2013 Complaint Against Judge David L. Knutson Alleges Misconduct, Malice

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

“The rule of law was not adhered to and the entire trial was simulated litigation… ALL Judge Knutson’s orders are not merely voidable, these orders are already VOID.” ~ K.B. Complaint Against Judge Knutson

Shame on you for allowing this family to be torn apart by your orders. Shame on you for forcing children into a relationship with a father they are terrified of. Shame on you for forcing these children to make the drastic decision to go on the run in order to protect themselves…In cases like this I have to wonder how our system got to the point that destroying families in today’s society is ok.” ~ L.M. letter to Judge David Knutson

(Hastings, Minn) A complaint filed against Judge David L. Knutson on September 4, 2013, outlines his mishandling of the Grazzini-Rucki case. The complaint also describes how Judge Knutson’s reckless actions contributed to ongoing chaos in the lives of the Rucki children, and deprived Sandra Grazzini-Rucki of her rights. The complaint concludes that Judge Knutson acted with malice, that there is no other reasonable explanation for his conduct.

According to the complaint, “The record on case no. 19AV-FA-11-1273 shows a disturbing pattern where throughout, Judge Knutson has engaged in multiple acts of misconduct and actual bias, has repeatedly violated parties rights, and consistently fails to follow the law…

Judge Knutson has repeatedly denied the mother (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) any and all contact with her children without any findings of endangerment, abuse or parental unfitness. In addition, throughout this case, Judge Knutson has made absurd statements in an attempt to somehow justify abuses of discretion.

The complaint accuses Judge Knutson of a “pervasive pattern of misconduct and impropriety” that includes:

-Bias, “acts for improper purpose to deny one party’s fundamental rights

-Making false statements of material facts

-Failure to follow the law

-Failure to follow the children’s “Best Interest”

-That Judge Knutson ordered Sandra to use specific providers he hand selected under the guise of therapy; yet these providers do not provide therapy. Rather, they provide forensic evidence for use against the mother.

-Judge Knutson abused his authority by forcing Sandra, under the threat of arrest, to disclose her location and phone number to a known abuser (whom she received a protective order against). This directly contradicts  a Minnesota law requiring judges to protect victims of stalking and abuse, and to prevent such disclosures of information to the abuser.

-Acting with malice

Read complaint in its entirety: Complaint Against Dakota County Judge David Knutson (Red Herring Alert)

On September 11, 2013, attorney Michelle MacDonald filed a Federal Civil Rights Action against Judge Knutson on behalf on Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

The Grazzini-Rucki custody trial commenced one week after this complaint was filed, on September 12, 2013. Which means that Judge Knutson was under investigation while presiding over a case that he was accused of misconduct on. Judge Knutson was also presiding over a case while a Federal Civil Rights Action against him was pending.

At the beginning of trial, MacDonald asked Judge Knutson to recuse himself, which he refused to do stating, “With respect to you notifying me that I’ve been made party to some Federal lawsuit for civil rights violations, I’m not aware of that. I have no information about that. I’m not concerned about that. We’re going to proceed…” MacDonald presses on, reminding Judge Knutson that she wrote him a letter to inform him about the lawsuit. Judge Knutson’s initial response is evasive then he admits he did receive notice of the lawsuit, and recounts some details. Which means Judge Knutson is caught lying in court. Judge Knutson refuses to recuse himself, and moves forward with trial stating “I‘m not going to hold that against your client or prejudice your client for something you do” and states a Federal Civil Rights Action is “irrelevant“.


The Board of Judicial Standards responded on November 12, 2013, and determined, despite overwhelming evidence of each of these claims, that the complaint “
required no further action“. The Board further determined that the allegations did not sway them to take disciplinary action because the merits were not proven with a “clear and convincing standard“. It is unclear if the Board was aware of Judge Knutson’s conduct during the custody trial.

The Civil Rights Action faced a similar fate, excusing Judge Knutson’s actions under the guide of judicial immunity.

On November 25, 2013, David Rucki is granted sole custody of all 5 children. At the time of the order he was on probation for a guilty plea involving an OFP violation (Case No. 19AV-CR-11-14682, discharged from probation 10/17/2014. Judge Karen Asphaug conducted pre-trial on that case). 

On February 11, 2014, Judge Knutson filed a complaint against attorney Michelle MacDonald with the Lawyer’s Board. MacDonald said about the complaint, “Judge Knutson’s complaint came after I complained about to him to the Board of Judicial Standards about this: On September 12, 2013, Judge Knutson had me participate as an attorney in a client’s child custody trial in handcuffs, a wheelchair, with no shoes, no glasses, no paper, no pen, no files,missing children – and no client. This was the day after I had filed a federal civil rights action against him, on behalf of that client…MNBar.org Michelle MacDonald Candidate Information A hearing was recently held concerning the complaint against MacDonald, a ruling has not been issued at the time of this blog post.

Judge Knutson now sits as a member on the Board of Judicial Standards. No one in the family court system has been held accountable for the disastrous results of the Grazzini-Rucki case despite numerous complaints being filed.

When abuse allegations, and concerns for the safety of the Rucki children, were raised in this case the Court’s focus was not on the welfare of the children but instead pursued a dangerous agenda. Instead of protecting the children from harm, Judge Knutson and the various professionals involved, inflicted of trauma on children to force reunification with the parent they feared by taking an “assertive stance..to expose them to the object of their fear” and to “desensitize them“. (Dr. Gilbertson Letter).  The Court sought to silence by any means, the parent, Sandra, who sought to protect the children and thereby, stood in the way. The events that led up to the Rucki girls running away is a direct result of the court’s own failings. 

Had Judge Knutson, the professionals, appropriately responded to abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children and worked to protect them, there might have been a different outcome than a family completely destroyed; and children who may never recover from the abuses inflicted on them.

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For More Information:

Complaint by K.B. Against Judge Knutson

Chaos, Horror After Courts Step in for Rucki Family by Michael Volpe

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

Potential State Witness Wrote Letter to Judge Knutson – Criticizing Court’s Failure to Protect Rucki Children from Abuse

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Why Hasn’t Lori Musolf Been Charged for her Role in Assisting Runaway Rucki Sisters?

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Dakota County, Minn: A repost from Red Herring Alert raises questions as to why self proclaimed “advocate” and “investigator” Lori Musolf has NEVER been charged for her role in assisting the runaway Rucki sisters. WITH ADVOCATES LIKE THESE. . .

During David Rucki’s victim impact statement at the sentencing of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki he stated (paraphrase) that if “Sandy” had just made a call or done something right away, the Girls could have been returned right away, avoiding years of suffering. The same could be said for Lori Musolf who had extensive conversations with the runaway Rucki sisters in the days after their disappearance. Musolf also arranged the interview, and acted as a go between, for the Rucki sisters to appear on Fox 9 with Trish van Pilsum.

Judge Karen Asphaug, Prosecutor Kathryn Keena and the Lakeville police have all taken a tough stance on Sandra as well as Dede Evavold and the Dahlens – why, then, are they allowing Lori Musolf to go free with no punishment?

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

609.26 Depriving Another of Custodial or Parental Rights Subdivision 1. Prohibited acts. Whoever intentionally does any of the following acts may be charged with a felony and, upon conviction, may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 6:

… 8) causes or contributes to a child being a runaway as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 28, and is at least 18 years old and more than 24 months older than the child…

Has Dakota County made a deal with Lori Musolf or what ??? The public deserves to know…

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Excerpts from interview with Detective Dronen and Lori Musolf: 

Detective Dronen:  Let me ask you something along those lines when the girls first went missing on the 19th of April.

Lori: I think I’ve got the timelines figured out when we interviewed (referring to Fox9 interview of the girls). I believe I had gotten a call that night that they were gone and I believe that was a Friday night. Things have just been triggering memories for me when I read stuff like, you know I’ll read through these stories and everything else and I actually talked to Trish and I think I’ve got the timeline figured out. So they went missing Friday night they called me on Saturday the next day because we tried to set up the interview for Saturday but we could not find a photographer that would work the weekend. We didn’t interview them till Monday morning, my husband was home during that time too and we are trying to get everything figured out. So I figure it was between Saturday and Sunday that we talked on the phone and it was either Sunday or Monday we did the interview. (Reports show that Musolf had numerous conversations with the Rucki sisters in the days after they ran away, a direct result of Judge Knutson awarding temporary custody to an aunt who the sisters claim is abusive, under her care the sisters knew their abusive father would have access to them).

AND

Lori: (After the interview with sisters, S and G Rucki) “I left and went straight to St. Cloud and Dede and Sam were already there so I knew they didn’t have those girls. They were already at the hotel when we got there, they were waiting in the parking lot.”

Detective Dronen. Source: https://redherringalert.wordpress.com, sunthisweek

Also interesting – Lori Musolf is NOT a supporter of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, in fact, she openly criticizes her. Musolf has no reason and no agenda to say or do anything that would support Sandra, Which makes Musolf even more credible when she states that she believes that domestic violence occurred in the Rucki, believes that the Girls were abused and that she herself is afraid of David. Potential State Witness Wrote Letter to Judge Knutson – Criticizing Court’s Failure to Protect Rucki Children from Abuse

Statements from Musolf about the #grazzinirucki case:

I have no doubt that the judge (Knutson) is corrupt as the day is long, that’s why I got involved. There’s no denying the shit she had to go through in the courtroom…”

“She felt like he would kill her if he had the chance.”

“I don’t trust David and I do think the man is dangerous…”

Source: WITH ADVOCATES LIKE THESE. . .

 

 

 

Comment on Grazzini-Rucki Case from a Child Advocate: The Court System in this Case is Causing Harm

In Response To: https://justice4grazziniruckifamily.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/horrendous-family-court

Canadian Advocate for Abused Children left the following comment:

I’ve been following this disgraceful, unprofessional treatment of these young LADIES and their Mother since the beginning.

These Young LADIES are not children. They have a mind of their own and it’s clear that the system and father is trying very hard to manipulate them. To recant the truth, and claim their mother did some sort of brainwashing called the “bogus” Parential Alienation Syndrome/Parential Alienation. There is no evidence this even exists. Yet, the system of so called professionals are suggesting that this is all the mothers fault.

In this interview this young lady has answered her question, yet she is still trying to make her say her mother was involved in the plan. Anyone can ask different questions in hopes to get the answer they want. It’s clear manipulation. Believe me a teenager at this age can not be manipulated to answer a question of lies unless they are threatened to do so. This case needs a qualified domestic violence lawyer that only deals with cases like this. The pro Bono lawyer’s that came on to the Tishmoni case would be great for these girls and mom. How can they even consider putting mom in jail for this. Most if not all mother’s would of done the same thing if their daughter/son called them in a panic. The court system in this case is causing harm to these girls and mom.

This court is so bias and abusive mentally to these girls and mom. Forcing your kid’s to be with you in spite is what I see this so called “father” is doing. It’s called domestic violence by proxy. I see black robe syndrome all over this case. If I was a family member I’d sue this court in criminal court and also make complaints on the family court judge. For the way he’s handled a case of domestic violence by proxy.

I’m a child advocate and work at a women’s shelter and I’ve never heard such unprofessional, unethical, biased judge other then Gorcyca with the Tishmoni case. Removal from the bench needs to happen with both.

Whatever goes around comes around. If you believe in God…He’s watching.”

TearsDakotaCounty

 

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

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Lakeville, Minnesota: Lion News released an emotional video excerpt of the June 30, 2016 interview between Samantha Rucki and Detective Kelli Coughlin. LION NEWS: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF SAMANTHA RUCKI CALLING DAKOTA CO. JUDGE KNUTSON A “DICK”

The shocking video begins with Samantha tearfully crying, “It never should of happened, I just want to be with my Mom.” At another point in the interview, Samantha says, “I just wanted to be with her (Sandra) and no one would let us…

Samantha was questioned about her two-year long disappearance following a family court order that temporarily granted custody to paternal aunt, Tammy Jo  Love, and placed the Rucki children within the control of abusive father, David Rucki. The Rucki children raised numerous allegations of abuse against their father and also stated that they did not feel safe in the care of Tammy Jo Love.

Samantha admits she was “guilted” by her father, David Rucki, to do an interview with police and told to “recant”.

Earlier this week, journalist Michael Volpe reported on the same interview: Explosive Rucki police interview adds new wrinkle to story

Volpe elaborates on the interview, offering additional details, including, “Initially, the younger Rucki told the Detective that her father attempted to threaten her ahead of the interview, “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.”

This tampering takes on extra meaning because when Samantha testified in her mother’s trial, the court took the unusual step of allowing Samantha to testify by Skype and out of the view of the jury. Her father, his sister, her grandmother, and attorney were all in the room all out of the view of the jury.

At least one child did recant his story – Nico Rucki previously disclosed physical and mental abuse from his father, has now changed his story and says it was Sandra who pressured him to make those claims. Was Nico subjected to the same treatment as Samantha had described?

Comments made in the police interview suggest that Rucki terrorized his family. Samantha states she felt “frightened”, and witnessed escalating violence in the home, “It was constantly screaming, and he (David Rucki) was getting to the point where he was starting to get physical.”

Samantha admits she ran away because she was in a “panic” and says the failures of the Dakota County Family Court -specifically  Judge David L. Knutson, Julie Friedrich (Guardian ad Litem), Dr. Gilbertson (a therapist) – contributed to her decision.

Sandra’s criminal trial was presided by Judge Karen Asphaug, who refused to allow the transcript or audio of this interview to be entered as evidence. Judge Asphaug also refused to allow a domestic violence expert to testify on Sandra’s behalf; 75% of evidence submitted was withheld from the jury.

Sandra is due to be sentenced September 21st – she has been charged with 6 felony counts of depriving custodial rights. The circumstances surrounding her conviction raise concerns that she did not receive a fair trial.

Also concerning is the safety and well-being of the Rucki children. David Rucki went to great lengths in an attempt to silence Samantha…what has he got to hide, and what lengths will he go to bury the truth?

 

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

 

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD

Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich

Backlash Against Backstrom in the Aftermath of Grazzini-Rucki Verdict

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Local Citizens Rally Support for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Express Disgust with Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom…

(July 28, 2016) Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty of six counts of felony deprivation of parental rights. This occurred after substantial amounts of evidence were suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug, and withheld from the jury.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

After the verdict was read, Sandra was taken into custody. A strange move considering that Sandra had been released on her own recognizance (Feb. 24th) after the original $1 million bail was dropped. Sandra  poses no threat to society, and there are no indications that she is a flight risk. She has no prior criminal history, has remained law abiding, and has attended all court dates. Despite this, bail was set at $100,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions. Attorney Stephen Grigsby said it is “incomprehensible” how the court could increase her bail.

Citizens from Dakota County and surrounding areas expressed disgust at County Attorney James Backstrom and his mishandling of the case. The citizens showed up at the courthouse in a strong show of solidarity to give donations to contribute towards Sandra’s bond, so that she would be released from jail.

There were comments heard among the crowd – they were upset with James Backstrom that he exploited Grazzini-Rucki case for political reasons and that the children were subjected to unnecessary trauma. One anonymous comment, “The county used this case to try to make a point, and exploited the children.Another concern was that Dakota County exaggerated the Grazzini-Rucki case, and incurred unnecessary expense with tax payer dollars.

County Attorney James Backstrom

County Attorney James Backstrom

Due to their efforts, and support, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was released on bond. Sentencing is scheduled for September 21st.