Attorney claims confederate monument presence won’t allow fair trial

Local News

A Baton Rouge lawyer is requesting to move his client’s case to another jurisdiction because the presence of a confederate monument outside the courthouse would prevent a fair trial.

The 30 foot monument of a confederate soldier on a pedestal has been in front of the East Feliciana Parish courthouse since 1909. 

Local criminal defense attorney Niles Haymer tells us this is why he wants his African-American client’s case moved elsewhere. 

Haymer believes his client will not get a fair shot in court because the monument makes a political statement. 

“It sent a message to African Americans… Hey, you have a different form of justice. You don’t have the same justice we have in this courthouse,” Haymer explained.

A federal judge ordered this confederate monument in question to be removed in Caddo Parish. 

Before New Orleans and other cities across the nation decided to take down confederate monuments, Baton Rouge did it first.

Back in 2012, the city removed a monument to make room for what is now known as the North Boulevard Town Square. 

That statue now sits right next door in an exhibit at the Old State Capitol. 

The idea to move this monument from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse came up a couple of years ago but it was voted down for financial reasons. 

District attorney Samuel D’Aquilla tells us it would cost taxpayers between 10 and 20 thousand dollars to remove the statue. 

“We have a great community and all elected officials constantly strive to suppress racial inequality and filing a motion to change venue for this reason is insulting,” said D’Aquilla.

Meanwhile, Haymer claims the monument is offensive to him and his client.

“As long as you have a Confederate monument with a confederate soldier looking down on you with words etched in stone saying they fought for a Godly cause, I just don’t think in this day and age, it’s appropriate for what we do in the court of law.” 

Haymer and his client will seek a different venue in court on August 7th. If denied, Haymer tells us they will decide the next plan of action.

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