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Confederate-themed jury room appeals conflicting verdicts

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Jonathan Mathis

Nashville, Tennessee (AP) — Their convictions after juries deliberating in a Tennessee courtroom containing Confederate symbols Two black men who challenged the decree were sentenced to the contrary. Judgments from different judges of the same Court of Appeal.

One has been given a new trial. the other was denied.

Conflicting rulings likely mean appeals to state Supreme Court to resolve discrepancies.

Three judges of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals A two-panel ruling centered on the trial, which took place in Giles County Courthouse, where the jurors were seated in an item-decorated room maintained by the daughters of the Union. Antique Confederate flag and portraits of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate General John C. Brown. In June, a state commission approved plans to move the artifacts to a museum, The Tennessean reported.

Barry Jamal Martin, who went on trial in May, was sentenced against a new trial, convicted of drug charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The ruling states that none of the jurors testified that they "noticed or were aware that memorabilia were in the room." The decision also raised questions about whether the average person could recognize who was in the portrait and what the flag meant.

"While the presence of memorabilia in the jury room is certainly unacceptable, defendants believe that certain irrelevant and detrimental information may be inappropriately brought to the jury's attention or disqualified." It concludes that it has failed to prove that it properly influenced or influenced every juror (or grand jury)," Judge John Campbell Sr. wrote in his ruling.

Last December, three other judges on the court found Tim Gilbert guilty of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and illegal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. , and deserving of a new trial on charges of resistance. Arrested. His trial took place in March 2020 and sentenced him to six years in prison. The Tennessee Supreme Court dismissed the state's appeal in the case.

It concluded that by allowing jurors to deliberate in a room filled with toxicants, they were exposed to irrelevant information and inappropriate outside influences," said Justice James Curwood Witt. Junior wrote in December.

But in this week's ruling, the Judiciary Committee argued that the previous ruling did not set a precedent that judges must follow.

He of the same attorney Evan P. Baddour represented both his Martin and Gilbert.

Two of the cases involved various other allegations of conviction by attorneys. In Gilbert's case, the judicial panel ruled that a new trial was needed because the trial court erred by admitting that the witness statements were challenged.

The Union Daughters of the Confederate Army first established the initials U.D.C. was allowed to be placed on the door of the room. The then grand jury chief who previously testified in court.

Giles County Courthouse is located in Pulaski, where the Ku Klux Klan was founded.