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Judge Refuses to Block New Sheriff From Taking Office

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By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. - A Lawrence County judge has turned down a request by the county's current sheriff to block the incoming sheriff from taking office.

After a telephone conference Tuesday morning, Chancellor Robert L. Holloway rejected an application for a temporary restraining order that had been filed by Sheriff Kenny Taylor, according to the Lawrence County Chancery Court Clerk's Office.

The new sheriff, former state trooper Jimmy Brown, will be sworn in at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Taylor is challenging the outcome of the recent election in which he lost by just 118 votes. At the center of the controversy is the question of whether a Giles County man illegally entered the race for Lawrence County sheriff, skewing the results.

Taylor has asked the results of the election to be overturned, and he wanted a judge to delay the handover until that's decided.

No date has been set for the election challenge to be heard.

The election challenge came after a NewsChannel 5 investigation raised questions about where sheriff's candidate Mike Risner really lived. 
Lawrence Sheriff Candidate Uses Shack As Voting Address

Risner filed papers listing a shack in Ethridge as his residence. But we found the place abandoned, and we uncovered power bills showing very little electricity has gone into the building.

In fact, we discovered Risner really lives on a 77-acre farm in Giles County.

Still, the former candidate had some advice for Sheriff Taylor.

"He lost the election just like I lost the election," Risner said. "I would recommend that he go down there where Sheriff Brown is -- the new sheriff -- and make it an easy transition to benefit the people of Lawrence County. It's the people of Lawrence County that's hurting through this right here."

Sheriff Taylor's supporters say its Mr. Risner -- and what they view as an illegal candidacy -- that's actually hurt the people of Lawrence County.  They say they are just trying to fix the problems that he caused.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates also tried to reach Jimmy Brown to get his thoughts, but he never answered our call.

E-mail: pwilliams@newschannel5.com

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