NASHVILLE, Tenn.: A Tennessee appeals court has granted a new trial for a Black man who was convicted of aggravated assault by an all-white jury that deliberated in a room containing Confederate symbols.
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Friday that Tim Gilbert deserves a new trial on charges stemming from a December 2018 altercation, The Tennessean reported.
Gilbert was sentenced to six years in prison after his conviction on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and resisting arrest.
His attorney appealed, arguing that Gilbert’s right to a fair trial was violated because the jury deliberated in a room adorned with an antique Confederate flag and a portrait of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The appeal courts ruling came after a circuit court judge denied Gilberts motion for a new trial.
The appeals court ruling said that allowing the jury to decide whether Gilbert was innocent or guilty in a room at the Giles County Courthouse maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy exposed the jury to extraneous prejudicial information and violated his constitutional rights to a fair trial conducted by an impartial jury.
The trial court also made a mistake by allowing a challenged witness statement, an error that cannot be classified as harmless, the appeals court said.
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