Hearing set Monday over Solano coroner controversy

By From page A1 | March 07, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The stage is set for a Monday hearing in Vallejo on the controversy casting a shadow over dozens of murder prosecutions in Solano County.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for one of the accused killers said at a Thursday hearing that several top officials in the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorneys Office and the doctor at the center of the controversy are expected to testify about meetings, conversations and emails that defense attorneys believe show officials conspired to cover up concerns about the quality of autopsies.

“I have no doubt mistakes were made,” Judge Daniel Healy said of evidence uncovered in recent weeks. “But what the remedy is for those mistakes is still unknown.”

The mistakes could include prosecutors not disclosing to defense attorneys details about meetings with Dr. Susan Hogan and attempts to manipulate her into changing her mind after she refused to rule a death was a homicide. Another mistake is prosecutors not sharing with defense attorneys any details about a months-long internal affairs investigation into Hogan that led to her abrupt termination. Another mistake is prosecutors not sharing an 84-page report about Hogan and the quality of her work that was, according to Healy, 100 percent damning with nothing positive to say about her job performance.

Hogan conducted almost all autopsies in Solano County between 2009 and September 2013. Prosecutors last week said they would be reviewing all the suspicious deaths and homicides done by Hogan throughout her employment.

An attorney for Hogan said her client would be in fear for her personal safety while attending the Monday hearing.

Lawyers for the county continued their objections to details about Hogan and the sheriff’s investigation ever being made public, saying it would “taint” the internal affairs investigative process and make witnesses in future investigations reluctant to come forward.

Healy agreed to keep more than 1,000 pages of documents under seal until April, but added that he believed they should be made public.

“The public wants to have faith in their institutions,” Healy said.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 11 comments

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  • The MisterMarch 07, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Wow... corruption and cover-up. What do you want to bet the culture of corruption and cover-up just started within the past couple of years... no, I'll bet it's been going on for a couple of generations. We need a new sheriff... someone not connected to the current regime... in fact, someone the current regime hates and attacks. Tom Toler has those qualifications. I'm voting for Tom Toler for Sheriff if for no other reason than he will not let this corruption just go away.

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  • JackAttackMarch 07, 2014 - 7:28 am

    Oh please. Even if you want to imagine there was some conspiracy, instead of personnel issues that any union would easily seek to keep quiet also, Toler isn't the answer. Any one who's ever seen the man work or what a dog he acts like knows you'd just create a whole firestorm of new problems. It's works to say anything the public wants to hear, but what matters are his actions. Look at Obama. A lot of buyers remorse there too!

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  • The MisterMarch 07, 2014 - 8:12 am

    I suppose it would be better to listen to JackAttack and continue with, cover up, and reward the corrupt good-old-boy network that we currently enjoy. So what are you JackA? Some flunky for the County who somehow benefits from corruption? Someone who knows the secret handshake so you'll never have to worry about being prosecuted for some trumped up charge with some trumped up evidence? Well good for you, JackA. But us regular people demand an end to corruption and cover-up. If Tom Toler's only qualification was that he ISN'T part of the current regime... then that's reason enough for me to VOTE TOM TOLER for Sheriff.

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 07, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Let's not mince or parse words here Mr. Sullivan and the Daily Republic Newspaper! The Sheriff met with the DA and the DA met with the Sheriff. They then told Doctor Hogan what to write in her Official Reports and made her change her previously concluded findings. They then told Doctor Hogan what to say before juries! That's illegal because that's coaching a witnesses' testimony to give false testimony! Why can't you state those facts forthrightly and with rectitude? I believe this corrupt obstruction of justice, denial of due process and rights violations extends into the Judge's Chambers too! What rotten manner of juris prudence is this when there is no separation of powers? This is like medieval times and ''the Star Chamber'' or something!

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  • Not QualifiedMarch 07, 2014 - 7:28 am

    RE The Mister: You won't be voting for Tom Toler. He will not be running for the office because he does not meet the qualifications for the position.

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  • The MisterMarch 07, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Maybe, NQ... if "they" change the rules again just before the election. See.... more evidence of the corrupt incumbent regime.

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  • FromtheinsideMarch 07, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Time to bring in the FBI. Let them conduct an investigation into civil rights violations and then criminally prosecute both Ferrera and duBain

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  • The MisterMarch 07, 2014 - 9:30 am

    And don't forget the JR Ewing of Solano County, the Stanton dynasty.

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  • boomMarch 07, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Somebody out there knows somebody in the AG's office. We gotta get this into Kamela Harris and Co and I bet they would flip this Podunk county inside out. Someone should draft a formal complaint and send it in...

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  • RobertMarch 07, 2014 - 5:04 pm

    My next door neighbor happens to be a retired Deputy Sheriff from Solano. He just had one thing to say to me about Toler and Ferrara. "It's time for a change!"

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  • TaylorMarch 07, 2014 - 8:45 pm

    I agree with boom. An outside agency needs to get involved with this. What about the Grand Jury? I certainly would love to trust that Judge Healy would do the right thing but he may be too close to the situation (being that he's apart of the system) to let the whole ugly truth come out which is what we deserve as citizens of the county. Can't wait to read about the showdown on Monday!

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