YORK, S.C. (AP) " A Confederate flag and portraits of Confederate generals will not return to a South Carolina courtroom when renovations are completed.
Everyone should feel they are going to be treated fairly when they enter a courtroom, and that can't happen with the rebel flag and pictures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson displayed, York County Clerk of Court David Hamilton said.
"The history is very, very important, but obviously, the future is more important," Hamilton told The Herald of Rock Hill (http://bit.ly/2knGShV ).
Hamilton tried to determine when and why the Confederate flag and portraits were placed in the courtroom at the 102-year-old courthouse, but found no answers. Other items inside the courtroom before the project started, such as portraits of judges and the United States and South Carolina flags, will be put back up.
A South Carolina law called the Heritage Act protects Civil War and other historical statues, monuments, flags and other items from being moved or taken down. Hamilton said he researched the act and thinks what he is doing is legal as long as he displays the flag and portraits either somewhere else in the old courthouse or in a museum.
The clerk said he hasn't decided exactly where the items will end up.
The courthouse in York was closed for the $10 million renovation project in 2011. A ceremony to celebrate the end of the project is planned for Sunday.
The chief prosecutor for York County applauded the decision, along with several defense attorneys.
"There is no place in a court of law, a place of justice for all, for the Confederate flag," defense lawyer Tom McKinney said.
York County is just south of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldonline.com
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings