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Published: Wednesday, 10/29/2003

Ex-deputy arraigned for alleged tampering

A former Lucas County sheriff's deputy accused of tampering with court records to resolve two traffic cases was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court.

Thomas Shiffler, 39, of 8263 Deerpointe Drive, Sylvania Township, was released on his own recognizance on the charges of forgery and tampering with records. His next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13. The nine-year employee, who was assigned to the court, was fired Monday, and arrested and booked into the county jail. He was released on his own recognizance the same day by Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell.

Mr. Shiffler is accused of pulling two traffic cases, writing in fines and court costs, and using a court magistrate's signature stamp to resolve the cases during his work time. He handed the cases back to court clerks, who didn't think the entries looked right. Magistrate David Smith said he didn't make the entries, authorities said.

“We believe the situation is a misunderstanding that hasn't been resolved as it could have,” said Marilyn Widman, an attorney for the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents sheriff's office employees.

She said the former deputy's explanation is that there was a misunderstanding on whether he had authority to do what he did. “He's never denied using the judge's stamp. He's never denied writing [in the cases]. He's apologized to the court, and he's apologized to the sheriff,” Ms. Widman said.

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