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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Juror quiz in Noe case is an answer for doldrums

I was called for jury duty earlier this year in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Months later, I still can't say whether eagerness or dread prevailed, so torn was I about being summoned.

Well, never mind.

Turned out I knew one of the attorneys (Hi, Stu!), who cracked some joke about how I wrecked his science-lab assignment back when we were in high school.


I was back at work before you could say "dismissed!"

Tuesday morning I remembered all that as I, like everyone in Judge Thomas Osowik's jam-packed courtroom, sat around killing time.

We were waiting for the start of the Tom Noe trial, which would finally - finally! - put us all out of his misery.

Funny thing, sitting in a courtroom crowded with strangers while absolutely nothing is going on. It gets, um, boring.

Thank heaven for the official Juror Questionnaire!

You can read the whole thing on toledoblade.com, but if for some reason you're running late this morning, let me give you an executive, annotated summary.

Prospective jurors got a five-page document with 36 questions, a hopeful shortcut to jury selection meant to dispense with some of the basics.

Accordingly, most questions were as predictable as the national anthem on Opening Day.

Where do you live? You married? Been in the military? List all your schools.

But then there were some unexpected questions, the ones that kept the reporters awake as we waited for the judge.

A personal favorite (cue patriotic music) was Question No. 24: In your opinion, who is (was) the greatest American to ever live? Why?

In the very back row, I was sitting next to a local TV reporter. We both agreed simultaneously that one answer and one answer only was being sought, to wit:

Ronald Reagan.

If you're the sort of person who could deliver that answer without hesitation, the defense probably really, really, really liked you.

Of course, No. 25 was pretty good as well - less leading, I think, and therefore more open to variant responses: In your opinion, who do you most admire? Why?

Personally, I'd have to say I admire most anyone who can reliably distinguish between the proper use of "who" and "whom," because isn't that just a constant grammatical bugaboo for all of us?

I was also intrigued by No. 35, which asked: Have you ever visited Vintage Coins and Collectibles located in Maumee, Ohio?

Isn't the question technically inaccurate? Noe's former office space is no longer Vintage Coin, but something called the Eye Institute (although, depending on the verdict, we might say repurposing the place to clear-sighted vision comes a bit late).

My absolute favorite question, however, was No. 36: Please state any thoughts or comments you may have regarding the case of State of Ohio v. Thomas Noe.

Can you imagine? Only three blank lines were given to respond.

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