Police report says judge candidate sought to keep domestic incident quiet

According to an incident report, a candidate for Superior Court judge asked the Glynn County Police Department “if there was some way the event would not be made public” in the days leading up to his wife’s arrest for simple battery. 

Richard Taylor, in an interview with the Tribune & Georgian, denied an incident report’s version of that conversation. Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said he would not comment on the report because the case was still under investigation.

 Police were called to the home of Glynn County attorney Richard Taylor following a domestic incident on March 20. According to the report, Richard and Whitney Taylor were arguing and had a scuffle over his cell phone. A minor in the home called 911, having witnessed the incident.

Whitney Taylor, 49, had a bloody nose and initially told officers that her husband had slapped her, the report said. She later recanted, agreeing with her husband that it happened when they fell to the floor during the scuffle. 

Supplemental reports prepared by the police said Richard Taylor visited the police department on March 21 and called the department on March 22 to inquire about whether details of the case would be released to the media. 

Capt. Kenny Ellis wrote that Richard Taylor had expressed concern over the embarrassment that his family might face if the information was made public. 

“He went on to say that his wife was a school teacher … and that she was coming up for contract renewal and didn’t want there to be a problem with renewal. (He) went on to say that his health insurance was via her health insurance,” Ellis wrote. 

The chief also detailed his conversation about the matter with Ellis.

“Capt. Ellis told me that Mr. Taylor asked that none of the police records be released or a press release (sic),” said a supplemental report written by Doering. 

Under Georgia law, domestic violence incidents that do not result in an arrest cannot be released to the public. However, the incident report was “leaked” to local media a few days following the incident at the Taylor home and before an arrest had been made. 

Glynn County police secured an arrest warrant for Whitney Taylor on March 25, five days after the initial incident, for the misdemeanor charge of simple battery under the Georgia Family Violence Act. 

In a March 30 interview, Richard Taylor told the Tribune & Georgian that he had not yet seen the incident report. However, he said due to his many years as a practicing attorney, he already knew the report was not supposed to released when he called the Glynn County Police Department. He said he “simply asked” if they were, in fact, going to release it. 

“All I was trying to do was protect my wife and daughter. I certainly don’t think the law should be subverted at all,” he said. “I’m not worried about me. I have not done anything wrong.”

Doering confirmed on March 30 the authenticity of the 911 transcript and incident report that was sent to the Tribune & Georgian. However, he said he would not release the documents or discuss them with the media, despite the fact Whitney Taylor had been arrested at that point. 

Doering also said he launched an investigation into the unauthorized release of an incident report and 911 transcripts. 

“I have identified who the person(s) were who improperly accessed and released the reports to the public, they are not any member of the county police,” he wrote in an email this week. “Because of this security breach and unethical conduct, I have taken action to prevent any further improper access and release of our confidential criminal investigative files.” 

Richard Taylor will face Bert Guy, a St. Marys attorney, in the May 24 primary to decide who will succeed retiring Superior Court Judge E.M. Wilkes, who presides in the five counties of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.

Tribune & Georgian

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