Backstrom Backlash

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.

Jury Deliberations

Dakota Co. Courthouse

The jury started deliberations in the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case at 1:00 pm today. No verdict reached. Will resume deliberations on Thursday, July 28th at 9:00 am.

At the beginning of this trial, a sign was posted on the courtroom door that stated:

In order to ensure a fair trial, the Court hereby issues the following ORDER:

1. All electronics devices must be powered off, or subject to confiscation for the length of the trial.
2. No audio or video recording of any form.
3. No person may wear clothing or accessories that are designed to influence the jury.
4. Any person who diisplays facial expressions or utters verbal outbursts that may influence the jury or witnesses will be removed from the courtroom.
5. Any person who violates this order will be removed from the courtroom and may be found in contempt of court and subject to the penalties therefor.
Signed by Judge Aspaugh

Okay, let’s recap some of the fairness that Dakota County has demonstrated in 19HA-CR-15-2669 State of Minnesota vs Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

  • Illegal withholding of evidence.
  • Wrongful arrest and imprisonment by US Marshals based on fabricated charges by Lakeville PD.  Charges: Assaultive  Felony – Fugitive- Kidnap Minor

Osceola County Uniform Charging AffidavitRisk Asssessment

  • Unfair chance to present a defense: All criminal charges against David Rucki were ruled inadmissable by Judge Karen Aspaugh at the beginning of the trial. David Rucki-Judge Knutson-Criminal Defense Matters. Today, Dakota County Assistant Attorney Kathryn Keena objected 4 times throughout the closing arguments of the defense. When questioned regarding reason, she stated “never mind.” Numerous other disruptive behaviors noted during the closing arguments: Keena ripping paper, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom shifting loudly in his seat (why is he even there?) and David Rucki leaving and returning to the courtroom. Sounds to me like they’re a little nervous,  so maybe the jury isn’t rigged after all?!
  • Collusion – where two persons enter into a deceitful agreement,usually secret, to defraud and/or gain an unfair advantage over a third party. David Rucki, Dakota Co. and media haven’t even pretended to maintain a discreet appearance in front of the public.

4bebc-brodkorb_rucki_love_elliot_donehower_19av-fa-11-1273_012616

It should also be noted that David Rucki was shaking hands with Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom in the court hallway today.  

  • Charge Stacking: The practice of charge stacking is a simple and terribly effective method for prosecutors looking to win cases. The technique entails finding as many possible criminal counts to “stack” against the defendant in order to strengthen the core case of the prosecution.This strategy is made wide open to prosecutors, because the main deterrent against stacking charges is the law of double jeopardy. Charge Stacking: Gambling with People’s Lives

UPDATE: Attached is the four-page amended criminal complaint against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cods3kKUsAI86TB.jpg

It’s always been the State’s position that the girls didn’t run away.” Kathryn Keena Assistant Dakota County Attorney (Stated at the May 12th Contested Omnibus Hearing ~ State of MN vs. Doug and Gina Dahlen). 

Don’t change that dial. We’ll have more tomorrow!

Minnesota Exposed: “Tough on Crime” but Silent on Abuse (Grazzini-Rucki Case Update)

I’m the toughest on crime that ever lived, I make Elliott Ness look like nothing.  I think for some reason the authoritiehave dropped the ball on this case.” – per Ron Rosenbaum (Holding Court Podcast Thu, 22 October 2015) claims he is paraphrasing James Backstrom.

County Attorney James C. Backstrom

The Lakeville police have mishandled the investigation of the missing Rucki sisters – worked to cover up child abuse, and tainted the investigation with bias and misinformation. Innocent children are being punished for the actions of an abuser, and those who are charged with protecting them have failed to keep them safe.

 Ongoing Child Abuse Cover Up 

From the beginning, the Lakeville Police have failed to protect those victimized by David Rucki – Sandra and the children, the neighbors, and the public. Had the Lakeville Police properly intervened, the escalating behavior could have been prevented, and the children could have been spared the abuse they have suffered (and continue to suffer.)

 

Miles

Laura Miles GAL Coordinator

The Lakeville police are aware of multiple abuse allegations concerning the Rucki sisters made before their disappearance. NONE of these allegations were ever investigated by the police. The sisters had also attempted to run away in Sept. 2012, again because they did not feel safe.

The Rucki sisters also reported  abuse to numerous professionals, doctors, therapists, friends – and each time the family court professionals, under the jurisdiction of Judge Knutson, ignored or dismissed their cries for help. Even after being “recovered”, the Rucki sisters again stated to anyone who would listen, that they were afraid of their father, David Rucki, that he had abused them, and that they would run away if returned to his care. Instead of listening to their cries for help, the police and court system have chosen to listen to the abuser.

Judge David Knutson

Judge David Knutson

 

Dr. Paul Reitman, Clinical Psychologist

JFX

Julie Friedrich, GAL

 Rogue Drone – Detective Jim Dronnen Erases Report of OFP Violation

Image from sunthisweek.com

Image from sunthisweek.com

Det. Jim Dronen should have never been assigned to this case because of his past involvement with David Rucki.

In 2011, Det. Dronnen handled a case where Rucki was charged with an OFP violation. Dronnen had the charge not only dismissed but wiped completely off MNCIS.

Lakeville Appoints Det. Dronen to “Most Bizarre” Case

Det. Jim Dronnen began working on the case in 2014, and bragged that “the Rucki case was virtually the only one he worked on”. How is this possible? What about the violent crimes, unsolved cases and other threats to public safety? How can the Lakeville police direct one investigator to this case – and yet also fail to issue an Amber Alert or fail to do a local search for the missing sisters?

The Lakeville police also failed to contact Trish Van Pilsum, who interviewed the the girls for a story after they had run away. There was a crucial period of time to gather information that was totally ignored. Yet, at a later date, the Lakeville police had multiple conversations with Brandon Stahl and Michael Brodkorb of the Star Tribune…after the girls were missing for almost 2 years! What is the difference? The Star Tribune had aligned with the Lakeville police in covering up abuse, while Van Pilsum was exposing it.

The Lakeville police had mishandled previous reports of abuse made in connection to David Rucki, and needed to keep the allegations silent to avoid responsibility for their role in the escalating conflicts. In order for this cover-up to be successful, one party must be targeted a scapegoat. 

Just A “Very Sad Case…(of a) Nasty Divorce” or a High Profile Case for Lakeville?

Instead of correctly naming, and investigating the abuse, the Lakeville police have begun a disinfo campaign to say this case is really just a “high conflict” divorce issue.

Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long says this case “is one of the most ‘bizarre’ cases he has seen throughout his 29-year career..” Keep in mind that Chief Long has investigated murder, rape and other serious crimes.. and yet we are to believe this is “the most bizarre”? 

The Lakeville police ignored the history of abuse, ignored documentation of abuse , and ignored the reason the Rucki sisters ran away. They stated they did not want to live in the care of paternal aunt Tammy Love, which is in itself may be an indicator of abuse. 

If the sisters did not run away due to abuse, what led up to this? According to Detective Dronnen,of the Lakeville Police Dept. “This is a very sad case that just shows how nasty divorce can be…When you have people that are just working so hard to win, it can just make things really, really nasty and there’s really no winners.” 

The police listened with a sympathetic ear to David complain about suing Sandra for the money in her family trust. What does that have to do with the missing Rucki sisters?

4bebc-brodkorb_rucki_love_elliot_donehower_19av-fa-11-1273_012616

 

 

 

Millionaire David Rucki then used money from the Wetterling Foundation to pay for all expenses for the Rucki sisters to be shipped, with a retired security officer so they would not run away again, on a plane to California for “intense therapy lasting 6-8 hours a day” to “de-program” the girls in a treatment facility, transcripts state, which was used by the Feds on numerous occasions.

David confided to an officer that “the MN Attorney General’s Office was conducting an investigation which involved the two missing girls in this case.”  According to David Rucki, the Attorney General’s Office is now involved in a missing persons case? 

The Lakeville police also utilized the resources of the BCA to collect DNA samples on the sisters as well as dental records. 

Why all of this effort? I would argue that Lakeville’s interest in this case was not so much in finding the Rucki sisters, but had to do more with this being a high-profile case that would increase the prestige of the police department. 

 A Pat on the Back for the Good ‘Ole Boys

IN 2015, Det. Dronnen was named officer of the year. And Det. Dronnen recently received a Medal of Commendation related to his work on the Rucki case (May 2016) . Mayor Matt Little personally praised him, saying, “If you continue to receive all that pressure, we’ve got your back and we’ll support you for the whole way.” Det. Dronnen is given one of the highest awards for law enforcement service, usually reserved for those who risk their lives in the line of duty, for one case that was supplemented with help from the Star Tribune?

If this is not a Red Herring Alert, I don’t know what one is! Stay tuned for updates on the Grazzini-Rucki case… 

Additional Sources:

Charges Filed Following Discovery of Missing Rucki Sisters

The Provocateur: David Rucki’s Greatest Hits (Michael Volpe)

Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse? (Michael Volpe)

(2011) Judge Knutson Orders Reunification Therapy with David Rucki and Children, while HRO in place

Lakeville detective receives medal of commendation

RĒ TALLY Ā SHEE ŌNN? (Det Dronnen)

Dakota County Discredited Again!

April 13, 2016 | UPDATED: 4 days ago

A former defense attorney jailed for weeks on the subsequently dropped charge that he set his girlfriend on fire — resulting in international news coverage, including a Taiwanese cartoon casting him as a maniac — has filed a federal lawsuit against the law enforcement agencies involved.

David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff's Office)
David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

The suit, filed in federal court in St. Paul last week on behalf of David J. Gherity, 62, and his then-girlfriend Joan Isabella, accuses Burnsville police and Dakota County Attorney’s Office of violating Gherity’s constitutional rights.

It also names two investigators who worked for the department during the 2014 case, along with chief Eric Gieseke and the Hennepin County Medical Center, where Isabella received treatment after the fire.

The suit alleges unlawful arrest and confinement and violation of the “protected liberty interest in his (Gherity’s) good name.” It further alleges the agencies hid evidence, manipulated witness statements and kept Gherity in jail knowing he was innocent.

Joseph E. Flynn, an attorney representing the city of Burnsville, responded, “We find the claims to be completely unfounded, and we will be addressing the specific claims with the actual facts in court.”

Flynn added that Gherity’s arrest was based on “compelling statements of the victim, forensic evaluation and interviews of numerous witnesses. The investigation was thorough, complete and timely, and we had probable cause to proceed with the arrest.”

The Dakota County attorney’s office declined comment.

In February 2014, firefighters were called to the Burnsville condominium where Gherity and Isabella lived, and found Isabella sitting at a table with burns on her head and face, neck and legs.

Gherity, 62, was charged in April 2014 in Dakota County District Court with first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree arson. He was arrested and held in jail from April 2 until May 30 of that year, according to the suit; charges against him were dropped on June 13.

Read More:http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/13/former-defense-attorney-sues-burnsville-police-dakota-county/