Hearing officer recommends declining parole for former judge

Hearings officer recommends declining parole for former Hawkins judge

James "Jay" Taylor (Source: TBI) James "Jay" Taylor (Source: TBI)

NASHVILLE (WATE/AP) - A former Hawkins County judge may be forced to serve his full sentence.

James "Jay Taylor is currently serving a four-year sentence on charges he stole from the Tennessee Court system.

Between Sept. 2010 and July 2011, the TBI says Taylor filed numerous fake claims with the Administrative Office of the Courts seeking payment for services as appointed legal counsel in cases where he did not perform legal services.

He was also accused of stealing from clients and misusing funds he raised to display the Ten Commandments at the Hawkins County Justice Center.

On Wednesday, Hearings Officer Richard O'Bryan recommended that Taylor be declined for parole for the rest of his sentence.

Victims and families of victims say this is a big day for them. 

"If we got him to stay one second longer because we actually got to be in this, it was a big win," said Melissa Deering, a victim in the case.

For Beverly Menguc, the recommendation was bittersweet. Her sister is a victim. "The thing with Mr. Taylor is he didn't steal from corporations. He didn't steal from people who are of means. He stole from victims. People who had already been injured catastrophically."

6 News reached out to the Taylor family, but they declined to comment.

If the Board of Parole agrees with the hearing officer's recommendation, Taylor would be forced to serve the full length of his sentence.

The officer cited the seriousness of the offense and the fact that Taylor was in a position of public trust when the crimes were committed as the reasons for his recommendation.

A decision is expected in two to three weeks.
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