Controversial Grazzini-Rucki E-Mail Raises Questions of Corruption, Prisoner Abuse

Left: Dakota Co Attorney James Backstrom, Judge Karen Asphaug, Judge David L. Knutson. Right: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

According to recent social media postings, an e-mail regarding the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is stirring controversy among supporters of David Rucki  who claim the e-mail is “harassment” and it’s claims that Sandra was abused by her ex-husband are untrue.

The e-mail begins,Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, once a loving stay-at-home mother and former Mrs. Lakeville, is traveling somewhere along America’s highway tonight, shackled and chained in a prison transport van. 

This will be the second prison transport for Sandra – during the first trip she was beaten, sexually assaulted, and humiliated while driven across the country while handcuffed, chained and held in a dog cage...”

The e-mail blasts the treatment of Sandra while on prison transport back in 2015, and injuries sustained after allegedly being attacked while held prisoner in the Ramsey County Correctional Facility, as being abusive. And questions if Sandra will survive another round of “diesel therapy”.

The e-mail also gives a summary of the Grazzini-Rucki family court and criminal cases and says that Sandra was “harassed and further abused through the legal system.”

It offers articles about the Grazzini-Rucki case, including documentation of abuse. And encourages the public to show their support of Sandra and write complaints about how she was treated to public officials.

The e-mail has been reposted on a blog about Sandra’s case where it can be read in full: Will Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Survive?

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Diesel Therapy: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s Torturous Journey on Prison Transport

If you even possibly imagine how bad being locked down for 23 hours a day in a cell with a woman who just killed somebody could be, transport was a thousand times worse...” Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

A recent interview of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on F.A.C.E. U.S. describes her torturous journey on prison transport that involved nearly a month of being shackled hand to foot, and placed in a dog cage, as she was driven in a jagged route from Florida to Minnesota from October-November 2015 after a sealed warrant was issued for her rest. At the time of transport, Sandra had no prior criminal history, and was not convicted of any crime.

Listen Here: The Grazzini-Rucki Story as You’ve Never Heard Before  

Diesel Therapy” – The Dangerous Route of Prison Transport

Prison transport is often referred to as “diesel therapy”, nicknamed for the exhaust fumes that permeate transport vans. Diesel therapy is notorious for its extreme and degrading treatment of prisoners where neglect as well as physical and mental abuse is common. Trips can last weeks and months at a time; in which prisoners at held at the mercy of their captors.

In the United States, tens of thousands of suspects and fugitives, many who have not been convicted of a crime (like Sandra at the time of this transport) are transferred from jails and prisons into the care of private companies that handle transport, and operate with almost no oversight or accountability. Transport companies are usually paid per mile, and guards are generally paid only for their time on the road, so they have an incentive to pack vans tightly and take as little breaks as possible. Numerous investigations into the prison transport industry have revealed rampant abuse and neglect of prisoners, and in some cases prisoners actually die from the inhumane conditions, abuse or vehicle crashes/accidents.

On prison transport trips, violent and repeat felons are often transported alongside suspects (and may be chained together). Even something as simple as a child support warrant could land you into diesel therapy, shackled next to a child predator or drug lord. The lack of security on prison transport is also a concern – in some cases prisoners have escaped from transport, or have attacked guards or other prisoners. Sexual assault of female prisoners is also routinely reported on transport – with perpetrators identified as guards, drivers or even other male prisoners. Once inside the prison system, there is little or no recourse for prisoners to file grievances, and they risk retaliation for raising concerns.

At an emotional moment in the show, Sandra’s distress can audibly be heard as she struggles to put into words the abuse she suffered in jail and transport, “About after about 6 days of what was going on.. I don’t know if people really want to know what goes on, because you don’t know what goes on in jails, but people know that people that aren’t really that type of people and they take full advantage of it..and if they feel they got somebody in there that may be proper they will do whatever they can to make it worse for them… And that’s what they did to me. They took advantage of the fact that … whatever..” Sandra is not able to talk further… perhaps she is afraid to say anymore.

From American Mom to Fighting for Survival

How Sandra went from former beauty queen and mother to being criminally charged for her efforts to protect her children from abuse is a journey that has transported her from “a basic American mom” to a woman who is now fighting for her survival.

In her former life Sandra lived in Lakeville, a rural suburb in Minnesota, where she was a stay-at-home mother of 5 children. She also worked as a flight attendant. Sandra is a former beauty queen who is known not just for being attractive but having a beautiful heart as well. She actively volunteered in her community, opened her doors to the neighborhood children to stop by and devoted her life to the care of her 5 children.  Sandra has said it was her dream to be a wife and mother, and that“my children were my world”. However, she did not anticipate that her husband would be an abusive monster with a lengthy criminal history, who would also physically and mentally abuse the children she so loves.

So how did Sandra become destitute, homeless, and now, a 6 time felon who is permanently banned from seeing her children for the rest of their lives? The answer will shock you: she sought a divorce. David Rucki, ex-husband, is a wealthy, well-connected abuser, who has continued to batter Sandra through the family court and legal system. The Grazzini-Rucki family court and criminal case has been overwhelmed with corruption, abuse of judicial power and laws that are routinely broken…the victims in this are the 5 Rucki children who continued to be trapped in an abusive home, and Sandra, whose life remains endangered by the court system that should have protected her and the children.

Sealed Warrant Used to Ambush Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Now, shocking new details emerge about the initial arrest of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the inhumane treatment she received during transport.

Some background needed to understand this story – A nationwide warrant for Sandra’s arrest was submitted by Dakota County Prosecuting Attorney Kathryn M. Keena and not only approved but put under a seal on August 12, 2015. Sandra was charged with 3 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights, a seal means the warrant was kept secret. The seal was to last until Sandra is arrested, and returned to Minnesota. A sealed warrant also means that Sandra was not notified that a warrant was issued against her – and given absolutely no chance to voluntarily turn herself in.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Despite the seal, information regarding the warrant was leaked to a local reporter from an unknown source. Whoever leaked the warrant committed an illegal act, though the reporter did nothing illegal by receiving or publishing the information.Sandra was not living in Minnesota at the time of the warrant, and is not aware of the news reports. Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie claims the leak was just a “glitch”. Dakota County’s mishanding of Sandra’s arrest warrant is NOT just a “glitch” – it is a serious error that has violated Sandra’s due process rights and resulted in egregious harm being inflicted upon her.

Since the warrant was leaked into the press, there was no legitimate reason for it to remain sealed. But that is not what happened in Dakota County – after the warrant is leaked, it is then re-sealed, making it impossible for Sandra, or her attorney, to be notified of its existence. Providing Sandra with a notice to appear in court would have been appropriate in this case, and easier than what happened next. Instead, Dakota County relentlessly pursued Sandra.

Sandra was apprehended by U.S. Marshalls, in Florida on October 18, 2015. She was temporarily held in jail then transported across the country to be brought back to Minnesota to answer to criminal charges. The story continues… Pt. II Diesel Therapy: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s Torturous Journey on Prison Transport

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced After Judge Asphaug Disallows Nearly All of Defense Evidence

As reported by Michael Volpe, CDN News. Read full story at: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sentenced in domestic case by Michael Volpe, CDN News
HASTINGS, Minnesota, September 23, 2016- “Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been sentenced to six years’ probation and an extra one hundred and eight days in jail for her role in her two daughters’ running away.
sentencingsgr

Judge Asphaug imposed the unusual sentence after disallowing nearly all of the evidence Grazzini-Rucki intended to use in support of her affirmative defense. Grazzini-Rucki argued that she hid her daughters to protect them from an unsafe environment.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

The criminal record of Grazzini-Rucki’s ex-husband, David Rucki including a bar fight, road rage incident, numerous incidents of stalking and numerous violations of orders for protection, were all disallowed.

Child Protection reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head, were also disallowed.…”

This article by Michael Volpe discusses the allegations of abuse raised by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children, and describes the dramatic events leading up to the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.  It also includes Sandra’s full statement, to be read by her family law attorney, after sentencing.

Volpe attempted to contact numerous sources for comment including Judge Asphaug, Beau Berentson public affairs officer for the Minnesota courts, the Lakeville police, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s office, attorney Lisa Elliott and others, who did not respond.

Volpe also attempted to contact reporter Brandon Stahl to ask several questions about the case – including asking Stahl why he has declined to write about Rucki’s extensive criminal history, and declined to write about S. Rucki’s June 30, 2016 interview with police.

Volpe reports: “In that interview Samantha Rucki said she was pressured into recanting by her father, running away was her idea, and she reiterated her father was an abuser .

She recanted when called as a witness saying she ran away to get away from the divorce but Judge Asphaug refused to allow her June 30 interview into evidence at Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial.” In the June 30 interview with police, S. Rucki said she was pressured and “guilted” into recanting by Rucki and Tammy Jo Love.

During the criminal trial, Judge Asphaug took the unusual move to have S. Rucki testify by Skype, and out of view of the jury. David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love, grandmother Vicki Rucki, and attorney Lisa Elliott, were all in the room but remained out of view of the jury.  Judge Asphaug also limited the questions the Defense was allowed to ask, thereby making their defense ineffective.

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center