Date Archives October 2016

Dede Evavold threatens Dakota County public officials from jail

Dede Evavold, who was convicted last month on six counts of depravation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of two sisters from Lakeville, sent a letter to court staff from jail this month which containing numerous threats targeted at public officials in Dakota County.

Evavold is currently being held at the Ramsey County Workhouse in St Paul, where she will remain in custody without bail until her sentencing hearing on November 10, 2016.

She was charged last December related to her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki who ran from their home on April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents.

Evavold is a close friend and confidant of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, the mother of Samantha and Gianna, who she met during Grazzini-Rucki’s divorce with David Rucki.

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Judge orders hearing on campaign complaint against MacDonald

The Office of Administrative Hearings has ordered a hearing be held next week on the complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, which alleges she violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The complaint against MacDonald was filed earlier this week by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, who claim MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

In an order issued earlier today, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig said the complaint filed against MacDonald “alleges sufficient facts” to “support finding a prima facie violation”:

The Administrative Law Judge concludes that the complaint alleges sufficient facts regarding Respondent’s claimed endorsements to support finding a prima facie violation of Minn. Stat. § 211B.02.

Judge Palmer-Denig ordered a probable cause hearing to be held next Tuesday. According to the order from court:

At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will either: (1) dismiss the complaint based on a determination that the complaint is frivolous, or that there is no probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred; or (2) determine that there is probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred and refer the case to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the scheduling of an evidentiary hearing. Evidentiary hearings are conducted pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 211B.35 (2016).

The complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws.

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Campaign complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald

A complaint has been filed against Michelle MacDonald, alleging she violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The complaint filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, alleges MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

MacDonald also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

Complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Grazzini-Rucki released from jail, Rucki family concerned for their safety

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was released from jail early this morning, finishing the first portion of her jail sentence which will continue over the next six years. But just hours after being released from jail today, Grazzini-Rucki wasted no time to start engaging in bizarre and threatening behavior.

As I left the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul this morning around 8:15 AM, I was shocked to find Grazzini-Rucki standing by my car, taking notes.  I got into my car to leave, but Grazzini-Rucki then walked around to the back of my car and continued to take more notes. I stepped out of my car, as Grazzini-Rucki was blocking my car and asked her, “can I help you with something?” Grazzini-Rucki said no and she walked back to a waiting vehicle.

Confusion over Grazzini-Rucki’s release from jail

The tentative release date for Grazzini-Rucki’s release from jail was today, but the Victim Information Notification Everyday (VINE) system failed to send an alert that Grazzini-Rucki had been released. The online inmate search for Dakota County incorrectly listed Grazzini-Rucki as an inmate this morning even hours after she had been released from jail.

This is why I was so shocked to see Grazzini-Rucki standing by my car this morning, as I had not received a VINE alert announced Grazzini-Rucki had been released, and Dakota County still listed Grazzini-Rucki as an inmate on their website.

The VINE alert announcing that Grazzini-Rucki had been released from jail was not sent out until 10:57AM, 4 hours after Grazzini-Rucki left jail.  The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that a “glitch” delayed the public notification of her release from jail.

Rucki family concerned for their safety

In July, Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty on six counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their parents.

The girls’ father, David Rucki, was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing.

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Disciplinary hearing against MacDonald scheduled for November

A hearing will be held in November involving the attorney complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, who is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

A 16-page petition for disciplinary action for violating of rules governing attorney conduct was filed against MacDonald by the Director of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Susan M. Humiston

The complaint against MacDonald is focused on her behavior during family court proceedings involving Grazzini-Rucki and her legal representation of Joseph Francis D’Costa. The complaint alleges MacDonald disorganization required the trial to last longer than necessary, adding that MacDonald offered exhibits that “were a mess.”

MacDonald’s attorney told Minnesota Lawyer in August that she will fight the complaint.

On her campaign website, MacDonald encourages people to attend her disciplinary hearing, but promotes the wrong date of the hearing. MacDonald’s website states “the hearing is on Wednesday, November 16. All are welcomed to attend.”

The hearing is actually scheduled for November 15, 2016 at 9:00 A.M., at the Minnesota Judicial Center, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board Courtroom.

According to the scheduling order, the disciplinary hearing is expected to last two days. A final determination on any disciplinary action against MacDonald will be announced in January.

The disciplinary hearing against MacDonald will be held one week after voters will decided if MacDonald should be elected to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. MacDonald is running against Justice Natalie Hudson.

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

This year, MacDonald was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to file another harassment restraining order

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki intends on filing another fraudulent harassment restraining order against me when she is released from jail within the next two weeks, according to statements made by her attorney Michelle MacDonald to members of the media, and based on information communicated by MacDonald to my attorneys.

Last month, a Dakota County Deputy Sheriff served me with a harassment restraining order that was granted by Judge John McBride in Washington County at the request of Grazzini-Rucki.

Judge McBride later vacated and dismissed the same harassment restraining order.

The order was dismissed for procedural reasons; Grazzini-Rucki used the Stillwater office address of MacDonald to claim she was a resident of Washington County. Judge McBride agreed with the arguments made by my attorneys, Nathan Hansen and Ryan Griffin, that Grazzini-Rucki failed to file her request for a harassment restraining order in the proper county and therefore, Judge McBride vacated and dismissed the order.

Because the harassment restraining order was dismissed for procedural reason, Grazzini-Rucki has the option of filing the same fraudulent request for a harassment restraining order in another county in Minnesota when she is released from jail, which she intends to do.

While I am happy the harassment restraining order was vacated and dismissed, the court did not examine the allegations made by Grazzini-Rucki in her original request for the harassment order.

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MN Supreme Court candidate ‘debate’ canceled; Was it ever really scheduled?

Michelle MacDonald won’t be participating in a debate against incumbent Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson, as the organizers of the debate quietly announced the event was canceled in tweet on Sunday morning.

MacDonald, who serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney, claimed last week that she would be appearing against Hudson “head to head in a televised debate” hosting by the Minnesota Voters Alliance this Wednesday evening.

Less than an hour after MacDonald announced she would be debating Hudson, a representative of the Minnesota Voters Alliance said Hudson had not yet been invited to participate in the debate.

Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance said MacDonald’s email was not accurate as Hudson would be formally invited to participate in the debate the following day.

But on Sunday, Cilek announced in an early morning tweet that the debate was “canceled due to scheduling conflicts. It will not be re-scheduled.”

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Sandra Grazzini-Rucki loses another attorney

Stephen Grigsby, who served as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney during her criminal trial for deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters, has been granted his request to be released from representing Grazzini-Rucki.

Judge Karen Asphaug granted Grigsby’s request to stop serving as Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney at a hearing earlier this week.

Grigsby (pictured above left) was Grazzini-Rucki’s second criminal defense attorney after she was charged with deprivation of parental rights involving her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their parents.

Michelle MacDonald, (pictured above right) who serves as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney was replaced as Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal defense attorney by Grigsby on November 18, 2015 – the same day the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.

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Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney issues blunt warning: She has ‘no intentions to comply with probation’

In a blunt warning, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal defense attorney said his client has “no intentions to comply with probation,” after her request was denied by a judge yesterday which would have allowed Grazzini-Rucki to serve more time in jail instead of probation for her role in the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

In July, Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty on six counts of deprivation of parental rights. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their parents.

Stephen Grigsby, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki's criminal defense attorney
Stephen Grigsby, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal defense attorney

Stephen Grigsby, Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal defense was quoted by the Star Tribune yesterday saying that “[Grazzini-Rucki] has no intentions to comply with probation.”

Judge Karen Asphaug denied a request by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to serve her full sentence in prison, which would have allowed Grazzini-Rucki to avoid being on probation for the next six years. Grazzini-Rucki made the request to execute her sentence within hours of her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016. Continue reading

Court denies Grazzini-Rucki’s request to execute sentence

Judge Karen Asphaug has denied a request by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to serve her full sentence in prison, which would have allowed Grazzini-Rucki to avoid being on probation for the next six years. Grazzini-Rucki made the request to execute her sentence within hours of her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016.

In July, Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty on six counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their parents.

Grazzini-Rucki will now remain in jail at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility in St. Paul until October 24, 2016.

Starting in 2017, Grazzini-Rucki will serve 15 days in jail on November 18 for the next six years – the anniversary of the day her daughters were found, for her involvement in the disappearance of her two daughters for over two years. Grazzini-Rucki must also serve 12 days of Sentencing of Service for the next six years.

Grazzini-Rucki will also pay $10,000 to the Minnesota Crime Victim’s Reparations Board. She must also pay two fines of $944, which represents the 944 days her daughters were missing.
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