Former Pittsburg County District Court judge sworn in as Supreme Court justice

Monday, September 27th 2004, 6:12 pm

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Steven W. Taylor, the Pittsburg County district judge who presided over the recent murder trial of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, was sworn in Monday as a justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Taylor's formal swearing in will not be for several weeks, but Taylor said Chief Justice Joe Watt told him he wanted him on the job as soon as possible.

Watt performed the oath of office at 8 a.m. and Taylor attended his first conference of the Supreme Court an hour later.

Taylor, 55, was appointed to the post on Thursday by Gov. Brad Henry. He replaces veteran Justice Ralph B. Hodges, who retired.

"My attitude was that I've got this new job and I'm anxious to get started," Taylor said.

He said the importance of being appointed to the post is still sinking in.

"I'm just very appreciative of the governor's confidence in me and humbled by it and will do my very best to do this job in a way that will make the governor and everyone else in Oklahoma proud of me and the work I do," Taylor said.

"I recognize that what the Supreme Court does affect every citizen of Oklahoma and I will keep that in mind every day that I work here," he said.

He has been a district judge in McAlester for nine years and also served as an associate district judge form 1984 to 1995.

He was an attorney and court martial judge in the U.S. Marine Corps before entering private practice in McAlester.

Taylor got national attention for his role in the state's prosecution of Nichols, who was convicted of 161 state counts of murder for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

Nichols was sentenced to life in prison when a 12-member jury could not agree whether to sentence him to death.

Taylor received a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University in 1971 and his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1974.

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