The $15,000 bail was posted yesterday. Next court date: Thursday, May 12th.
Given the mainstream media blackout of the family court crisis, it’s encouraging to read the following article. I’m still looking forward to the day when the mainstream media finally begins to investigate and report the family court crisis in the same way the Catholic Church scandal was investigated and reported.
There were not 58,000 victims of the Catholic Church scandal. In the family court crisis, that’s the estimated number of victims each year.
May 5, 2011
BY FORREST ADAMS
Daughter Says She’s Prepared to Swap Jail Cell With Mother
Despite a plea to reconsider, First District Court Judge Kevin Eide on Monday morning denied a request to lower a woman’s bail.
In doing so, he had the support of the Carver County Attorney’s Office but left the woman’s daughter in tears.
Caroline Marie Rice, 46, has been held in Carver County Jail since April 4. The Carver County Attorney’s Office has charged her with committing a felony in 2010 of depriving custody/parental rights and causing a child to be a runaway, and the city of Chanhassen has charged her with violating orders for protection in 2009.
The felony offense carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, a $4,000 fine, or both. The misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The county alleges that on Oct. 31, 2010, Caroline, who divorced her husband in Hennepin County in 2004, encouraged their 13-year-old daughter, identified in court documents as “A.C.R.,” to run from Chanhassen to live with her in Michigan.
Carver County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a missing/runaway complaint on Oct. 31. For the next two weeks, law enforcement agencies coordinated their efforts to return the child to Chanhassen. It was “a coordinated investigation with the FBI, the United States Diplomatic Security Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Carver County Sheriff’s Office,” according to court documents. The court document further states A.C.R. “wanted to run away from Minnesota to be with her mother.”
According to the official county complaint, A.C.R. met up with a woman in Excelsior who drove her for two days to Michigan and eventually met up with her mother inside Canada. In November 2010, Caroline and two daughters were apprehended when they crossed the border back into the United States.
The city alleges Rice violated an order for protection that prevented her from contacting her children. The order for protection (OFP) was requested by Caroline’s estranged ex-husband as a means of limiting her interactions with their children, who live with him in Chanhassen. The city alleges that each time Rice violated the OFP, she was ordered to appear in court but failed to show up.
“She appears to be a habitual offender, which is troubling to this office,” said Alina Schwartz, the city’s assistant prosecuting attorney.
Bail for Caroline Rice is set at $15,000.
Eide’s decision on Monday not to lower that amount was nothing new, as this was the fifth time since Rice was taken into custody that the judge declined a similar request by Rice’s pro-bono attorney, Rachel Nelson.
“She is not a threat to public safety. She does not have the money for bail,” Nelson told the judge during Monday’s hearing.
The county’s assistant attorney, Peter Ivy, disagreed.
“I don’t believe she can be trusted,” he said in response.
Several individuals have rallied behind Caroline Rice, alleging she is the victim of a “broken” legal system. Caroline’s most vocal advocate is her own daughter, 19-year-old Lauren, the second-oldest of five children. Lauren vehemently disputes the charges against her mother and claims her younger sister ran away from her father on her own.
Among those who have put themselves in place to help Lauren and Caroline is a man named Dale Nathan, a 77-year-old retired attorney from Eagan. Nathan said it’s his desire to see the state’s legal system reformed, and he wants to see justice served for Lauren.
“Since 2003 I have dedicated myself to trying to fix our legal system,” he said. “I’m involved with other cases, but Lauren is a unique kid. She is for real. She is everything she says she is.”
In an affidavit Nathan helped her write, Lauren offers to take her mother’s place in jail if the judge sets Caroline free on a promise to return for future court dates, and she fails to appear. To bolster her credibility, Lauren included in the affidavit a copy of her certificate of appointment to the class of 2013 at West Point, and a copy of the dean’s list certificate she received during the fall 2009 while studying in North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences.
“I gave it up to help my mom. I believe without her love and support, I would not have had that opportunity in the first place,” she states in the affidavit.
A pre-trial omnibus hearing in State of Minnesota vs. Caroline Marie Rice is on the docket in First District Court for this Friday.