Monday, June 30, 2008
By Mark Niquette
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The former politically connected coin dealer whose conviction for stealing from a state investment helped Ohio Democrats recapture most statewide offices in 2006 has appealed, arguing in part that he didn't get a fair trial.
Among other things, lawyers for Thomas W. Noe said in the appeal filed today that Noe's rights were violated because the trial was not moved out of Lucas County - an area "overwhelmingly saturated with negative publicity" about Noe.
The 50-page appeal lists seven specific trial errors that the lawyers say should be used to overturn Noe's conviction, including that prosecutors failed to prove each element of each of the specific crimes that Noe was charged with.
Prosecutors have argued that Noe got a fair trial and the punishment he deserved.
Noe was convicted in November 2006, but the appeal was delayed in part because the court reporter in Lucas County didn't finish the transcript from the 3 1/2-week trial until February.
Noe, 53, managed a $50 million investment in rare coins and other items for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. The investment was shut down in May 2005, and Noe was found guilty of stealing $13.7 million for personal use.
Attorneys for Noe argued at trial that his contract with the bureau didn't prohibit loans or advances, and that if Noe failed to pay back any money, it would be a civil contract violation and not a crime.
Noe was sentenced to 18 years in state prison after a Lucas County jury convicted him on 29 of 40 counts, including the most serious charges: aggravated theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
But before starting his state sentence, Noe has to complete a 27-month term in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in 2006 to unrelated federal charges of making illegal campaign contributions to President Bush in 2004.
Noe is scheduled to be released Oct. 27 from the low-security facility in Coleman in central Florida, about 350 miles from his home in the Florida Keys.
After that, Noe is expected to be transported from federal prison to the Lucas County jail, where county officials will be responsible for sending him to the reception center for the state prison system in Orient, said Andrea Carson, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Noe would stay there for six to sight weeks until he is assigned to a state prison to serve the rest of his sentence, Carson said.