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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Conservative Law and Politics

Check me out here with Lee Dryer speaking about liberal non-profit foundations.



 The article on Z Smith Reynolds is here and the one on WK Kellogg is here.

Replay: The Long Version Talking About the Marcy Case

The article about Joseph Marcy was originally published on PPJ Gazette. It's reprinted below.

(Note, the name of the child was changed to the pseudonym, Ruby, because of her age)
A curious technicality is keeping a Pennsylvania man in jail, despite no longer having any evidence to support his rape conviction.
Joseph Marcy was convicted in 2012 of molesting his daughter Ruby, who was six and seven when the alleged incidents occurred and nine when she testified.
At the trial, the only evidence against him was Ruby’s testimony and a doctor who said bruising in her vaginal region was consistent with molestation.
Other medical experts have since concluded the bruising was consistent with numerous things, not just molestation, and Ruby has since recanted her testimony, testifying in an appeals hearing called a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) hearing, that she lied during her father’s trial.
“And did you want to come in today?” Ruby was asked by John Hakim, her father’s attorney, at this PCRA hearing.
“Yes,” she responded.
“And why is that?” Hakim asked.
“To tell the truth,” she responded.
“And what’s the truth?” Hakim asked again.
“That he did not do it,” Ruby said, recanting.
“The nature of the after-discovered evidence is recantation.” Judge Joseph Augello, senior judge in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, said in making the PCRA decision. “Therefore, it is not cumulative but rather contradictory given the fact that Ruby was the sole eyewitness to the crime. Defendant took that stand and claimed he did not commit the crime in question. A complete recantation by the victim raises the question of whether a crime was committed at all.”
Judge Augello, who heard the original trial and sentenced Marcy to 20-40 years in prison, overturned the decision on May 20, 2015.
But the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office appealed the decision, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed Judge Augello’s decision; the court did not rule on the substance of Judge Augello’s argument, or any arguments which were debated in the PCRA hearing or in the appeal.
Instead the court claimed that Marcy did not file his PCRA motion quickly enough after finding out that Ruby had recanted, an argument which inherently implies that every motion Judge Augello accepted and all hearings he held were done outside the guidelines.
“I’m glad you’re working on this,” said Hakim. “This one has bothered me (referring to Marcy’s case).”
CYS Inserts Itself into Joseph Marcy’s Life
The alleged molestation was not the first allegation Ruby made initially to Luzerne County Children and Youth Services (CYS).
In 2009, after her grandparents on her mother’s side noticed a bruise on Ruby’s butt, they called CYS.
In interviews with CYS social worker Holly Jones, Ruby disclosed that her father had been beating her.
But when this went to trial, in front of a juvenile court tribunal, Ruby was found to be without credibility because she was susceptible to coaching.
“After reviewing all of the evidence and testimony provided in this case, I find that the CYS did not present sufficient evidence to prove that the subject child was the victim of child physical abuse inflicted by Joe Marcy and witnessed by her mother. The sole evidence presented by CYS is the statement of the subject child. However, based upon the review of that testimony, I find that the testimony of Ruby was fabricated and not credible. Ruby is a six year old child and she stated that she was punished with a wooden paddle with holes in it had her name and the name of her siblngs written on it. That statement by Ruby exactly mirrors information that was told to her by her mother in the past.” The judge in that case concluded.
According to Marcy’s mother, Michelle, Ruby was staying with her when this decision was made because her son was not allowed to see his daughter while the investigation was ongoing.
CYS picked Ruby up days after the decision- to transport to see her father finally- and it was during this car ride when purportedly Ruby first disclosed, again to Jones, that her father had been molesting her.
Marcy said he’s since concluded that because his attorney- he received a public defender- did not introduce the evidence properly- the jury was not made fully aware of the outcome of the initial investigation of child abuse which concluded Ruby was susceptible to coaching.
For this and other reasons, Marcy also argued ineffective counsel.
A voicemail with the Luzerne County Public Defender’s office, which provided counsel, was left unreturned.
A voicemail left with Luzerne County CYS was also left unreturned.
The Investigation and Trial
Soon after, the Edwardsville, Pennsylvania Police Department investigated the allegations. Michael Leman headed up the investigation, a term Marcy takes issue with.
“They did no investigation,” he said.
“I was arrested in 2009, and charged with rape and related sex offenses,” Marcy said in a letter to this reporter on July 12, 2017. “The first time I spoke to the police I implored them to take my DNA and test it. Edwardsville Police informed me ‘they do not need my DNA, because they do not have any DNA to test it against.’ They have her statement and that is all they need.”
A voicemail left with Leman was left unreturned.
Marcy said that Ruby changed her story multiple times- at different times she claimed it was oral, anal, and in some cases her father acted alone and in other versions he was with a cousin.
The Edwardsville Police, Marcy said, made a half-hearted effort to find this cousin, going to his last known address, but when he wasn’t there, they made no further attempt to find him.
The star witnesses for the prosecution in the trial held in February 2011, were Ruby, Dr. Michael Rogan, and Jones.
Dr. Rogan testified as an expert that redness in her vaginal region was consistent with molestation.
As noted earlier, further experts have since pointed out that there were many explanations for this: “Review of the medical examination of Dr. Michael Rogan for the Children Advocacy Center describes vulvitis and perianal irritation which was described as ‘red.’ There I a distinction, however of the length of duration of the lesion. Acute vulvitis is usually red or erythematous with swelling, but chronic vulvitis is usually white, scaly, thickened with whitish patches. Acute general means less than 72 hours while chronic means more than 72 hours. What Dr. Rogan described as acute vulvitis. His conclusion was that the presentation is consistent with sexual abuse because of the alleged history. However this conclusion cannot be made reliably of the cause and effect of the acute vulvitis from the information presented and from the lack of elimination of their known causes of vulvitis in this age group.” Said Dr. Marguerit Salam-Host, in an analysis for the defense.
Marcy was convicted and sentenced to 20-40 years, a sentence that he believes was extra harsh because he refused to own up to his crime and proclaimed innocence during sentencing.
Aftermath:
Within minutes of the trial ending, the verdict began to unravel.
Here’s part of a letter from Michael Lamb to the prosecutors.
“My name is Michel Lamb. I was at the trial on its final day. I came with Mekel Marcy and Nicole Marcy to help Nicole because she is in a wheelchair. I am in no way related. I have never even met Mr. Marcy or his mother. I am writing this on my own free will.
“As we exited the building coming out onto Water Street, one of the jurors pulled up in their car and stopped in the middle of the road to say how sorry they were of the outcome of the trial and verdict. Saying what it came down to was the stroking motion of Ruby’s hand on the DVD. This person said there were a couple of the jurors holding onto a not guilty verdict. Also, that there was a ton of pressure to make a guilty verdict because of how long they were in there for. Also stating that that the Edwardsville Police Department was good for nothing. This juror was in tears, smoking a cigarette, saying that Mr. Marcy was innocent.
“It sounded to me like this person was being forced into the guilty verdict.”
While interesting, this affidavit amounted to hearsay evidence and nothing more came of any potential jury tampering.
Within a year of being convicted, Marcy began filing appeals.
In 2012, Marcy received a letter from an aunt, stating that Ruby had recanted.
“We heard a rumor that she (Ruby) had recanted,” Hakim said of this initial letter.
Hakim said that moving forward he followed a process meant to ensure that Ruby made an official recantation and without being pressured, a process which included hiring a private investigator and getting an attorney to advocate on Ruby’s behalf.
After learning of the letter, Marcy immediately filed a PCRA appeal based on this letter, which was dismissed without prejudice meaning it could be filed again.
Judge Augello dismissed the PCRA appeal because another appeal was still making its way through the court.
After the other appeal was denied, a PCRA was appeal was filed, and Marcy said it was amended several times as he learned more information of Ruby’s recantation.
After the private investigator, John Gabriele, completed his investigation, a final PCRA was submitted, leading to the hearing where Ruby testified to recanting, and finally, to Judge Augello ordering a new trial.
Marcy noted that at no point in the process did the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office claim that the PCRA was not filed in time.
Judge Augello held numerous hearings and heard numerous motions and other filings throughout the process, and at no point did anyone argue that any was filed outside of jurisdiction.
Indeed, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office, Marcy said, argued that the recantation was not credible and this is what they argued in the PCRA hearing, in briefs, and in the oral argument in front of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
John Hakim handled the appeal leading up to the PCRA hearing and the hearing itself; he said he’s handled between 10 and 1,000 PCRA appeals and that victory is rare but he’s never had one overturned afterwards.
He said recantations are also rare and no guarantee because the same judge who oversaw the trial oversees the PCRA hearing and that judge, Augello in this case, would need to decide about which testimony- the trial or the PCRA hearing- was more credible.
Though his conviction was overturned, Marcy remained in jail because the court refused to reduce his bond which was beyond his ability to pay.
Rather than taking the case to trial- where the county would no longer have a case- the county appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Though the issue of whether the PCRA was filed properly never came up during the appeals process, this is what the court fixated on when it made its decision: “After careful review, we conclude that the PCRA court improperly granted Appellee’s PCRA Petition because Appellee had knowledge of the victim’s recantation in 2012 and did not raise it until 2014.”
In making this decision, the court acted sua sponte- a Latin legal phrase- for a court acting on its volition rather than in response to an argument.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court said this case has been sealed and, as such, would not provide any further comment.
A voicemail left with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office was also left unreturned.
Is the Law on Marcy’s Side?
Because prosecutors never raised this issue, Marcy said he was never given a chance to defend himself and prove to the court that he did submit his PCRA in time.
Marcy cited three cases as precedent for his case.
Commonwealth Vs. Medina was included in Judge Augello’s decision in the PCRA hearing. In that case, the murder conviction against Jose Medina was overturned in 2011 after nearly two decades when a witness recanted.
“A Philadelphia judge has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murder nearly 19 years ago - a conviction based partly on the testimony of an 11-year-old boy who has since recanted.
“Common Pleas Court Judge Lisa M. Rau issued her order vacating the conviction of Jose Medina Jr. on Tuesday and published a scathing 217-page opinion in which she concludes that the police coerced false testimony from the boy.
"’The improper conduct that was committed in this case breeds contempt for our justice system and compromises our ability to rely on the verdict as being a just outcome,’ Rau wrote.”
In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Vincent Boyd, a murder conviction from 1983 was reversed in 2016 and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling which argued the PCRA petition was not submitted in time.
In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Jackie Loner, Marcy said the case was most like his. Loner was convicted in 1991 of molesting his daughter in 1989. He received PCRA relief after his daughter recanted.
In a fourth case, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Mosteller, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted this about rape convictions which rely solely on the testimony of the alleged victim: “whereas here the defendant's conviction is based completely on testimony of the child prosecutrix and the truth of that testimony is open to serious question because of the testimony of a disinterested medical witness, a subsequent recantation of testimony as supported by this record necessitates a new trial.”
Marcy said in 2012 when he first learned of the recantation all he had was a letter and it would have been irresponsible to appeal simply based on the letter which would be considered hearsay. Indeed, Marcy said, he believes he is being punished for thoroughly investigating Ruby’s recantation and only appealing after a thorough investigation concluded her recantation was legitimate.  
Marcy said the recantation was not confirmed until the investigation was completed in 2014, and his attorney was filing all appropriate filings throughout; at no time did the court or prosecutors argue that anything was filed improperly.
Matthew Kelly handled this portion of the appeal and he didn’t respond to a message at his office for comment.
Conclusion:
Marcy also reached out to Pennsylvania Governor’s Tom Wolf’s office for relief, but Wolf refused to intercede, saying it was still in the judicial process.
“Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding your current incarceration. Please know that it has been reviewed with the utmost attention, and rest assured that this matter is extremely important. You and your family must be going through a trying time and I want to express my sympathy. Regretfully, due to the legal nature of this matter, my office is unable to provide any assistance that you seek. As outlined in the Pennsylvania Constitution, I do not have the jurisdiction to intercede or investigate matters.” Governor Wolf said in a letter to Marcy on September 19, 2016.
But Governor Wolf has the power to pardon which is what Marcy was asking; a message left with Wolf’s public affairs office was left unreturned.
Marcy said his case now rests in the US Federal Court system, where he hopes an appeal’s court there will overturn the Superior Court decision and restore him to a new trial.
Luzerne County has a long history of corruption; it is where the so-called Kids for Cash scandal occurred and the less well-known custody for cash scandal.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

JAM In Your Face Talking about Grazzini-Rucki Case and Marcy Case



Here again is my article about Joseph Marcy, first published on PPJ Gazette.

(Note, the name of the child was changed to the pseudonym, Ruby, because of her age)
A curious technicality is keeping a Pennsylvania man in jail, despite no longer having any evidence to support his rape conviction.
Joseph Marcy was convicted in 2012 of molesting his daughter Ruby, who was six and seven when the alleged incidents occurred and nine when she testified.
At the trial, the only evidence against him was Ruby’s testimony and a doctor who said bruising in her vaginal region was consistent with molestation.
Other medical experts have since concluded the bruising was consistent with numerous things, not just molestation, and Ruby has since recanted her testimony, testifying in an appeals hearing called a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) hearing, that she lied during her father’s trial.
“And did you want to come in today?” Ruby was asked by John Hakim, her father’s attorney, at this PCRA hearing.
“Yes,” she responded.
“And why is that?” Hakim asked.
“To tell the truth,” she responded.
“And what’s the truth?” Hakim asked again.
“That he did not do it,” Ruby said, recanting.
“The nature of the after-discovered evidence is recantation.” Judge Joseph Augello, senior judge in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, said in making the PCRA decision. “Therefore, it is not cumulative but rather contradictory given the fact that Ruby was the sole eyewitness to the crime. Defendant took that stand and claimed he did not commit the crime in question. A complete recantation by the victim raises the question of whether a crime was committed at all.”
Judge Augello, who heard the original trial and sentenced Marcy to 20-40 years in prison, overturned the decision on May 20, 2015.
But the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office appealed the decision, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed Judge Augello’s decision; the court did not rule on the substance of Judge Augello’s argument, or any arguments which were debated in the PCRA hearing or in the appeal.
Instead the court claimed that Marcy did not file his PCRA motion quickly enough after finding out that Ruby had recanted, an argument which inherently implies that every motion Judge Augello accepted and all hearings he held were done outside the guidelines.
“I’m glad you’re working on this,” said Hakim. “This one has bothered me (referring to Marcy’s case).”
CYS Inserts Itself into Joseph Marcy’s Life
The alleged molestation was not the first allegation Ruby made initially to Luzerne County Children and Youth Services (CYS).
In 2009, after her grandparents on her mother’s side noticed a bruise on Ruby’s butt, they called CYS.
In interviews with CYS social worker Holly Jones, Ruby disclosed that her father had been beating her.
But when this went to trial, in front of a juvenile court tribunal, Ruby was found to be without credibility because she was susceptible to coaching.
“After reviewing all of the evidence and testimony provided in this case, I find that the CYS did not present sufficient evidence to prove that the subject child was the victim of child physical abuse inflicted by Joe Marcy and witnessed by her mother. The sole evidence presented by CYS is the statement of the subject child. However, based upon the review of that testimony, I find that the testimony of Ruby was fabricated and not credible. Ruby is a six year old child and she stated that she was punished with a wooden paddle with holes in it had her name and the name of her siblngs written on it. That statement by Ruby exactly mirrors information that was told to her by her mother in the past.” The judge in that case concluded.
According to Marcy’s mother, Michelle, Ruby was staying with her when this decision was made because her son was not allowed to see his daughter while the investigation was ongoing.
CYS picked Ruby up days after the decision- to transport to see her father finally- and it was during this car ride when purportedly Ruby first disclosed, again to Jones, that her father had been molesting her.
Marcy said he’s since concluded that because his attorney- he received a public defender- did not introduce the evidence properly- the jury was not made fully aware of the outcome of the initial investigation of child abuse which concluded Ruby was susceptible to coaching.
For this and other reasons, Marcy also argued ineffective counsel.
A voicemail with the Luzerne County Public Defender’s office, which provided counsel, was left unreturned.
A voicemail left with Luzerne County CYS was also left unreturned.
The Investigation and Trial
Soon after, the Edwardsville, Pennsylvania Police Department investigated the allegations. Michael Leman headed up the investigation, a term Marcy takes issue with.
“They did no investigation,” he said.
“I was arrested in 2009, and charged with rape and related sex offenses,” Marcy said in a letter to this reporter on July 12, 2017. “The first time I spoke to the police I implored them to take my DNA and test it. Edwardsville Police informed me ‘they do not need my DNA, because they do not have any DNA to test it against.’ They have her statement and that is all they need.”
A voicemail left with Leman was left unreturned.
Marcy said that Ruby changed her story multiple times- at different times she claimed it was oral, anal, and in some cases her father acted alone and in other versions he was with a cousin.
The Edwardsville Police, Marcy said, made a half-hearted effort to find this cousin, going to his last known address, but when he wasn’t there, they made no further attempt to find him.
The star witnesses for the prosecution in the trial held in February 2011, were Ruby, Dr. Michael Rogan, and Jones.
Dr. Rogan testified as an expert that redness in her vaginal region was consistent with molestation.
As noted earlier, further experts have since pointed out that there were many explanations for this: “Review of the medical examination of Dr. Michael Rogan for the Children Advocacy Center describes vulvitis and perianal irritation which was described as ‘red.’ There I a distinction, however of the length of duration of the lesion. Acute vulvitis is usually red or erythematous with swelling, but chronic vulvitis is usually white, scaly, thickened with whitish patches. Acute general means less than 72 hours while chronic means more than 72 hours. What Dr. Rogan described as acute vulvitis. His conclusion was that the presentation is consistent with sexual abuse because of the alleged history. However this conclusion cannot be made reliably of the cause and effect of the acute vulvitis from the information presented and from the lack of elimination of their known causes of vulvitis in this age group.” Said Dr. Marguerit Salam-Host, in an analysis for the defense.
Marcy was convicted and sentenced to 20-40 years, a sentence that he believes was extra harsh because he refused to own up to his crime and proclaimed innocence during sentencing.
Aftermath:
Within minutes of the trial ending, the verdict began to unravel.
Here’s part of a letter from Michael Lamb to the prosecutors.
“My name is Michel Lamb. I was at the trial on its final day. I came with Mekel Marcy and Nicole Marcy to help Nicole because she is in a wheelchair. I am in no way related. I have never even met Mr. Marcy or his mother. I am writing this on my own free will.
“As we exited the building coming out onto Water Street, one of the jurors pulled up in their car and stopped in the middle of the road to say how sorry they were of the outcome of the trial and verdict. Saying what it came down to was the stroking motion of Ruby’s hand on the DVD. This person said there were a couple of the jurors holding onto a not guilty verdict. Also, that there was a ton of pressure to make a guilty verdict because of how long they were in there for. Also stating that that the Edwardsville Police Department was good for nothing. This juror was in tears, smoking a cigarette, saying that Mr. Marcy was innocent.
“It sounded to me like this person was being forced into the guilty verdict.”
While interesting, this affidavit amounted to hearsay evidence and nothing more came of any potential jury tampering.
Within a year of being convicted, Marcy began filing appeals.
In 2012, Marcy received a letter from an aunt, stating that Ruby had recanted.
“We heard a rumor that she (Ruby) had recanted,” Hakim said of this initial letter.
Hakim said that moving forward he followed a process meant to ensure that Ruby made an official recantation and without being pressured, a process which included hiring a private investigator and getting an attorney to advocate on Ruby’s behalf.
After learning of the letter, Marcy immediately filed a PCRA appeal based on this letter, which was dismissed without prejudice meaning it could be filed again.
Judge Augello dismissed the PCRA appeal because another appeal was still making its way through the court.
After the other appeal was denied, a PCRA was appeal was filed, and Marcy said it was amended several times as he learned more information of Ruby’s recantation.
After the private investigator, John Gabriele, completed his investigation, a final PCRA was submitted, leading to the hearing where Ruby testified to recanting, and finally, to Judge Augello ordering a new trial.
Marcy noted that at no point in the process did the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office claim that the PCRA was not filed in time.
Judge Augello held numerous hearings and heard numerous motions and other filings throughout the process, and at no point did anyone argue that any was filed outside of jurisdiction.
Indeed, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office, Marcy said, argued that the recantation was not credible and this is what they argued in the PCRA hearing, in briefs, and in the oral argument in front of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
John Hakim handled the appeal leading up to the PCRA hearing and the hearing itself; he said he’s handled between 10 and 1,000 PCRA appeals and that victory is rare but he’s never had one overturned afterwards.
He said recantations are also rare and no guarantee because the same judge who oversaw the trial oversees the PCRA hearing and that judge, Augello in this case, would need to decide about which testimony- the trial or the PCRA hearing- was more credible.
Though his conviction was overturned, Marcy remained in jail because the court refused to reduce his bond which was beyond his ability to pay.
Rather than taking the case to trial- where the county would no longer have a case- the county appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Though the issue of whether the PCRA was filed properly never came up during the appeals process, this is what the court fixated on when it made its decision: “After careful review, we conclude that the PCRA court improperly granted Appellee’s PCRA Petition because Appellee had knowledge of the victim’s recantation in 2012 and did not raise it until 2014.”
In making this decision, the court acted sua sponte- a Latin legal phrase- for a court acting on its volition rather than in response to an argument.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court said this case has been sealed and, as such, would not provide any further comment.
A voicemail left with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office was also left unreturned.
Is the Law on Marcy’s Side?
Because prosecutors never raised this issue, Marcy said he was never given a chance to defend himself and prove to the court that he did submit his PCRA in time.
Marcy cited three cases as precedent for his case.
Commonwealth Vs. Medina was included in Judge Augello’s decision in the PCRA hearing. In that case, the murder conviction against Jose Medina was overturned in 2011 after nearly two decades when a witness recanted.
“A Philadelphia judge has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murder nearly 19 years ago - a conviction based partly on the testimony of an 11-year-old boy who has since recanted.
“Common Pleas Court Judge Lisa M. Rau issued her order vacating the conviction of Jose Medina Jr. on Tuesday and published a scathing 217-page opinion in which she concludes that the police coerced false testimony from the boy.
"’The improper conduct that was committed in this case breeds contempt for our justice system and compromises our ability to rely on the verdict as being a just outcome,’ Rau wrote.”
In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Vincent Boyd, a murder conviction from 1983 was reversed in 2016 and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling which argued the PCRA petition was not submitted in time.
In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Jackie Loner, Marcy said the case was most like his. Loner was convicted in 1991 of molesting his daughter in 1989. He received PCRA relief after his daughter recanted.
In a fourth case, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vs. Mosteller, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted this about rape convictions which rely solely on the testimony of the alleged victim: “whereas here the defendant's conviction is based completely on testimony of the child prosecutrix and the truth of that testimony is open to serious question because of the testimony of a disinterested medical witness, a subsequent recantation of testimony as supported by this record necessitates a new trial.”
Marcy said in 2012 when he first learned of the recantation all he had was a letter and it would have been irresponsible to appeal simply based on the letter which would be considered hearsay. Indeed, Marcy said, he believes he is being punished for thoroughly investigating Ruby’s recantation and only appealing after a thorough investigation concluded her recantation was legitimate.  
Marcy said the recantation was not confirmed until the investigation was completed in 2014, and his attorney was filing all appropriate filings throughout; at no time did the court or prosecutors argue that anything was filed improperly.
Matthew Kelly handled this portion of the appeal and he didn’t respond to a message at his office for comment.
Conclusion:
Marcy also reached out to Pennsylvania Governor’s Tom Wolf’s office for relief, but Wolf refused to intercede, saying it was still in the judicial process.
“Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding your current incarceration. Please know that it has been reviewed with the utmost attention, and rest assured that this matter is extremely important. You and your family must be going through a trying time and I want to express my sympathy. Regretfully, due to the legal nature of this matter, my office is unable to provide any assistance that you seek. As outlined in the Pennsylvania Constitution, I do not have the jurisdiction to intercede or investigate matters.” Governor Wolf said in a letter to Marcy on September 19, 2016.
But Governor Wolf has the power to pardon which is what Marcy was asking; a message left with Wolf’s public affairs office was left unreturned.
Marcy said his case now rests in the US Federal Court system, where he hopes an appeal’s court there will overturn the Superior Court decision and restore him to a new trial.
Luzerne County has a long history of corruption; it is where the so-called Kids for Cash scandal occurred and the less well-known custody for cash scandal.

...

More information on the Grazzini-Rucki case:

1) The definitive dossier documenting David Rucki's violence: 99 pages of police reports, orders for protection, letters, affidavits, and more...

2) The propaganda of 20/20

3) The court created horror of the five Rucki children

4) Dakota County disallows nearly all Sandra Grazzini-Rucki's evidence and only then is she convicted

5) Dakota County slaps destitute Sandra Grazzini-Rucki with $975 per month in child support, $14,000 plus bill

6) Missing in Minnesota: Michael Brodkorb's blog

7) Find the book, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial here.

In this article, John Hentges describes the systemic court corruption in Minnesota

On With Jay DeNofrio, Altoona VA Medical Center whistle-blower, and Lee Dryer on WLAC in Nashville

Monday, October 16, 2017

Janice Wolk Grenadier Talks About Virginia Court Corruption



Ms. Grenadier is describing judicial corruption in the same area as where my book Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce occurred.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Letter in Support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

This is a letter which has been circulating in support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. It is reposted from Justice for Grazzini-Rucki Children

...

Subject: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Family Court, Child Support, Criminal and Appellate Cases
Date:
Dear
I am writing to express my deep concerns with the ongoing Grazzini-Rucki case, which has exposed significant violations of state law, violations of Constitutional rights against Sandra, who has been so extremely targeted that she is now destitute and homeless. The rampant corruption in this case is mind-blowing but must not be ignored. 
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…” As a citizen I feel this threat of injustice, and demand an explanation as to how the vindictive, vicious actions against Sandra can be justified in the name of laws that have been broken against her back? How can those entrusted to protect the welfare of children, justify actions that have directly placed the lives of the five Rucki children in danger and allowed David Rucki, the identified perpetrator of abuse to not only gain sole custody but worker to also ban a fit, loving mother from having any contact with her children… for the rest of their lives. The system continues to protect the very judges and officials who break the laws, and break families! I now this is true because there is absolutely no accountability in the Grazzini-Rucki case.. even as these court orders, and rulings, defy all logic and serve only to perpetuate injustice.
Background Grazzini-Rucki Case
For your reference, here is a brief background – the Grazzini-Rucki case began in Dakota County in 2011 when Sandra, a victim of domestic violence, sought a divorce from David Rucki, a wealthy and well connected abuser. Rucki’s lengthy criminal record, in addition to numerous protective orders filed against him, and the documentation of abuse against Sandra and her five children clearly show Rucki’s propensity to violence, and the rage he inflicted upon his family (see some of the documentation: druckipolicereports)
Sandra encountered a nightmare in family court, under the jurisdiction of Judge David L. Knutson, that resulted in her being forcibly removed from her home by police escort on September 7th, 2012, never to return. She lost her five children and all property, possessions, and tragically, her guaranteed freedoms as an American citizen. As a result of proceedings, Sandra was court ordered into a “lifetime of servitude,” stripped of her children, her home, her employment, and her freedom—always plagued by the control of her abuser who has promised to“see her dead.”
Judge Knutson has never been held accountable for his reprehensible actions against Sandra, the Rucki children and her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald, that have enabled the abuse to continue and punished Sandra for efforts to protect her children from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Judge Knutson now sits on the Board of Judicial Standards, securing a seat on the organization responsible for investigating and taking action against corrupt judges like himself. Justice has been effectively denied.
Judge Knutson has recently retaliated against attorney Michelle MacDonald and sought sanctions against her, and removal of her law license, falsely accusing MacDonald of failure to properly represent her client, Sandra.. when in truth, the actions of Judge Knutson alone are responsible for the great harm done to her. During the Grazzini-Rucki custody trial, Judge Knutson instructed Sandra to leave the courtroom in the midst of  trial and then ordered Mrs. MacDonald to proceed without her client, and while handcuffed and strapped to a wheelchair. By Judge Knutson’s order, Mrs. MacDonald was held in jail for over 24 hours without ever being charged, where she was subject to abusive and humiliating treatment from Judge Knutson’s bailiffs. (One of these bailiffs was later subject to a PREA complaint from Sandra after harassing her, and taking inappropriate photos of her when she was in the emergency room, handcuffed to a hospital bed, after suffering from a fractured skull that resulted from an unexplained incident in jail).
Source: Lion News
Judge Knutson is also responsible for ignoring abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children, and using court facilities to forcefully compel the frightened children to visit their father despite tears, and pleas for help. One of the children testified that she was even called a liar after speaking out about the abuse. In order to prevent escape, Judge Knutson ordered his bailiff to guard the door so the children had no way out… under these circumstances the Rucki children were terrorized by the very court that should have worked to protect them.
The Grazzini-Rucki case reached a crisis on April 19, 2013, when Sandra’s two teen daughters ran away after the court refused to protect them from abuse. The daughters lived on a therapeutic horse ranch for 2 1/2 years, in safety. They were discovered in November 2015 and despite raising abuse allegations, the daughters were given back into the care of their abusive father, David Rucki. Rucki was on probation for a violent offense when the girls were placed back into his care.
Legal action has been brought upon Sandra for aiding in their escape with resulting felony convictions for “parental deprivation,”. Under Minnesota law, if a person has reasonable belief that a child is in danger of physical or sexual assault, or substantial emotional harm, it is not a crime to take action an effort to protect a child.Yet Judge Karen Asphaug suppressed at least 80% of the information vital to her defense in a heavy-handed abuse of judicial power that worked to manipulate the jury into finding Sandra guilty. The conditions surrounding Sandra’s trial and sentencing meet the standard for cruel and unusual punishment.
Judge Karen J Asphaug
Sandra now lives in hiding, afraid for her safety due to the actions of a dangerous abuser bent on destroying her, and due to an out of control court system enabling him.
Sandra has also been involved in child support proceedings and despite being homeless and unemployed, has been ordered to pay Rucki – a millionaire who owns 4 homes and 9 cars – $975 per month in child support. Failure to pay this massive sum may result in Sandra being jailed. Rucki is also receiving public welfare and Dakota County has allowed him to receive assistance while admitting they exempted Rucki from the normal financial verifications all recipients are required to provide.
Under these unjust circumstances, I strongly denounce the attack upon Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s rights, and humanity, and the laws being broken to perpetrate these many abuses against her.
PLEASE RESPOND – Questions Regarding Handling of Grazzini-Rucki Case
I am asking for an explanation as to how such injustice can be excused, even when complaint and lawsuit are filed against Judge Knutson, the Guardian ad Litem, and other court officers (and quickly dismissed).
Just a few of my questions regarding this outrageous case of legal and judicial abuse:
How can you condone the continued abuse of the Rucki children perpetrated by not only their father, David Rucki, but also by the legal system? How do you respond when the system fails to protect its most vulnerable? Judge Knutson has set precedence in Dakota County that when children come forward with abuse allegations that it is acceptable, and even encouraged, to ignore and ridicule the victim.
In the face of serious allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the Rucki children were forcibly “deprogrammed” and placed into experimental “reunification therapy” to force a relationship with the abusive father whom they feared. How is this in their “best interest”??
Where is the checks and balances in the judiciary? Why are so many judges allowed to hide behind immunity even in the face of clear evidence of wrongdoing? One example of many from the Grazzini-Rucki case… Judge Michael Mayer ignored the recommendations of a social worker who stated she believed the runaway Rucki sisters had been abused, and for their own protection requested they be placed in foster care with only supervised visits granted to Rucki. The teen girls were also represented by an attorney who begged to keep them in foster care for their own safety. Judge Mayer boldy stated that he knew the girls would not be happy with his decision when ordering them back into the custody of Rucki. The girls were then taken from the courtroom, under guard, and escorted onto an airplane for “reunification therapy” in a remote area of California, chosen because if the girls ran again they would have no place to go. The Rucki children have “reunited” with David Rucki but only under threats, intimidation and creation of Stockholm Syndrome. Is this the stance Minnesota supports on child abuse?
How is it permissible that Sandra, a homeless, unemployed woman with 6 felonies on her record, all facts in the record, be ordered to pay $975 per month to millionaire ex-husband, David Rucki, who is not required to provide any proof of his income when applying for and receiving welfare benefits?
How can you justify the millions of dollars spent on the Grazzini-Rucki case that has only created more chaos, and harm for Sandra and the children?
How can you justify the continued pursuit of Sandra through multiple legal actions, and the threat of jail hanging over her head, which is costing the tax payers not only huge sums of money but consuming massive amounts of resources and manpower? Sandra has no prior criminal record and is not a threat to anyone.. and yet she is being treated worse than serious offenders, even violent offenders, who have gone unpunished in comparison.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter. Sincerely and in full support of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki,
Name:
CC:
Brian4Justice@yahoo.com
CC:
Elizabeth Vargas-20/20 host elizabeth.a.vargas@abc.com
Sean Dooley- producer 20/20 sean.dooley@abc.com
Beth Mullen- 20.20 producer beth.a.mullen@abc.com
Beau Berentson, public affairs officer for the Minnesota Courts – beau.berentson@courts.state.mn.us
James Backstrom, Dakota County Prosecutor – attorney@co.dakota.mn.us,
Monica Jenson, public affairs officer for the Dakota County Prosecutor – monica.jensen@co.dakota.mn.us
Marybeth Schubert, public affair officer for Dakota County – marybeth.schubert@co.dakota.mn.us
Attorney General for Minnesota – attorney.general@ag.state.mn.us
Dave Oney, public affairs officer for the US Marshals Minnesota Court of Appeals (651) 296-2581 – dave.oney@usdoj.gov

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