- Tim Gilbert was convicted of aggravated assault in 2018.
- The jury deliberated his case in a room decorated with Confederate memorabilia.
- His lawyer said this violated his right to a fair trial, adding that everyone on the jury was white.
A Black man who was convicted of aggravated assault was granted a retrial in Tennessee because the jury deliberated his case in a room decorated with Confederate symbols, multiple reports said.
Tim Gilbert, 55, was convicted on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and resisting arrest following a family altercation in his Nashville home in 2018, CNN reported, citing court documents. In June 2020, he was sentenced to six years in prison.
But on Friday, a Tennessee court of criminal appeals granted Gilbert a new trial after his lawyers argued that his right to a fair trial was violated because of the location of the jury deliberations, NBC News reported.
One of the lawyers, Evan Baddour, also told CNN that all 12 jurors deliberating the case were white.
The room, located in the Giles County Courthouse, is adorned with Confederate flags and multiple portraits of Confederate leaders, NBC News reported. CNN has published photos of the room.
It has for decades been maintained by a Confederate-heritage group called United Daughters of the Confederacy, NBC News and CNN reported.
“The symbols on that wall do nothing but embolden jurors to act on racial animus,” his lawyers had argued, as cited in a 31-page decision issued by the court last Friday, NBC News reported.
In its decision, the court said that allowing the jury to deliberate in this room “exposed the jury to extraneous prejudicial information and violated [Gilbert’s] constitutional rights to a fair trial conducted by an impartial jury,” The Guardian reported.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“We are obviously pleased with the opinion rendered by the Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday, and believe the Court’s opinion speaks for itself,” Baddour, Gilbert’s lawyer, told CNN. “There is still much to be done, and we are eager to continue fighting for Mr. Gilbert and the right of the criminally accused to receive a fair trial.”
No date has been set for a new trial.