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Judge Halbrooks: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Too Poor For Court Costs But Can Pay Child Support

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Michael Volpe

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This is not the first time Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks has ruled on matters related to Grazzini-Rucki.

In September 2012, Grazzini-Rucki was ordered out of her home, out of the state, and ordered not to contact anyone she knew.

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Months after a Minnesota Appeal’s Court Judge ruled that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was capable of paying nearly $1,000 per month in child support, the same judge ruled that paying several hundred dollars in her ex-husband’s court costs would be too burdensome.

On December 1, 2017, Minnesota Appeal’s Court Judge Jill Flaskamps Halbrooks ruled that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki paying for David Rucki’s court costs.

“Although David Rucki prevailed on appeal, it appears that allowance of the claimed costs and disbursements would cause financial hardship, in light of the district court’s determination that appellant (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis.”

When someone receives in forma pauperis status, they are deemed to poor to afford an attorney.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been represented in her divorce since early 2013 by Michelle MacDonald, who has worked pro-bono since receiving a $5,000 payment at the beginning of the case.

The same Judge, Jill Flaskamps-Halbrooks, ruled in September 2017 that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki had the ability to pay her ex-husband $975 per month in child support, despite Grazzini-Rucki being convicted of six felonies, homeless, and unemployed.

“Grazzini-Rucki asserts that she had no ability to pay child support because her employment with the airline was ‘in flux’ and that the CSM made ‘vague, generalized and conclusory findings’ that did not justify imputing income under Minn. Stat. § 518A.32, subd. 1.5 But these assertions misconstrue the record, particularly the evidence admitted during the September 2016 hearing. The CSM found that after Grazzini-Rucki was released from jail, she submitted a document in March 2016 that stated that she currently worked as a flight attendant Grazzini-Rucki testified, and the CSM acknowledged, that her status of employment was unknown at the time of the September 2016 hearing. But Grazzini-Rucki did not provide any evidence that her employment status had changed or that her employment had been terminated after March 2016.” Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks asserted in her August ruling, when she confirmed that an earlier ruling ordering Grazzini-Rucki to pay her ex-husband $975 per month was appropriate.

After Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks ruled in his favor in the child support appeal, his attorney, Lisa Elliott, filed to recoup his court costs.

Elliott did not respond to an email for comment.

David Rucki was granted child support even though he already received 100% of a multi-million-dollar estate which included numerous homes, classic cars, and the entirety of a thriving trucking business. More

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Sandra Grazzini-Rucki maybe homeless, jobless, and penniless but that doesn’t mean should not be paying child support to her multi-millionaire ex-husband.

9 Comments

Michael Volpe

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“The court acknowledged that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is currently earns no money but used the concept of imputed income to justify its ruling.

Imputed income allows judges to base child support based on an income level the judge deems is reasonable even if the party is not currently earning that living.”

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That was the peculiar ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals authored by Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks.

Judge Halbrooks upheld a decision by Judge Maria Pastoor of the Minnesota’s First Judicial District who ordered Grazzini-Rucki to pay her ex-husband, David Rucki, $975 per month in child support.

David Rucki is a multi-millionaire who received 100% of the marital estate along with sole custody of their five children in an even more bizarre ruling by Judge David Knutson.

Pastoor’s original ruling was even more bizarre because she made the ruling while Grazzini-Rucki was incarcerated for helping to hide her two oldest daughters after David Knutson forced them into the custody of her ex-husband’s sister, who the two girls insisted was abusive to them.

“Grazzini-Rucki argues that the CSM erred by imputing potential income to her because the CSM (1) disregarded her actual income, (2) failed to make a proper statutory analysis, and (3) improperly adopted a level of income determined by the district court in a prior order. A CSM must calculate a parent’s income based on her potential income.” Judge Halbrooks stated in the order, justifying how a homeless woman can be forced to pay child support. More

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