Hawkins County (Tenn.) Sessions Court Judge James “Jay” Taylor appears to attract investigations the way motor homes attract tornados. He has been sued in various civil lawsuits and has now been hit with five criminal charges, including stealing money that he raised for a “Citizens Heritage Display” including the Ten Commandments to be placed in the lobby of the Hawkins County Justice Center. He is continuing his push for reelection as well as his performances as part of “The Redeemed Southern Gospel Singing Quartet.”
The charges include stealing from a client and taking money for legal services not rendered. Before his appointment in May, Taylor served as juvenile court judge. He insists on the Ten Commandments allegation that “All money raised in support of the Foundations Display (Citizens Heritage Display) was given in a cashier’s check to a member of the American Legion, along with a list of people who had made contributions.”
Taylor is up for reelection in March. He may quietly want to lose since some if not all of these charges may be dropped if he were not on the bench. His bio states the following:
Judge Taylor graduated from East Tennessee State University, in 1994, with a degree in Political Science. He graduated from Mercer University School of Law, in 1997, and was admitted to practice law that same year. Taylor was appointed in 2011 as the Judge of the General Sessions Court of Hawkins County, after having been elected as the Judge of the Juvenile Court in 2006. He has been a speaker and instructor on a variety of legal topics, including being selected by the State of Tennessee to train the clerks of courts on juvenile law and procedure.
Judge Taylor and his wife, Julia North Taylor, of The Redeemed Southern Gospel Singing Quartet, have two sons, Cross and Luke. The Taylor family lives in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Taylor is a member of Spires Chapel Baptist Church where he is the Youth Leader and a Sunday School teacher. Having come from a family of pastors, and having his father-in-law serve as pastor of his church, Taylor’s life and interests revolve around his church and family. His grandparents had a powerful and spiritual influence on his life, and Taylor’s life has been largely guided by Papa Best’s advice: God has given each of us a special talent and gift; prayerfully find yours, and then serve God with it.