NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Black man whose fate was decided by an all-white jury who deliberated in a room containing Confederate symbols will receive a new trial after a Tennessee Criminal Appeals Court ruling.
Tim Gilbert was sentenced in June 2020 to six years in prison for aggravated assault and other charges connected with a 2018 altercation. Gilbert and his lawyer claimed that Gilbert was not entitled to a fair trial because of the specific evidence and jury’s race makeup at Giles County Courthouse.
Gilbert and his lawyer did not know that the jury was considering Gilbert’s guilt or innocence in the room with a Confederate portrait Jefferson Davis, an antique Confederate flag, and the Confederate flag.
This room is decorated with related memorabilia and was named after the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was founded in 1890s Nashville as a memorial to Civil War ancestors.
Friday’s ruling found Gilbert’s defense had enough evidence to support the idea that a jury can be influenced in such a room. It also made it clear that Tennessee’s lawyers didn’t respond adequately to these allegations.
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Georgia law prohibits the removal of Confederate monuments.Waycross is looking for one.
The appeals court also found that the trial court permitted a statement that was otherwise unadmissible.
The appeal court’s ruling comes over a year after a Tennessee circuit judge denied Gilbert’s motion for a new trial.
According to court records, Stella Hargrove, Tennessee Circuit Judge denied Gilbert’s request for a fresh trial. Hargrove denied Gilbert’s request for bail.
Evan Baddour was Gilbert’s attorney and stated that while we were disappointed with today’s decision we still respect the verdict of trial Judge. He also said that he would continue fighting for his client.
The legal maneuverings also coincide with a renewed push to reconsider public displays of Confederate symbols, many of which were put up during segregation in the South.
Contributing: Holly Meyer, Nashville Tennessean