A county prosecutor’s office in Washington state has acknowledged it displayed unconscious bias in repeatedly using the term “nationality” to refer to a Black defendant after the state Supreme Court deemed the comments prejudicial and unanimously called for a new trial.

Tyler T. Bagby, a Black man whose citizenship was not in question, was convicted of residential burglary, assault, and harassment charges that stemmed from an evening of drinking with college-age friends and a dispute with his girlfriend. At trial, the prosecutor asked witnesses several questions about Bagby’s “nationality,” while referring to several white witnesses as “Good Samaritans,” according to the per curiam opinion summarizing the votes of the justices in a plurality decision filed Jan. 19.