Black Man Convicted by Jury Deliberating in Courtroom Named and Decorated With Confederate Images To Get New Trial

he jury trying Tim Gilbert’s deliberated with Jefferson Davis’ portrait and antique confederate memorabilia in the background.

A Black man in Tennessee who was convicted by an all-white jury that deliberated in a room replete with Confederate symbols and a portrait of Jefferson Davis on the wall will get a new trial.

Tim Gilbert, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2020 for aggravated assault and other charges resulting from a December 2018 dispute, but he has been granted a new trial by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, The New York Times reports .

Gilbert’s attorney argued his right to a fair trial was violated because the jury deliberated  in an “inherently prejudicial” room at the Giles County courthouse, which had been named after the United Daughters of the Confederacy and had racist symbols including an antique confederate flag.

In a 31-page ruling, the court strongly agreed Gilbert could not have gotten fair treatment by a jury so influenced. The court also says Giles County should not have maintained the artifacts according to Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean.

“Because Giles County may not convey any message to the jury, we conclude that permitting the jury to deliberate in a room filled with Confederate memorabilia exposed the jury to extraneous information or improper outside influence,” the ruling reads.

Howard University professor of Political Science, Clarence Lusane, told that this ruling is important and could likely set precedent.

“In terms of strategies for defense attorneys, that certainly be something that they could use in forthcoming cases. It was not clear if they still have this room or if they're not using it anymore,” he said. “But it does raise questions for  others who were convicted and could be grounds for appeal.”

A Tennessee circuit judge had previously denied Gilbert’s request for a new trial in August 2020, The Tennessean reported.

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