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Judge Fabian denies motion for mistrial in Tuchek arson case


Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Caledonia - After reviewing legal briefs filed by the prosecution and defense, and listening to oral arguments in the case, Judge James Fabian denied John Tuchek’s request for a mistrial on Monday, November 18, in Houston County District Court.

Tuchek was convicted by a jury on October 24 of eight counts of first degree arson and one count of fifth degree arson for the April 7, 2002 fire that destroyed three historic buildings in Lanesboro.

Described by law enforcement as a “hero fire”, Tuchek is alledged to have set the fire in order to save his ex-girlfriend who lived in one of the buildings.

Defense Attorney, Marc Kurzman, argued before the court that Tuchek had been convicted on circumstantial evidence and that even the chief investigator in the case had testified during the trial that he had “no evidence that Tuchek intended to start the fire.”

Kurzman told Judge Fabian that the state gave the jury the wrong standard of law - that it was “reasonably forseeable” to conclude that if a fire was set on cardboard that it would lead to the buildings burning down.

The defense also argued that they were not allowed to introduce key evidence from a witness who could provide an alternative theory as to how the fire started - that the fire was started on cardboard on a trailer and later spread to the building.

In his brief, Kurzman stated that the state introduced witnesses who prejudiced the jury against his client and that a polygraph examination taken by Tuchek, which was ruled inadmissable by the court, would have supported the hypothesis of innocence of first degree arson.

“John Tuchek is stupid and a criminal, but what he did is fifth degree arson and not first degree arson. We ask that it be set aside,” Kurzman asked the court.

Assistant Attorney General Brent Wartner, representing the state, told the court that the state’s legal brief responds to each of the defense’s arguments. He also said that the defense had never produced polygraph results.

“We don’t know if they exist or what the results are,” Wartner said.

Judge Fabian, in making his ruling, responded to each of the defense’s arguments for a mistrial:

•The defense had ample opportunity to call witnesses. The defense listed no witnesses.

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Murder defendant asks court for public defender

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Joseph Allen Folkert, charged with second degree murder in the death of Clarence Paulson, appeared in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, November 18, for a Rule 8 hearing.

Paulson was found dead at his rural Pilot Mound f ..... 
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Maust addresses Preston City Council regarding Heartland

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Robert Maust, Heartland Energy and Recycling, LLC, brought the Preston City Council up to speed on his latest efforts to address some of the negative concerns raised over the the proposed electrical power generating facility that would use tire-deriv ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council proceeds with Coffee Street bridge project

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

A packed room, a court stenographer, and a couple of lawyers—the elements of a courtroom drama? Wrong, these were all part of an extremely eventful November 18th meeting of the Lanesboro City Council. Citizens packed the meeting room for the discussi ..... 
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Old-world wagon rekindles Gypsy spirit

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

It's not uncommon to come across wagons in all shapes and sizes dotting the countryside throughout the rural areas of Fillmore County. Wagons are a much needed and relied upon necessity for today's farmers. But travel a few miles north of Canton and ..... 
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Commissioner's Report: Wetland Preservation Program starts up

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

The Wetland Preservation Program took a major step forword as the county approved its first two qualified applicants. Jeremy Maul, Soil & Water Conservation District, presented applications for an 11.9 acre parcel in Jordon Township owned by Gary And ..... 
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Fillmore County Fair comes under scrutiny

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

Approximately 70 people turned out for the Fillmore County Ag Society annual meeting on Thursday, November 7, at the Fillmore County Office Building. Many of those in attendance came to talk about how to improve the Fillmore County Fair.
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Rushford City Council Report: Citizen input sought on library building

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

Revisiting the library board’s presentation and proposal to build a new library from the previous meeting, the Rushford City Council had some questions about at their November 12th council meeting.

Where should the library be? ..... 
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Cornucopia and Commonweal withdraw from Lanesboro Center for the Arts project

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

Citing the need to refocus their energies internally, two Lanesboro arts organizations have formally withdrawn from participating in the Lanesboro Center for the Arts (LCA) project.

Commonweal Theatre Com-pany and Cornucopia Ar ..... 
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