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Taylor takes 'Fifth' for second time

Published: 5:04 PM, 04/10/2012 Last updated: 5:15 PM, 04/10/2012

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE -Hawkins County General Sessions Judge James "Jay" Taylor has again invoked his "privilege against self-incrimination" in response to six "requests for admissions" filed in February by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary (COJ).           
    On January 24, Timothy Discenza, Disciplinary Counsel for the COJ, filed charges that claimed as an attorney and while serving as Juvenile Court Judge Taylor converted for his own use money from a client and funds collected for a Heritage Display.  He is also charged with questionable billing practices involving the Administrative Office of Courts.
    In February, Discenza filed a motion requesting specific responses to several statements or questions.
    In his "Response and Objections to request for Admissions" filed Monday, Taylor cites preliminary and general objections.
    "'The Formal Charges and Amended Complaint/Formal Charges filed against
Judge Taylor alleges, among other things, acts that could be deemed in contradiction
of Tenn. Code Ann. Title 39. Based upon these allegations, Judge Taylor has been
advised by counsel to assert and invoke, and hereby does respectfully assert and
invoke, his privilege against self-incrimination guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of
the United States Constitution and under Article I, Section 9 of the Tennessee
Constitution, and therefore, Judge Taylor must respectfully decline to make further
response at this time other than is contained herein this pleading," the response states.
    Taylor also invoked his Fifth Amendment right and requested the matter be dismissed in a response filed February 24.
    The judge also invoked his right against self-incrimination in his response to inquiries that included six questions including whether Taylor, while holding a position as a part time Juvenile Court judge received in excess of $9,000 from a client, Julie Rasmussen, which Taylor falsely indicated would be invested on her behalf and that Taylor, while a Juvenile Court judge, collected funds as a result of representing to the public that he was organizing a "Citizens' Heritage Display," a monument that he represented would be displayed in the Justice Center, and that Taylor did not use the funds for said display.
    Taylor is scheduled to stand trial in Rogersville April 25 on the COJ charges.
    He was defeated in the March 6 Republican primary for that seat and would leave the bench at the end of August without any disciplinary action.
    Taylor is also named in numerous civil lawsuits regarding allegations of wrongdoing in his private practice and is the target of a Board of Professional Responsibility probe concerning his conduct as an attorney.
    Taylor's 2011 appointment as General Sessions judge is the subject of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into allegations of bribery involving the Hawkins County Commission.

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