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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Prosecutor argues against hearing of Noe's appeal

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Saying that all the legal issues had been heard before, the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office argued in a brief filed yesterday that the Supreme Court of Ohio should decline to hear an appeal filed by Tom Noe.

In a 30-page brief, the prosecutor's office argued Noe did in fact receive a fair trial when convicted in 2006 on several theft and corruption charges. The brief also stated there was ample evidence to support the convictions.

Noe is serving his second year of an 18-year sentence ordered after conviction by a jury of

29 charges of corruption, theft, money laundering, and tampering with records. The 6th District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction - and his sentence - in a decision released Dec. 31.

Noe filed a request with the Supreme Court last month asking for a review of 11 issues, the same as presented to the appellate court. Yesterday, John Weglian, chief of the criminal division for the prosecutor's office, said the state "reiterated its arguments" against the claims in Noe's appeal.

"As we stated in the brief, there is no new law being argued by the defense, and the law as applied by the trial court and the appellate court is settled Ohio law," he said. "Mr. Noe was properly convicted under established law."

In April, 2005, The Blade first reported on Noe's $50 million state rare-coin investment deal, triggering a multiyear state probe that uncovered massive corruption in the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and led to charges against more than 20 public officials and money managers.

The former rare-coin dealer and past chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party was convicted in November, 2006, on several counts of theft and corruption stemming from charges that he stole millions of dollars from rare-coin funds that he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Former Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik sentenced him to 18 years in state prison and ordered him to pay $13,747,000 in restitution, the cost of prosecution totaling $2,979,402, and $139,000 in fines. None of the money has been paid.

He is in the state's Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville, Ohio, where he was sent in 2008 after serving nearly two years in a federal prison in Florida after pleading guilty to making $45,400 in illegal contributions to President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.The Ohio high court now has the discretion of whether to accept Noe's appeal - or any part of it - for review.

Neither the prosecutor nor Noe has requested that any of the justices recuse themselves from the decision, saying instead, the justices should make the decision.

In its brief filed yesterday, the prosecutor's office outlined for the court the evidence presented to the Lucas County jury that proved Noe's attempts to hide his thefts of state money. It further stated that the decisions reached by the appellate court did not conflict with any other court and so "this case presents a question of interest solely to Noe and not to the general public, to Ohio courts, or even to trial attorneys."

Noe's attorney, Rick Kerger, could not be reached for comment yesterday

In addition to arguing against Noe's appeals, the prosecutor's office requested the court review the one issue the appellate court did find in Noe's favor. The appellate court remanded the case back to Common Pleas Court for resentencing saying Noe was not properly advised of his mandatory years on post-release control.

Mr. Weglian said the decision affects not only Noe but "thousands of prisoners who are being resentenced even as we speak." He said because Noe was convicted by a jury and did not enter a plea, which meant he would have given up certain constitutional rights, knowing about mandatory time on supervised release has less of an impact on the proceeding.

"What we're talking about is the potential saving of thousands of man-hours for prosecutors and judges and appellate judges and supreme court justices," he said. "It would settle at least a substantial portion of the issue."

If the court decides to hear the case, both sides would file more briefs and orally argue the case. If not, Noe can next ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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