By Jessica Taylor
After her first motion for appeal was denied in Dawson County last summer, self-described citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale has filed a motion in the Georgia Court of Appeals for a new trial to dispute her conviction from a 2014 altercation at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.
The Georgia Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the appeal in October.
On Aug. 23, 2014, Tisdale was arrested at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville after she allegedly refused to stop videoing a Republican Party rally attended by statewide officeholders including Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. She was removed from the rally by then- Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten and held in a barn until two other officers arrived to take her to jail.
In the appeal filed on June 10, Tisdale and her attorneys request her misdemeanor obstruction conviction “be reversed and remanded for a new trial or an order of acquittal.”
A Dawson County jury unanimously found Tisdale guilty of a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of an officer for resisting arrest on Dec. 4, 2017. She was found not guilty of the felony charge of obstruction of an officer as well as the misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass.
Tisdale was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.
She was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offenders Act, which means if she completed her sentence without issue, her record would be cleared. Tisdale was also not prohibited from continuing to enter public buildings and filming events for her website, aboutforsyth.com.
Barely a month after she was sentenced, Tisdale filed her first motion for a new trial on Jan. 8, 2018, citing there was “insufficient evidence to support the verdict” and “the trial court committed errors of law,” warranting a new trial. The motion was denied on Aug. 22, 2018.
On the four-year anniversary of what is described as “PumpkinGate” on Tisdale’s social media, she went to Twitter stating she would be taking her case to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The June 10 motion claims three errors in the 2017 trial. The motion continues by arguing that Tisdale was given “insufficient time to comply” in leaving the event, that her failure to comply immediately was not a crime and that Wooten never gave his name and failed to provide proper identification.
Tisdale went to trial in November 2017. She maintained she had permission from the property owners to film at the rally and that she was unlawfully arrested and assaulted by Wooten, who she said did not identify himself until reinforcements showed up at the farm.
The charges statde that Tisdale was tried for allegedly kicking Wooten in the shins and elbowing him in the face while being lawfully escorted off the property. She was also charged with hindering Wooten, who was representing the property owners, by refusing to leave private property when he asked and remaining on farm co-owner Johnny Burt’s land after receiving notice to leave.
“I’m looking forward to having my day in court,” said Tisdale. “I’m very delighted to have the team Andrew Fleischman and Noah Pines of Ross and Pines representing me pro bono on this appeal.”