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Court of Appeals upholds Tuchek conviction


Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Features

On Tuesday, August 26, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the Fillmore County District Court’s conviction of former Lanesboro Police Chief John Tuchek for the April 2002 “hero fire” that destroyed three historic buildings in downtown Lanesboro. During Tuchek’s trial the defense rested without calling any witnesses, arguing that the state had failed to prove their case. At the time, defense attorney Mark Kurzman told the court that Tuchek was guilty of a lesser charge, fifth-degree arson, rather than the first degree charges where intent must be proven. Fifth degree arson carries a sentence of 90 days in jail.The defense maintained at the time that Tuchek started cardboard on a trailer on fire, not cardboard close to the building.In October of 2002, the defense filed a motion for a new trial which was later denied. At that time Kurzman argued that the court had turned down the defense’s request to call a witness who claims to be able to back up Tuchek’s story that the fire started on a trailer.In their brief to the Appeals Court, the defense maintained that there was insufficient evidence to convict Tuchek of first degree arson and that Tuchek was deprived of due process when the witness was not allowed to testify. Kurzman sought to have the Court of Appeals reduce Tuchek’s sentence to the lesser charge of fifth degree arson; and if not, to reduce the existing sentence by 1/3 to four years in prison.The Court of Appeals found that the “evidence was sufficient” to support Tuchek’s conviction of first-degree arson.” The court said that this evidence included conversations Tuchek had with his ex-girlfriend, fire marshall evidence that an accelerant was used to start the fire, and chemist findings of traces of fuel oil in the fire residue. The court remarked that Tuchek, himself, admitted to starting the fire.While the upper court found that the district court erred in refusing to allow Tuchek to call a witness who could have supported Tuchek’s claim that the fire started on a trailer, the court found that this error was not prejudicial to the defense.The court said the witness’ own testimony was contradictory to Tuchek’s own statements to investigators. The court said it was satisfied that had the testimony been admitted, a reasonable jury would have reached the same verdict.The Court of Appeals also upheld the court’s sente .....
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TJ Liquor

Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Features

Felony Charges

•Garwick Robert Sneed, 30, Rochester, was charged in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, August 25, with felony theft of a motor vehicle stemming from an incident in Spring Valley on June 17. Sneed was relea ..... 
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Heartland opponents ask for county board’s support

Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Features

Over the past several months, citizens of Preston and outlying areas have been in a dispute over the proposed Heartland tire burning facility, dividing its residents.

Concerned citizens came to the County Commissioners on Tuesd ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Rushford officials respond to drought conditions

Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Features

At the advice of Public Works Director Jeff Copley, the Rushford City Council urged voluntary citizen cooperation in water conservation at the August 25th council meeting. Citizens have been asked to refrain from watering lawns and washing cars until ..... 
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Professors from Eastern Europe learn about market economy

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

Four university professors from eastern Europe were browsing around the Fillmore County countryside this past week looking at the economics of agriculture. Some of the their activities included talking to farmers in the Rushford area, meeting with se ..... 
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Chaos serves no one

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

The Preston City Council meeting ended in chaos on Monday night, August 18, some three hours after it began.

When the meeting started, there was a quorum of four council members, with council member Mike Gartner, who is being t ..... 
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Lanesboro explores police options

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

Sheriff Jim Connolly appeared before the Lanesboro City Council August 18th to share his suggestions for police coverage in the city of Lanesboro. Pointing out the unique situation caused by the influx of tourists in the city, Connolly suggested join ..... 
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Preston City Council Report: City to consider joint police operation with Lanesboro

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

Preston Police Chief Matt Schultz was given the go ahead by the Preston City Council at their Monday, August 18 meeting, to research the feasibility of entering into an arrangement to provide law enforcement coverage for the city of Lanesboro. The ci ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Features

Felony Charges  According to court records, the following individuals were charged in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, August 18:  •Travis Ryan Jonsgaard, 19, Rushford, was charged with felon ..... 
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