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

Public Domain: wallpapersin4k.net

Continued from Part 1: Diesel Therapy: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s Torturous Journey on Prison Transport

U.S. Marshal Mayhem

At 66 minutes into The Grazzini-Rucki Story as You’ve Never Heard Before  Sandra bravely shares what happened when she was apprehended by U.S. Marshals, her time in jail, and the horror of prison transport.

On October 18, 2015, Sandra was working as a flight attendant, and during her layover sharing a hotel room with a co-worker (which normal for that profession). Sandra went to bed as usual but later was startled awake by voices shouting her name. She opened her eyes to see four men with shotguns pointed at her face, wearing full swat gear with goggles over their eyes. Sandra was grabbed by the arm and yanked to the ground. She was then handcuffed and walked into the next room where she saw her co-worker, also in handcuffs.

The co-worker was sleeping on a couch in another room when, without warning, U.S. Marshals kicked the door in and threw the co-worker to ground. Gus were drawn against his head and he was handcuffed behind his back. The co-worker has never been charged with a crime, he was only subjected to this terrifying treatment because he was in the same unit as Sandra at the time of capture.

U.S. Marshals tore the hotel room apart, asking “Where is the guns?” “Where is the kids? Sandra was shocked to learn that she was charged with gun running, kidnapping and human trafficking. Keep in mind, news of the “sealed” arrest warrant had been reported in one of the largest newspapers in Minnesota two months prior – and according to their report Sandra was only being charged with felony deprivation of parental rights. The U.S. Marshals were acting on false information, even though the entire State of Minnesota had been notified of the real charges through the press: Mother sought in case of two missing Lakeville girls

After weeks of surveillance, and use of extensive manpower on the tax payer’s dime, the U.S. Marshals turned up two flight bags and two flight attendant uniforms in their exhaustive investigation that somehow was not able to detect the phony charges. All of Sandra’s belongings were confiscated and have never been returned. Dave Oney has a lot of explaining to do about the Marshal’s mishandling of the Grazzini-Rucki case, yet remains purposefully evasive.

The U.S. Marshals is the oldest law enforcement agency in the Department of Justice and supposed to be the most experienced, and yet they have been bamboozled by the officials of Dakota County, which is nothing more than a blip in the middle of the Minnesota cornfields. How does a podunk Prosecutor’s office con the U.S. Marshals into believing a stay-at-home mom and flight attendant of 30+ years with an impeccable service record is a violent criminal? The role of the Marshal’s in the Grazzini-Rucki case should be investigated, continued silence and cover up erodes public trust in the program, and hints an even bigger problem may exist.

Once the U.S. Marshals detain a suspect the next step is to take them into federal custody – but that never happened. Sandra was told by Marshals that “this never happened before” and “there was a misunderstanding” regarding the serious, felony level charges leveled against her. Misunderstanding? How is that possible – the reporters at the local press knew what the charges were, and have rigorously defended their story – and yet the U.S. Marshals can’t get their story straight! Dakota County refused to sign Sandra into federal custody and instead asked the Marshals to handle the case as “just a local issue. Sandra was booked into a county jail based on the sealed warrant. Btw Dave Oney claims the Marshals went to these lengths because Sandra was a fugitive. But the warrant was sealed so it is impossible for her to be a fugitive – how can you flee from something that you do not know exists?

Shackled, Shoved Into a Dog Cage

Sandra was booked into jail in Osceola County, Florida, based on the warrant from Dakota County/Prosecutor Keena. Despite the “misunderstanding”, Sandra was still being held as a federal fugitive and placed on the maximum level of security. This meant that Sandra was placed into a cell block reserved for the most serious offenders, and roomed into a prison cell with a women who murdered a man during a robbery by shooting him the face with a shotgun. Sandra says about the cell block she was placed into that it was “like Charlie Manson on steroids”.

The cellmate was surprised to see Sandra enter, stating she is at the high level of security, as a convicted murdered, and says she does not get roommates because of her crime. Sandra recalls being questioned by the cellmate as to why she was there. Michael Volpe comments that the authorities refused to fix the error because they probably wanted Sandra in maximum security, with a dangerous cellmate.

Public Domain: wall.alphacoders.com

If Sandra thought her situation was dire, things were about to get worse as she was given a strong dose of “diesel therapy”.

At 76 minutes into the show Sandra’s voice begins to tremble as she recalls the moment she was dragged out of the cell in the middle of the night, and her ordeal on prison transport began. Luckily for her, the prisoners warned Sandra to put multiple pads in her pants (prisoners are rarely given bathroom breaks). Sandra was also warned that she would be deprived of food and water. From behind bars, Sandra looked North toward the freedom star, her view was obstructed by cinder block walls and darkness. Even in her worst nightmares, she could not imagine the journey ahead.

Prison transport vans are outfitted with interior bars or cages; the rear cargo area where the prisoners are held usually has no windows and relies on ventilation from an inadequate cooling system with few vents and unpredictable service. Transport vans do not have toilets or beds. Medical services are not provided, and prisoners are commonly deprived of medications. Food is in limited supply and water, rationed. There is no contact with the outside world – no way to reach family, friends or even your attorney. Prisoners disappear on a long, lonely road that intersects on American highways yet goes entirely unnoticed.

When Sandra describes how she was handcuffed, she could be describing a medieval torture device. Sandra’s wrists were first handcuffed. Sandra’s feet were then shackled. On long transport trips, handcuffs often cut into the skin, causing circulation problems. Long trips with rough metal cuffs rubbing against the skin cause chafing or sores. And if that was not enough – like Sandra is the Incredible Hulk who could rip out of chains at any time?!? – her hands are then secured to her feet with another chain. Sandra says she was forced to assume a “squatted down position”. Imagine being forced to remain in that position for 12-16 hours a day, unable to stretch or move.. sleep is nearly impossible. That is what Sandra endured.

But shackles and chains for this petite, former beauty queen whose booking records note she is all of 112 pounds and stands all of 5 feet tall is not enough.. because Sandra was then placed into what she calls a “dog cage. All of this Sandra because she fought to protect her children from abuse against a family court system that ignored their cries for help and put the children in harm’s way. Some may call Sandra a criminal but it is clear that only a mother who truly loves her children would make such great sacrifices for their well-being, even risking her life for them.

Sandra says about prison transport, “I don’t know how many states we hit”.The van criss-crossed across the country – “from Florida up to Georgia down to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, over to Dallas , Oklahoma back to Kansas, Missouri, back up to.. I hit so many states…” When the van stopped at a jail, Sandra was booked, meaning her mugshot was taken and she was temporarily assigned a cell. A trail of mugshots exists to document this horrific trip. Once Sandra’s beautiful face graced glamour shots and public events, the toll the transport has taken on her can be seen in her tired eyes and pale complexion, she is barely hanging on.

Almost the entire trip, Sandra remained shackled and shoved into a dog cage. David Rucki’s own dogs were given better treatment that Sandra… his use of the legal system to pummel his ex-wife is more effective at inflicting damage than the bruises he used to leave on her. And if the legal system were not enough of a threat, Sandra was placed on transport with the “worst of the worst” – rapists, murdered, lifelong criminals, whose last breath of fresh air would be experienced on the shuffled walk between the transport van and the big house.

Prison transports are known for lengthy trips, where prisoners may spend sometimes up to 12-16 hours per day on the road, in confines. Sandra pleaded with the guards to be let out of the dog cage. She could barely move so she used her voice to reach beyond the cage. Sandra pleaded with the guards to look her name up on the internet, to visit websites (the same sites David Rucki is trying to shut down!) and research her story. Sandra hoped that if the guards knew about her story they would know that she is not dangerous criminal, not convicted of any crime, and perhaps would relent. The drivers did look Sandra up. And after reading more about Sandra they said “something is not right here” and “they lightened up on me a bit – a bit”.

Fears for the Future

It took almost 3 weeks for Sandra to arrive back to Minnesota on the prison transport from Florida. What kept her strong  in the darkest of times is memories of her children, and the love she has for them. 

In June 2017, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the nation’s largest prison transport company, Prisoner Transportation Services due to allegations of prisoner abuse. According to Business Insider,”Since 2012, at least five inmates have died on PTS vans from alleged medical neglect. Since 2000, another two dozen people have been killed or seriously injured in more than 50 crashes on private extradition vehicles nationwide.Justice Department probes alleged abuses on prison transport vans

The threat that Dakota County will issue another warrant hangs over Sandra’s head, like a noose, head every day. Laws have been routinely broken in the Grazzini-Rucki case and there would be no way for Sandra to protect herself. In the darkest of and held in a jail until the gates of hell to a prison van open, and she is subjected to another degrading transport… a journey she may not survive.

Sandra has vocally expressed in interviews, that she will continue to fight for justice until her children are safe, for them she would risk her life.

 

Grazzini-Rucki Sources:

Does a recently found police report exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki?

Unwarranted: Was the Arrest Warrant Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Improperly Handled?

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and I Talking About US Marshals Corruption in her case

Prison Transport Sources:

Diesel Therapy: U.S. Marshals Oversee Medieval Torture Caravan

https://www.Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport

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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.

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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.

(Nov 2015) Social Worker Recommended – Protective Care for Rucki Girls, Supervised Visits With Father Due to Safety Concerns

(Hasting, Dakota County, Minn): Court records reveal that a Dakota County social worker, believed abuse allegations raised by S.R. and G.R.  and fought to keep them in foster care in order to protect them from their father, David Rucki.

EPC Hearing Transcript Nov 30, 2015 (See page 23 for social worker’s recommendations)

During an Emergency Protective Care (EPC) hearing held on November 30, 2015, a Dakota County social worker recommended the Rucki sisters, S.R. and G.R., remain in protective care (for placement in foster care), and that “visitation between the parent and children would remain supervised, the extent and duration of which shall be determined by Social Services”. Parent meaning David Rucki, who petitioned the court that S.R. and G.R. be returned to his care.

The social worker made these recommendation after S.R. and G.R. (p.2-8) recounted allegations of abuse, and described fear of their father, David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki Social Services File, CPS Records

Reports from the social worker include the following statements shared by S.R. that her father is violent and that “home life was awful prior to the divorce“. Both sisters also reported that Rucki abused alcohol and was often drunk. 

Interviewed S.R. at the foster home on 11/23/2015. S.R. went through the family history with the worker. She was 12 when her parents divorced. Home life was awful prior to the divorce. They tip-toed around dad and he was physically abusive to her mom. Dad ripped off the leg of the organ and ran after her mom. She would have bruises here and there. Dad was rough with S.R. on occasion where he would grab her a few times and shook her. He was mostly emotionally abusive…He drank a lot and was often at bars. Once when they were not living with dad (and were living with mom) there was no more tip-toeing and no more yelling. S.R. said it felt good and she felt free in her own house.” S.R. also added that although people said she was being brain washed and needed de-programming, she never felt that way. S.R. said she would run away if returned to father (David Rucki’s) care.

G.R. shared with the social worker that Rucki took her to bars and threatened to kill the family,”She reports that dad was always screaming at mom. Neighbors called their home the ‘Scream House’. She thought the home situation was normal as she did not know any different. She never had a strong relationship with her dad. He would take her to the bar after dance or hockey. She states a big weight was lifted off her shoulders after the divorce. Mom would have bruises from dad, she would never see this occur but knew it had. She has seen him shove her. She feels her dad was mentally abusive, he was always yelling and ‘it took a toll on all of us’. She states they lived a dysfunctional life.”

G.R. also stated,”Her dad would stalk the house when they were with mom. He showed anger like, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ “ G.R. said she was not being influenced by her mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Just the opposite – she expressed feeling controlled by her father, and that she is afraid of him. G.R. also said that she will run if returned to father (David Rucki’s) care.

S.R. and G.R. told the social worker that they would not run if they were allowed to remain in foster care, and also agreed to attend school and to go to counseling.

The recommendations of the social worker were supported by both sisters, who were represented by an attorney. The attorney requested that the child protection case proceed, and that safety issues would exist if they were returned to the care of David Rucki. The attorney also argued that sending the sisters to a program out of state is not in the best interest of S.R. and G.R., because there is a risk that they could run away again. The attorney requested on behalf of S.R. and G.R. that they remain in foster care.

What teenager begs to be put in foster care? Clearly S.R. and G.R. were greatly afraid of Rucki. That they would go to such great lengths to be away from him demonstrates the panic and fear that lead them to run away on two separate occasions, going into hiding after running away for the second time on April 19, 2013.

David Rucki

David Rucki

It should be noted that the abuse allegations made by S.R. and G.R. have not changed in all the years of they have asked for help. The consistency of their statements shows they are credible, and not being influenced. In addition there are multiple sources of evidence that support their statements. For example, when G.R. says that her father was “stalking the house” those remarks are validated by an OFP and numerous police reports filed by mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Video surveillance has also documented the stalking, and recorded David Rucki’s shadowy form appearing at the home Sandra and the children lived in, night after night. In another police report filed in June 2011, Rucki chased S.R. and a group of friends down the street on her birthday. The terrified teenagers ran into a neighbor’s house in fear of their safety. Rucki chased the girls into the house, and was witnessed banging on the door and yelling. Police were called on that occasion and despite Sandra’s pleas to file charges for an OFP violation, police declined stating the children are not covered by the protective order. Even if that were true, Rucki had violated the OFP by coming within 350 feet of the home, and should have been charged.

In addition, David Rucki has a long criminal history that attests to his propensity towards violence. In fact, at the time of the November 2015 hearing, Rucki was on probation for a road rage incident where he followed then brutally beat a fellow motorist, punching him the face and mouth with such force that the victim was knocked to his knees. After pounding the motorist with his fists, Rucki walked away as if nothing had happened and went into a grocery store to do some shopping.  Some of Rucki’s criminal records can be viewed here: http://theeprovocateur.blogspot.com/2016/05/david-ruckis-greatest-hits.html

Judge Michael Mayer, who presided over the EPC hearing, ignored the recommendations of the social worker, as well as the history of abuse. Judge Mayer also ignored the requests of the S.R. and G.R., who were represented by an attorney. Instead of getting the protection and care they so desperately needed, the sisters were shipped out of state to “reunification therapy” under the escort of a security guard. In “reunification therapy” S.R. and G.R. were forced to recant abuse allegations and made to accept being under the control of Rucki, as part of their “treatment”. Judge Mayer acknowledged that the S.R. and G.R. were “angry” with him and would not happy with his ruling. What Judge Mayer could not understand is that the sisters were not angry – they were in a desperate fight for their lives, and their future.

At every level, those who were responsible to ensure the well-being of the five Rucki children (police, court appointed reunification therapist, Guardian ad Litem, judges etc) not only failed to protect them but have created an environment that allows corruption, and judicial misconduct to thrive in Dakota County, setting a dangerous precedent should other courts follow this path of lawlessness.

 

TearsDakotaCounty

 

Note: The surveillance photos documenting the stalking, previous police reports and Rucki’s criminal history were suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug in the criminal trial of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, and not allowed to be submitted as evidence, or presented to the jury. Suppression of evidence made it impossible for Sandra to prove the affirmative defense she raised, and with no other choice, the jury found her guilty of 6 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights.

For more information on Sandra’s conviction, please read:  Sandra Grazzini-Rucki convicted of hiding daughters – The decision came after the judge disallowed the majority of defense evidence

 

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

horrendousfamilycourt2

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

Michael Volpe Reports: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Convicted After 75% of Defense Evidence Withheld

TearsDakotaCounty

Journalist Michael Volpe, Communities Digital News (CDN), recently wrote an article describing a short history of the Grazzini-Rucki case, offering new details about abuse allegations and other evidence that was withheld from the jury in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal trial.

Sandra raised the affirmative defense at trial, meaning she assisted her teenage daughters in running away because she feared for their safety. Volpe writes, “Approximately 75 percent of the evidence her defense planned to use was disallowed by Dakota County Judge Karen Asphaug.The jury was only presented with one side of the story, that of Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena, and was not allowed to review  evidence and supporting documentation or hear from crucial witnesses that would provide additional information on the events leading up to when the Rucki sisters ran away. This means the jury was not allowed to gain an understanding of the context in which Sandra made her decision.

Sandra will likely appeals with decision.

Read the full article here: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki convicted of hiding daughters

Please like, share, repost and comment on our article and Volpe’s,

your support and feedback is important!

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Kathryn Keena

Kathryn Keena

Backlash Against Backstrom in the Aftermath of Grazzini-Rucki Verdict

barbwireheart

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.