Solano registrar voids sheriff challenger’s candidacy

By From page A3 | March 08, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Solano County Sheriff-Coroner Thomas Ferrara will not have an opponent after all in the upcoming June election – probably.

More than an hour and a half after the Registrar of Voters Office closed its doors Friday, a ruling was made that potential challenger bail bondsman Joel “Thomas” Toler was not a qualified candidate.

Toler, a former police officer from several years ago, filed papers Wednesday to run against Ferrara. Since then, Toler has scrambled to provide documents to verify that he has the education and experience required by state law to run for a county sheriff position.

The law required Toler have five years of law enforcement experience, some of it within five years of the election, to be able to run.

Toler, mindful of the law, went to the police chief of Jemez Springs, N.M., in January, where he wrangled a brief stint as a police officer. Jemez Springs, population 250, is a mountain village about 50 miles north of Albuquerque.

Registrar of Voters Ira Rosenthal said Friday that his office deemed the out-of-state police work did not conform to the requirements of state law.

Toler disagrees and has talked with attorneys about the registrar’s view of the law.

Toler also tried unsuccessfully to run for Solano County sheriff in 2010, but that effort ended up in court after a lawsuit was filed challenging his claim that he had the required experience.

Ferrara is a veteran of the Solano County Sheriff’s Office. He served as undersheriff and was appointed by the Board of Supervisors, effective Nov. 1, 2012, to fill the remainder of former Sheriff-Coroner Gary Stanton’s term when Stanton retired.

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 | 31 comments

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  • MDSMarch 07, 2014 - 10:43 pm

    The law is clear and Mr. Toler should try and read it. California Government Code Section 24004.3 says the experience must be "within the provisions of Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code." These sections define California Peace Officers, not New Mexico Peace Officers. Nice try at pulling a scam Mr. Toler.

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 2:29 am

    You know.....I would not count out Mr. Toler just yet.

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  • mdsMarch 08, 2014 - 7:38 am

    The law is clear and there is even an appellate court case decision upholding the experience requirement. Toler can sue, but he won't win this one. Not only that but why would voters vote for a man who is trying to scam his way into the job? He goes and gets a temporary fake job in New Mexico for a couple of days as some kind of scam to run for Sheriff? I wonder what the citizens of that town in New Mexico think of their Chief assisting Toler in this scam? They don't have to worry though because that Chief has been fired for pulling other scams.

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  • MDSMarch 07, 2014 - 10:58 pm

    And it gets even better. Do a Google search on the Jemez Spring Police Chief and it looks like he got fired for having two names??? Controversy all over the place on this one.

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  • boomMarch 08, 2014 - 12:19 am

    There is someone in this county who is in law enforcement that would be ideal for this job. The candidate would not work in local law enforcement and would bring a new perspective and sense of pride to the office. Ideally, the candidate would have experience in a larger department and would not fold in to the pressures of the supervisors and other politicians who throw their weight around. Hopefully, that candidate is reading this and will apply for the position and win, while recapturing the public's trust in their Sheriff.

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  • FF64March 08, 2014 - 2:19 am

    Dixon Police Chief Jon Cox would be an excellent Sheriff for Solano County with his many years of experience in Contra Costa County.

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 2:44 am

    I couldn't agree with you more boom. The political paybacks which occur behind close doors once the dust clears after an election, can only be brought to a halt by an outsider without influence from within.

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  • rainMarch 08, 2014 - 1:02 am

    Great. So more of the same ol sh-t is on and in order.

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 2:48 am

    Only if people just standby and do nothing. Mr. Toler is only one man.

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  • Kene WinstonMarch 08, 2014 - 2:24 am

    This seems like it may take some time. A lot has to get done, a lot of politics at play..

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  • Bill of RightsMarch 08, 2014 - 6:44 am

    Whew! This guy is not what Solano County needs in a Sheriff! This biggest question I have to ask is why can't Toler land a cop job in California? Why does he have to go to a populated town, in another state, of a whopping 250 citizens to build police experience? Questions we should all be asking in case he does beat the system! Not a fan of sitting Sheriff, but we need to trade up people!

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  • The CheifMarch 08, 2014 - 6:55 am

    Funny thing is, the current "Sherrif" has probably less law enforcement experience than Toler. He started out running for coffee for Al and the big boys, worked his way up to chief paper shuffler, and - voila! The fix is in, people.

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  • I'm voting for TomMarch 08, 2014 - 7:00 am

    and not crazy Tom Toler. Tom Ferrara has dedicated the last 30 yrs to the citizen's of Solano County. Contrary to what many say about him in this forum, he has the best interest of the community, the Sheriff's Office, and all members of Law Enforcement in mind with every decision he makes. Many armchair critics here find it easy to find fault and take pot-shots about things they know nothing about and are based on sketchy and skewed information provided by those with hidden agendas.

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 11:15 am

    What has Tom Ferrara done in the last 30 years in law enforcement that has benefited the community other then himself?

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    Still standing by for a reply!

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  • The MisterMarch 08, 2014 - 7:06 am

    Sounds like Tom Toler is going to win another lawsuit. And the corrupt "leaders" in Solano County are going to force the taxpayers to, once again, pay for their corrupt efforts.

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  • RalphMarch 08, 2014 - 9:17 am

    Experience will not get you this job, will the sheriff preform?? its interesting to hear whats hes done in the past, what kid of a person he his...is he a leader.

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  • CoRuptTionMarch 08, 2014 - 10:04 am

    MDS, you alleging Toler is dirty, and it don't disagree. The guy is flat out nuts. But lets not forget how dirty a Ferrera is and how he's running the sheriffs office. Sacrifices his Lt. To be the one who lies to the general public through the media. Oh, Dr Hogan retired they said. Realy Tom, Realy. Check your file and read the termination letter from your undersheriff. She was fired and Ferrera lied to the community in order to cover up the scandals. So a Toler would be no different than Ferrera. Dirty is dirty!!!

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    I have been told, that for many years the unwritten policy of the Sheriff's Admin. is to " Deny Everything and Launch Counter Allegations against your accusers.

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  • Just sayinMarch 08, 2014 - 10:34 am

    It does not say California Peace Officer. It says full time salaried. If it stated California it would not be open to challenge. So, when Toler took Paulson to court and Paulson said he never read the full page story about his office. Did anyone believe that? When Garza was arrested by the DOJ and then the superior court dropped the case, was that because he didn't lie? If so, why would they come here arrest him after 30 years of service? When Brooks Bylery was caught in court lying about his past employment, where Fairfield PD fired him for submitting false reports. Did you want him to stay on as a cop for the DA?

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  • MDSMarch 08, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    Yes, it doesn't say California. It says the peace officer time must be time pursuant to either 830.1 of 830.2 of the CALIFORNIA Penal code. The California Penal Code does not describe Peace Officers in any state other than California. California generally doesn't recognize law enforcement experience in other states for many things. For example if you've been a peace officer in another state and you come here you generally have to repeat the police academy with some exceptions.

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  • Just sayinMarch 08, 2014 - 10:54 am

    How bout those deputies that tried to get Toler's license? Judge reported back in writing that they were untruthful, the reports were not correct, their behavior was believable. So do you want them to handle your case. Trust their reports for your family? That automatic gun, he just walked away from. Was it because the person who reported it was the man he investigated for child abuse and was fired from dept of correction and the man he referred to in the full page ad to Paulsons office or did he wash the judges car, maybe gave the judge a free bail. Why did the county pay Toler before he sued them, after trying to put him in prison? Could Toler have gotten more? Did he just want back what they made him spend to defend himself ? Hey, during his case and when they got a order to open a police personnel file, showing the deputy dumped ashes from a urn to get a lady to talk or watch her husbands ashes get dumped.....Is that how you want it done? Who else has tried to make any changes? Toler was laughed at when he told the board of sups to have a retired sheriff or chief give them a report before handing it over to Ferrara, laughed, Wonder if they would have found the autopsy mess then, 2 years ago. What cases will get a new trial, who will pay? Has your case been botched or blessed by the same people? Will it later? Who else has tried to make changes?

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  • George Guynn, JrMarch 08, 2014 - 11:33 am

    MDS, I just read the three code sections you mentioned and they don't say anything about having to have all the experience be in California. The Mister and Just sayin bring up great points and I can't wait till Mr. Toler wins another law suit over this. Too bad the money is coming from the taxpayers, instead of the pockets of the bad people in office, who should really be the ones held accountable. And by the way, all those that called or inferred that Mr. Toler is crazy or bad in this blog need to be sued for libel!!!!

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  • Just sayinMarch 08, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Its not the California Government Code. It is the government code. Shane Harger. Deputy in New Mexico, first on the scene of dead female. Suspect the elected sheriffs brother. He was threatened, fired bombed his house, why: because he would not alter his report or change his testimony to spare the elected sheriffs brother. Two names, he must be crook, woops, after threats on his life the FBI placed him in witness protection for 5 years. He testified over 3 years and not once was he found not telling the truth. This is what makes him crazyer than Toler. He comes out of witness protection, is offered a chief job less than a 100 miles from where the family and the sheriff at that time were trying to kill him. The second legal drivers license he had, one the FBI gave him and the other is his. Why carry both? He used the other name for 5 years and needed it at times, which is why the FBI didn't take it. Why crazy, he worked in a very very remote area, in uniform, in a marked car, a target for anyone of those who wanted him dead could locate him easy. Call the SAC in New Mexico. Why the TSA issue, because he had two ID's and offered to get the FBI on the phone but the agent, who was fired from the border patrol, refused. Hey, where was he headed to? Sheriff Mack Convention for sheriffs who honor and learn better ways to protect the constitution. Call the mayor, he knew of the second name. Hey, there is a public hanging today at 3, bet its standing room only. Why isnt he working. He has been invited on every radio and tv talk show in the State, call sheriff mack. Spend an hour, do some research.. Find the truth. I'll cancel the hanging until next week

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  • RobertMarch 08, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Just Sayin Thank you for sharing this very important piece of information. It's always better to have both sides of the story in order to form an informed opinion of someone else's character.

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  • MDSMarch 08, 2014 - 6:59 pm

    Yes it is the California Government Code. It's California law, not Federal Law and not New Mexico law.

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  • Kene WinstonMarch 08, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    Beside -the fact that this is a important process, It is understandable that no mistakes are made.

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  • Kene WinstonMarch 08, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Being a bails bonds-men can educate you about the law/process, I can see where his confidence comes from, and im sure he's use to the terminology..

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  • George Guynn, JrMarch 09, 2014 - 12:03 am

    I think you Nay Sayers are going to be in shock when Mr. Toler is either placed back on the ballot or he collects money out of the Registrar of Voters and staff, along with County Council and staff's personal funds in a law suit! We badly need Mr. Toler for Sheriff of Solano County!! Maybe you are not, but I am tired of paying the waste caused by those running the county that have mis-used their position to go after Mr. Toler. Also, the folks in office now created the Coroner mess, not Mr. Toler. We need Mr. Toler to clean up the mess and make sure it doesn't happen again!!! We want Toler, Toler, Toler!!!!!!!

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  • CD BrooksMarch 09, 2014 - 6:42 am

    GGJ, you're a bright guy but law suits aren't exactly the way to people's hearts. If Dude gets on the ballot he'll be defeated, your support notwithstanding.

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  • MDSMarch 10, 2014 - 10:35 am

    So you think they'll lose a lawsuit for abiding by California law? I got ten bucks that says Toler loses. You can't go get a fake job in New Mexico and then claim that complies with a California law that requires California law enforcement experience. I hope when he loses his lawsuit that the County goes after him for their court costs.

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