Confederate general's portrait removed from in Patrick County courtroom

Photo by Ben R. Williams on Martinsville Bullentin (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

MARTINSVILLE (AP) - A Patrick County judge said he removed Confederate general's portrait from a courtroom last month.

The order from Judge Martin Clark said he removed the portrait of General Jeb Stuart from the circuit court's courtroom in August 19. Judge Clark said a courtroom should be a place that is fair and neutral.

"The courtroom should be a place every litigant and spectator finds fair and utterly neutral," Clark wrote in the statement. "In my estimation, the portrait of a uniformed Confederate general - and a slave owner himself - does not comport with that essential standard."

He continued, a portrait of a uniformed Confederate general, who was a slave owner, does not comply with that standard.

"It is my goal - and my duty as a judge - to provide a trial setting that is perceived by all participants as fair, neutral and without so much as a hint of prejudice," Clark wrote. "Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African-Americans, and this reaction is based on fact and clear, straightforward history."

Judge Clark's decision follows the July shooting deaths of nine worshipers at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina

Read the full statement from Judge Clark here.