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Attorney requests change of venue, cites Confederate monument

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CLINTON - An attorney for a man arrested on a gun charge is asking that the case be moved because a Confederate monument outside the courthouse is a symbol of "racism and oppression."

Ronnie Anderson has pleaded not guilty after his arrest as a felon in possession of a firearm. Niles Haymer, his attorney, has asked the 20th Judicial District Court in East Feliciana Parish to move the trial to another district, according to court filings.

For Anderson to get to the courtroom where he is obligated to appear, he will have to pass a Confederate soldier statue on a pedestal his attorney says is at least 30 feet tall and has been outside the court for nearly 110 years.

"When this Confederate Monument was erected in 1909, there were not African American attorneys, judges, jurors or registered voters in East Feliciana Parish," Haymer wrote in the motion for the venue change. "The monument was erected at a time when Jim Crow became the 'legal' way of life in East Feliciana Parish and all over the South and it symbolized a society that embraced racial intolerance."

Haymer wrote that the monument conveys "intimidation and oppression, communicating that justice may not be fair and impartial."

The motion was filed Monday and indicates that the case is assigned to Judge Kathryn "Betsy" Jones.

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