into reunification with identified abuser, father David Rucki. Some of the visits were facilitated in the Dakota County Judicial Center, where Judge Knutson used the court bailiffs to guard the doors so the children could not escape. Witnesses reported hearing the anguished cries of the children from behind closed doors during “reunification”. In another incident, the youngest child was heard screaming like a wounded animal, held captive by a therapist bent on “deprogramming”. The older siblings made efforts to help but were prevented and eventually separated from the younger siblings so they would be easier to control. Judge Knutson’s failure to protect the five Rucki children from the physical, mental and sexual abuse perpetrated by their father, David Rucki, has directly lead to these children being further abused, and now held captive by a custody ruling that has sentenced them to a life of torture.

Judge Knutson’s failure to consider the safety of the Rucki children created a crisis in which two of the eldest Rucki sisters ran away again on April 19, 2013, again citing fear for their safety when Judge Knutson attempted to place them again into the care of Tammy Jo Love.

While the eldest sisters were still missing, Judge Knutson ordered a custody trial, to be held on September 11-12, 2013 (note: the custody trial was held in the same courtroom as the Mariel Grimm criminal trial). During trial, Judge Knutson ordered Sandra’s attorney to proceed with while handcuffed and strapped to a wheelchair, without her client present, and no files, and not even her shoes or glasses. The custody trial was rife with due process violations, Constitutional violations, and legal error – in effect was a rigged trial masterminded by Judge Knutson. Under circumstances of great injustice, in November 2013, David Rucki was granted sole custody of all 5 children. At the time of the court order, Rucki was on probation for violating a protective order issued against him, after his continued abuse of Sandra. Judge Knutson later slapped a lifetime ban against loving and protective mother, Sandra – prohibiting her from any physical, verbal, or written contact with her children. Sandra has not seen or heard from her children in over 5 years, and grieves their loss every day, in every breath, she takes. 

The two oldest Rucki sisters remained in hiding, living on a therapeutic horse ranch, and refusing to return to their father, David Rucki, stating he abused them. Witnesses say both girls exhibited emotional and physical symptoms consistent with abuse. On the ranch the sisters were well cared for, and nurtured, and began to not only heal but thrive in their new environment, which they considered home. Tragically in November 2015, after 2 years the sisters were discovered, and despite their pleas for help, and the recommendation of a social worker to keep them in foster care for their safety, Judge Michael Mayer (a close friend of Judge Knutson) returned the sisters back into the custody of David Rucki. To attest to his violent nature, Rucki was on probation for a violent road rage incident at the time the girls were put into his care.

Sandra was later convicted of 6 counts of felony deprivation for her efforts to assist her daughters, who ran away from abuse. She has filed an appeal, and has not stopped fighting for justice, and to keep her children safe from abuse.

The Grazzini-Rucki case is yet another example of Judge Knutson showing preference to a dangerous abuser, and purposefully ignoring the safety concerns and well-being of a vulnerable child. Yet again, the abuser is given protective status while the child is placed in harm’s way, with the assistance of Judge Knutson.

Against all logic, Judge Knutson has shown sympathy to dangerous child predators and abusers. Criminals go free when jail is warranted, and vulnerable children are denied the justice and protection they deserve.

Is Minnesota safe with Judge Knutson on the bench?

Quote: Judicial Immunity Should Not Be Used to Violate Law, Civil and Constitutional Rights

 

A quote about judicial immunity from attorney Michelle MacDonald: “I expect all judges to take the privilege of judicial immunity for suit seriously, rather than see immunity as permission to violate the law and civil and constitutional rights of our citizens, or their lawyers..

 

Red Herring Alert: Bloggers Have Same 1st Amendment Protections as Journalists

Thoughts from Red Herring Alert blog on the harassment order issued against Dede Evavold …

Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections as Traditional Journalists – HRO vs Evavold Should Be Dismissed

The Crystal Cox lawsuit is a landmark court case that defines, and upholds, the 1st Amendment protections of bloggers.. and is relevant when considering the recent HRO issued against Dede Evavold.

This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.” ~ Choon James

Blogging is an exercise of protected speech and does NOT constitute ‘harassment’!

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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.”

Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki feat. Angela Ehlers: Military Injustice

Wedding Angela Ehlers and Sgt. Edwin Ehlers II

Listen Online: Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki feat. Angela Ehlers: Military Injustice

Original Air Date: Monday March 27th 6-8 pm E.S.T.

Angela Ehlers joins Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on Fighting B.A.C.K. to talk about the wrongful conviction of Sgt Edwin Ehlers II, her husband, by the United States Marine Corps.

In August 2007, decorated Marine Sgt Edwin Ehlers was convicted of sexual assault. This story happened amid scandals that the military is mishandling allegations of sexual abuse, and an alarming number of military members are coming forward to say that they have been falsely accused of crimes. Angela says her husband was not given a fair trial within the military justice system, as required by law, and was the victim of a kangaroo court. Angela has ample evidence to prove that NCIS agents admitted to tampering with “evidence” used at trial, and there was no physical evidence to support any of the allegations raised. The alleged victim has also come forward to say that she has been coached, and then recanted abuse allegations at trial. 

 Join Fighting B.A.C.K. as we uncover shocking details about this case, and receive updates from Angela in her fight for justice.

I have worked tirelessly since August 21, 2007, when I was suddenly thrust into single motherhood with 2 small children and no job, to gain Edwin’s freedom.  I have done the many things in the pursuit to set to rights what has happened by writing to the very people who are able to correct their own mistakes and to that of others.  These people, who have the power and ability to release Edwin, refuse to even acknowledge they have done anything wrong.

These are the same people who run our Government offices and take our tax-payer dollars for funding.  They have sworn an oath to uphold the laws which ensure our freedom, but they have done nothing but show their incompetence and disregard for the “rules” and laws which govern all of us.  Most, if not all, lack the backbone to stand up for what is right by correcting this injustice.

No one can ever give Edwin and our children back what has been taken from them because when he comes home, I can’t make our children go back to being the 19 month and 7 month old babies they were when he was wrongfully convicted.

But I can do everything in my power to give them all one thing, his freedom.” ~ Angela Ehlers, 3/30/2012

Read More About Angela Ehlers, the fight for Justice for Sgt. Edwin Ehlers II and review docs at: Military Injustice Blog

Also Read:

A Travesty Of Justice: Collateral Charges In Military Sexual Assault Cases (Daily Caller)

Falsely Accused Military Service Members Share their Stories on Capitol Hill (Save Our Heroes Project)

False reports outpace sex assaults in the military (Washington Times)

Military’s newly aggressive rape prosecution has pitfalls (McClatchy DC Bureau)

Fighting B.A.C.K. with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki now airs Monday night 6-8 pm EST/ 5-7 pm Central on Future of Our Children Radio (BlogTalk).

Listen Online: Fighting B.A.C.K with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Episode 7

Grazzini-Rucki Case Suggests Witness Tampering, Continued Abuse of Runaway Rucki Girl

gavel

Because the witness told investigators that her father made her change her story and her story did in fact change from previous statements, it is apparent that witness tampering occurred.” – Motion filed by the Dahlens 12/23/2016

(Dakota County, Minn): More evidence supporting that David Rucki has abused his children in the past, and continues to emotionally and psychologically abuse S.R. emerges from the criminal trial of Doug and Gina Dahlen…

Doug and Gina Dahlen, the couple who sheltered S.R. and G.R. on their therapeutic horse ranch for 2 1/2 years, filed a motion to request an evidentiary hearing regarding witness tampering on 12/23/2016 in Dakota County. (The Dahlens have since plead “guilty” for felony charges of parental deprivation under questionable circumstances).

Read the motion in it’s entirety: Dakota County accused of witness tampering in Doug and Gina Dahlen case

Doug and Gina Dahlen

Doug and Gina Dahlen

The motion was filed to request a hearing to determine whether witness tampering has occurred. The alleged witness tampering is based on David Rucki, the Lakeville P.D. and Dakota County’s treatment towards S.R. – one of the teen girls who fled after Judge David L. Knutson placed her in an unsafe environment.

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

Public Domain: http://chainimage.com/

THE DAHLENS: RUCKI SISTERS DISCLOSE ABUSE

The motion details the heart wrenching day that S.R. and G.R. came to the Dahlen family. In late April of 2013, both girls came to the ranch, and according to the motion,”When the girls arrived, both were very emotional, crying and appeared scared. Both girls appeared extremely fearful to the Dahlens. In fact, the Dahlens had never seen two girls so visibly and physically frightened. In essence, they were scared for their lives.

S.R. and G.R. had good reason to be afraid of David Rucki. When the girls became more comfortable with the Dahlens, they shared their fears, and painful memories. According to the motion, the girls told the Dahlens that Rucki made threats, displayed sexually inappropriate behavior, and police were called a number of times after he violated restraining orders.

frisked

According to the Dahlens, the girls reported that they were scared of Rucki and he “had a habit of peeking in outside windows..” The Dahlens said talking about their home life, and the thought of returning to the care of their father (Rucki) made S.R. and G.R. so upset that they would shake and become physically sick “with fear and panic“.

It should be noted that S.R. exhibited the same emotional and physical symptoms as to what the Dahlens observed when she was questioned by social workers and police after she had been recovered; when making statements regarding her home life prior to the divorce, abuse and the events leading up to when she ran away. The difference is that the Dahlens correctly identified S.R.’s reaction as a traumatic response, but when S.R. was put back under the control of Dakota County the abuse cover up continued and S.R. was labelled “fragile” and in need of de-programming.

The motion states that Dahlens permitted S.R. and G.R. to stay at their Ranch because they reasonably believed that the girls were at risk for physical, sexual or emotional harm if they returned.

S.R. and her sister G.R. went into hiding, living with the Dahlens for 2 1/2 years. In an interview with ABC 20/20, Gina Dahlen says the teen girls “made a new life” for themselves on the Ranch, and they were free to leave anytime they wanted but chose to stay. While staying on the Ranch, S.R. and G.R. were home schooled. The girls did chores on the Ranch, and helped with the website – but never used the internet to contact their father or make an effort to return to Lakeville, where they lived. Dahlen says there was no effort to conceal the girls, they used their real names and went into town, socializing with others.

This is also confirmed in social worker notes, taken from an interview conducted after the S.R. and G.R. were discovered living on the Ranch in November 2015, (Social Service Records – Rucki ) “The girls appeared well cared for and like it at the (redacted).”

The social worker reports that S.R. told her,”It was so great up there.” And,”They were given hugs and love. She loves Doug and Gina and says Gina was like a mom to her.

S.R. also told the social worker about the abusive, dysfunctional home environment created by her father, David Rucki, and warned that she would run if placed back into his custody.

G.R. says this about the Dahlens,”She feels Doug and Gina gave up their lives for them. She feels at peace there, they talked about God and read the Bible. They taught her to forgive.

When asked about her father, G.R. told the social worker, “She still feels fear of dad… She does not want to live with him and she feels he still has control over her. She does not feel mom played role in her thoughts or feelings about her dad.” G.R. also stated that she will run if made to return to dad.

TRANSITIONING FAMILIES INVOLVED IN WITNESS TAMPERING?

(Note: Inquiry by Justice blog.. these comments are NOT part of the Dahlen’s motion)

It is unknown if S.R. or G.R. have attempted to run away again but it is known that the sisters were put through intensive de-programming (aka mind control) and reunification therapy at Transitioning Families, a  ranch  situated in a remote location in California. It could be argued that David Rucki’s efforts to put S.R. and G.R. in the program at Transitioning Families is a form of witness tampering.

Transitioning Families was chosen because if the girls did attempt to run away they would have no place to go. Court records state that S.R. and G.R. were both willing to attend therapy in Minnesota, and promised not to run if placed in a foster home. There was no need to send the sisters to California because they could undergo therapy in Minnesota, where they live, and where they would receive ongoing treatment (if needed). There would be no risk of running if the girls were placed in a foster home, and allowed to transition back into their lives at their own pace and comfort level.  But that didn’t happen.

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, Transitioning Families

Therapist Dr. Rebecca Bailey, of Transitioning Families, facilitated reunification between David Rucki and the girls. At the time of reunification, Rucki was on probation after being convicted of a violent road rage incident. Yet Bailey showed no concern for the safety of the girls, despite Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, that included being referred to anger management and psychological testing as part of probation. In an interview with a local paper, Rucki says Dr. Bailey determined that he does not pose a danger to anyone after an incident where he was kicked in the privates by a pony, and did not show signs of violence. However, that incident does not qualify as a valid psychological assessment, or involve the use of acceptable medical practices. Evidence suggests that Dr. Bailey ignored and/or dismissed abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children, as well as evidence supporting that abuse did occur. Dr. Bailey also failed to consider Rucki’s history or do a risk assessment when forcing the S.R. and G.R. (and their siblings) into reunification. The end result of the Transitioning Families program was that adults who are skilled in psychology used isolation and programming tactics to get two vulnerable, frightened teenage girls to recant abuse allegations. From the motion filed by the Dahlens (p. 5) “Intimidate can simply mean to make timidIn the Eighth Circuit, exhortations to remain loyal to one’s people or family is sufficient to support a conviction for witness tampering...”

The way testimony was taken from S.R. during the criminal trial of her mother could also be considered witness tampering. During her criminal trial, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki attempted to subpoena S.R. (who had turned 18) and G.R. to appear and testify. Grazzini-Rucki’s efforts were challenged by both David Rucki and his attorney, Lisa Elliott, and by Prosecutor Kathryn Keena. Their arguments were supported by Dr. Bailey, who wrote a letter to the Court, stating she did not feel the girls were capable of testifying and recommended that if S.R.. were to testify it should be by video only. Dr. Bailey’s letter was submitted to Judge Karen Asphaug for review. Grazzini-Rucki and her attorney were not given a copy, nor allowed to read it. Judge Asphaug agreed with the recommendation, G.R. was not allowed to testify and S.R. could testify by video only.

S.R. testified by video conferencing under extremely unusual circumstances. S.R. was out of view of the jury and present with her in the room was father, David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love (her fear of Love caused S.R. to run away), and both paternal grandparents and an armed bailiff. The defense attorney was limited in the questions he could ask and evidence of abuse was suppressed.

According to the motion (p. 5),”Witness tampering can be overt or subtle and includes emotional manipulation…The Minnesota Supreme Court has recognized that even ‘general or specific threats of reprisal’ would constitute witness intimidation…The Court has also acknowledged that  the mere presence of spectators in the courtroom can result in witness intimidation.

BASIS FOR THE WITNESS TAMPERING MOTION

Doug and Gina Dahlen raise a compelling, and legally sound, argument that witness tampering involving S.R. did occur.

From the time S.R. and G.R. stayed at the Ranch until their tearful good-bye, the girls have consistently told the same story about the abuse they have endured at the hands of their father, and the failure of the family court to protect them, is the reason why they ran away, to seek safety. Upon return to Rucki’s care, S.R. told law enforcement that she was  pressured and guilted to recant by her father and Tammy Love. S.R. also stated that court paperwork was “all over the house“, that the issue was constantly raised, and she could not get away from it.  When S.R. did give a statement to police, it was Rucki who drove her to the police station.

Journalist Michael Volpe has extensively researched the Grazzini-Rucki case, and has uncovered another aspect of possible witness tampering involving the same incident: David Rucki claims indigence, hires two private lawyers This article offers additional insight on the questionable interview with S.R. and police, conducted on June 30, 2016. During the interview, S.R. reveals that she had been reading about her family’s involvement with the court system on the Carver County Corruption blog. S.R. said she discovered the site after going to the library, logging onto a computer, and doing an internet search on her name.

At the time of the interview the Carver County Corruption blog had been permanently shut down. Another blogger writing about the Grazzini-Rucki case had removed articles she had written from her blog, and stopped covering the case altogether. These events happened in response to a June 7, 2016 letter written to the blog owners from a law firm employed by David Rucki. The letter implied the bloggers could face “various civil claims” against them and “litigation seeking substantial damages“. As a result, the blog articles were taken down, and S.R. was no longer able to freely access information offering another perspective on the case. It should also be noted that the Carver County Corruption blog gave S.R. a voice because it posted letters and comments she provided to the courts. In a broader perspective, shutting down the blogs has also limited the public’s access to information and documentation regarding the Grazzini-Rucki case; and attempted to make one viewpoint – that of David Rucki – the dominant source of information.

LAKEVILLE POLICE IMPLICATED IN WITNESS TAMPERING

The Dahlen motion also implicates Lakeville police in witness tampering, stating that (p. 8), “Law enforcement investigators in this case apparently avoided asking SVR questions which would develop responses favoring the affirmative defense. Anytime the possibility arose that David Rucki would be portrayed in a negative light, Detective Coughlin backed off.

During the June 30th interview, S.R. told Det. Coughlin that she was brought to the interview against her free will, and pressured and guilted into recanting abuse allegations by Rucki and Love. The pressure was so intense that S.R. began to cry.

The motion states that Det. Coughlin never asked S.R. to elaborate when speaking about issues related to abuse. And that S.R.’s statement to police shows change from the story she has consistently told prior to being recovered. S.R.’s testimony takes yet another turn in court, where claims to not have seen or remembered abuse, and stated that she was not in her right mind when speaking to police.

Perhaps the impact of reunification therapy at Transitioning Families has taken its toll? Perhaps Rucki and Love have finally crushed her spirit? What has not changed is that S.R. remains tearful, emotional and her body language indicates trauma – she shakes or curls up into a ball when questioned. And that is the tragedy of the Grazzini-Rucki case, that the court system has completely failed to protect the Rucki children from the abuse they endured and witnessed, and instead protected the abuser, to the detriment of the children.

The Dahlen motion has not only raised concerns about witness tampering but at its core, it is a statement that raises serious concerns that S.R. (and the other Rucki children) is being emotionally and psychologically abused and continue to be at risk in the care of David Rucki.