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Analysis: Kyle Rittenhouse 9/17/21 Evidentiary Hearing Rulings

Analysis: Kyle Rittenhouse 9/17/21 Evidentiary Hearing Rulings

Rittenhouse’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 1, 2021. And thanks to the kind sponsorship of Legal Insurrection, we’ll be here live.

Via Antioch Police Department

Hey folks,

Today I’d like to share with you my legal analysis/explanation of the Kyle Rittenhouse pre-trial evidentiary hearing that took place on September 17, 2021.

This case, of course, involves Kyle Rittenhouse’s use of force upon three individuals on August 25, 2020, during riots in Kenosha WI (as well as purportedly reckless conduct with respect to other bystanders that same night).  Two of those individuals would die as a result (Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber), and the third would suffer serious bodily injury (Gabe Grosskruetz).

Rittenhouse, who was 17 years old at the time of these events, would eventually be charged with five felonies, including 1st degree intentional homicide (re: Joseph Rosenbaum), 1st degree reckless homicide. (re: Anthony Huber), attempted 1st degree intentional homicide (re: Gaige Grosskreutz), and two counts of recklessly endangering safety (re: other bystanders in the vicinity).  Less importantly, Rittenhouse was also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (a misdemeanor offense), and failure to comply with the curfew order in effect the night of these events (a fineable offense).

Rittenhouse’s criminal trial on these charges is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 1, 2021. And thanks to the kind sponsorship of Legal Insurrection, we’ll be here live.

TRANSCRIPT OF SEPT. 17, 2021 HEARING

VIDEO OF SEPT. 17, 2021 HEARING

This case, of course, involves Kyle Rittenhouse’s use of force upon three individuals on August 25, 2020, during riots in Kenosha WI (as well as purportedly reckless conduct with respect to other bystanders that same night).  Two of those individuals would die as a result (Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber), and the third would suffer serious bodily injury (Gabe Grosskruetz).

Rittenhouse, who was 17 years old at the time of these events, would eventually be charged with five felonies, including 1st degree intentional homicide (re: Joseph Rosenbaum), 1st degree reckless homicide. (re: Anthony Huber), attempted 1st degree intentional homicide (re: Gaige Grosskreutz), and two counts of recklessly endangering safety (re: other bystanders in the vicinity).  Less importantly, Rittenhouse was also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (a misdemeanor offense), and failure to comply with the curfew order in effect the night of these events (a fineable offense).

Rittenhouse’s criminal trial on these charges is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 1, 2021.

Purpose of This Hearing

This primary purpose of this pre-trial hearing was to address certain bits of evidence that the prosecution, on the one hand, and the defense, on the other, wanted ruled admissible for presentation before the jury at trial.  A key role of a trial court is to act as a gate keeper on what evidence a jury will be (or will not be) permitted to see at trial.  (The court also addressed a few ancillary, non-evidentiary matters in this hearing, usually without final decision, simply pushing the ball forward to a future date and decision.)

In our adversarial legal system it is common for one side to propose evidence to which the other side objects, and they are provided an opportunity to argue their respective sides in front of the hearing judge before that evidence is ever made available (or not) to a jury.  That hearing judge then makes the decision on whether the proposed evidence will be admissible in its entirety, will be admissible in some limited context or form, or will be inadmissible.

While it is theoretically possible for the losing side to appeal that decision of the hearing judge to a higher level court, for practical purposes these decisions by the judge are final absent a clear abuse of discretion (a threshold almost never achieved).  So, as a practical matter, the ruling of the judge in these evidentiary hearings is it—so you’d best make your best argument right then.

Relevant v. Prejudicial Evidence

In order for any piece of evidence to be admissible it must be relevant, without also being excessively prejudicial—this can be thought of a balancing between these two factors.

For a piece of evidence to be relevant it must be both material and probativematerial meaning it has application to an issue in dispute in the case, that sits between the facts and the law; and probative meaning that it has a tendency to prove or disprove that issue.

In this case an example of evidence that lacks relevance would be evidence of the purported bad character of the “Proud Boys” organization given the complete absence of any evidence linking Rittenhouse to that organization as of the August 25 shootings that underlie the charges against him.  If Rittenhouse had a relationship with the “Proud Boys” that might be relevant to his state of mind, but such an inference would first require evidence of such a relationship.

Evidence is deemed prejudicial when it has a tendency to unduly influence the fact-finder to decide a matter on an improper basis.  A common form of prohibited prejudicial evidence is propensity evidence—evidence claiming that a defendant committed purported act X because he’d previously committed unrelated act A, and that therefore the defendant has a propensity to commit bad acts.  Propensity evidence is explicitly excluded by both Federal and state rules of evidence.

In this case, an example of prejudicial evidence certain to be excluded by the court are Joseph Rosenbaum’s prior multiple convictions for pedophilia—acts which while clearly reprehensible are not relevant to the self-defense issues in this case, unless (arguably) Rosenbaum’s pedophile status was known to Rittenhouse at the time, which it was not.

Participants in This Hearing

The participants in this hearing included the trial judge, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder, and various representatives for the State of Wisconsin and for the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse.

The State here was represented by Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Thomas Binger, who is the lead prosecutor on this case, accompanied by ADA Jim Kraus. (Prosecutions are normally led by ADA’s, rather than by the actual District Attorney.)

The defense here was represented by Attorney Mark Richards, Attorney Corey Chirafisi, and Attorney Natalie Wisco.  It is my understanding that Richards was involved in the Rittenhouse defense quite early, and brought on Chirafisi later—but I expect both consider the other equal co-counsel on the case (much like the Mark O’Mara and Don West legal team that defended George Zimmerman).

Subject Matter of This Hearing

Both the prosecution and the defense had proposed various evidence to which the other had objected, and the admissibility of which was argued before Judge Schroeder.

Prosecution

  1. Video of Rittenhouse intervening in a fist-fight between his sister and another woman (date of event: June 1, 2020).

State:         “This event goes to the defendant’s state of mind in this case, because it shows that his understanding of self-defense, his understanding of the need for self-defense is a certain way, and I think it’s an improper and unjustified use of it. I also think it goes to what I will posit will be a strong theory of state’s case here, which is that the defendant is essentially a teenage vigilante involving himself in things that don’t concern him. And we have a common theme here both with regard to this incident, and the August 10 incident [CVS recording] that’s the subject of our second other acts motion.  The defendant throwing himself into situations that don’t concern him, that he has no complete knowledge of, that no one asked him to be involved in, and using force or threatening to use force in an unjustified, illegal, unwarranted manner.”

Defense:    “[T]he state is asking you or inferring that they’re able to ascertain Mr. Rittenhouse’s state of mind two and a half months prior to the incident. So his state of mind on June 1. And his actions on June 1 somehow play a role in his state of mind on August 25. …  As it relates to motive, if they are trying to establish that he had some motive, two and a half months before, teenagers, teenagers getting into a fistfight, does that make it more or less probable, is it a fact of consequence, that he was in a fight two and a half months earlier, that he did not act in self-defense in this case? Does that make that more or less probable[meaning, is the offered evidence probative]? The answer is it does not. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not it makes it more or less probable, that he acted in self-defense.”

Outcome: Deemed inadmissible. Judge noted if he admitted this evidence “I get reversed” on appeal.  “This to me is clearly propensity evidence. It’s exactly the kind of evidence that the rule [of evidence] is designed to prohibit.”

  1. Video of Rittenhouse comments on apparent theft at CVS store (date of event August 10, 2020)

State:         “The defense motion has acknowledged that the defendant was there, that it’s his words, that he essentially made a statement that he wished he had the same rifle that was used in this incident to kill two people, So he could shoot individuals coming out of the CVS pharmacy. This is 15 days prior to the August 25th incident. So it’s very close in time. And it’s, again, goes to the issues we talked about earlier. This is a, this is a continuing motivation here. The defendant is irresponsibly using his firearm, or threatening to use it, I should say. Talking about using it to shoot individuals who he believes are ostensibly committing a shoplifting offense from CVS in Chicago, he has no ties to the business, he has no role to play there whatsoever. But yet he wants to launch himself into the middle of it with the same gun. And it’s similar to what we have on August 25, your Honor, where the defendant is in our community, with that same gun, and using it in a manner that I think is legally unjustified. So this goes exactly the state of mind, in terms of his understanding of use of force, his understanding of self-defense, self-defense of property, by the use of deadly force is not allowed.”

Defense:    “[The State] describes it as an unjustified use of a weapon and a threat. I would submit to you neither one of those things are actually true. … That video doesn’t show any of that. He didn’t have a weapon. He was sitting in a vehicle, having a conversation with someone else. He never made contact with those people at CVS. If you watch the video, they don’t know, presumably, they don’t know he’s even there. He doesn’t even step from the vehicle to verbally confront them in any way. He doesn’t do anything, he doesn’t open his window, he doesn’t honk the horn. He does nothing, but passively sit and watch what’s happening. So to say this video demonstrates his willingness to insert himself into these situations, that’s untrue. He didn’t insert himself.  He could. But he didn’t. … [W]ords don’t equal action and just to admit it to say, ‘Look, he’s a guy that would shoot at someone,’ that’s [prohibited] propensity evidence.”

Outcome:  Judge declined to deem admissible, as with fist fight video finds this situation and the shootings on August 25 to be “too dissimilar. It becomes [prohibited] propensity evidence.”  Judge will “withhold a final decision with a bias towards refusing the receipt of the evidence,” and noted “If I had to make a decision [now] I would deny this admission of this evidence.”

  1. Photos of Rittenhouse at bar also occupied by purported “Proud Boys” members (date of event January 5, 2021).

State:         “The second part of it that other acts motion is with regard to the incident after a court appearance in January where the defendant goes to a bar in the scene and is serenaded by members of Proud Boys. Now we have since learned that those individuals that were serenading the defendant consists of the higher, highest echelon of the Wisconsin Proud Boys chapter including their leader, their current Sergeant at Arms, their former Sergeant of Arms and other high-ranking members of that organization. This was not a random crossing of paths here in a random bar or a random time where they just happen upon one another. This was something that was coordinated. This is something where Mr. Rittenhouse intended to be there, these other individuals intended to be there.”

Defense:    “For this to be considered by you there must be evidence by a preponderance that on August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse was either a member of the Proud Boys or had loyalties to that to that group. It is no different than you would make a determination if there was, for example, somebody wanted to introduce evidence of a gang membership. … Mr. Binger has provided you no information whatsoever that on the day in question, August 25, that Kyle Rittenhouse had any affiliation with that group at all. He’s asking that you take and allow evidence to be admitted over four months later about a photograph, without any information, that anything related to this case, involved the Proud Boys. There has been nothing.”

Outcome:  Deemed inadmissible, absent evidence of any connection between Rittenhouse and “Proud Boys” to indicate co-location was anything but coincidence on the part of Rittenhouse.  Judge notes that “there’s still no suggestion in the evidence that’s been offered to me that this was anything other than a happenstance occurrence. And even if that isn’t true, whether what the scope of the defendant’s understanding was [of the “Proud Boys” political policies and conduct]”. No such evidence has ever been produced that Rittenhouse was at the time aware others in bar were “Proud Boys” or even that he was aware of “Proud Boys” as a political entity, and it seems unlikely to be produced at this late date.

  1. Evidence that Rittenhouse rifle was purchased with stimulus funds.

Notes:        It should be noted that using stimulus funds to purchase a firearm is perfectly lawful, and if the firearm was purchased unlawfully it doesn’t matter where the funds came from.  Thus, hard to see how use of stimulus funds, even if true, would be useful in determining any disputed issue of fact in the case (e.g., that the evidence is probative).  Also, money is fungible—cash on hand from stimulus is no different than cash on hand from working as a life guard, it’s just cash on hand, each dollar exchangeable for the other.

It was very obvious that Judge Schroeder took an extremely skeptical view of the state’s attempt to introduce this “stimulus funds bought the AR rifle” evidence.

Judge Schroeder:  “The money, the evidence that where the source of the funds, with which Mr. Rittenhouse purchased the firearm, is that he wants to prevent that from being offered. Is that any reason you want to offer that evidence?”

ADA Binger:  “Absolutely, your Honor. The defendant is charged with illegally possessing a firearm. The circumstances under which he possessed that firearm are directly relevant to that charge. So how he obtained it, how we purchased it, the circumstances under which he purchased it, how we paid for it, etc. All of that is relevant. I believe that there’ll be testimony with regard to this. I don’t think there’s any dispute that the defendant turned around and used his stimulus check very shortly thereafter, to go up to Lady Smith, Wisconsin, with his good friend Dominic Black and used, essentially gave the money to Mr. Black, who then purchased it on behalf of the defendant, because the defendant was 17, he can’t legally purchase or own a firearm.”

Judge Schroeder: “What is the source of the funds? How is that relevant?”

ADA Binger: “It’s relevant, Your Honor, because Mr. Black was working essentially as a straw purchaser, your Honor.”

Judge Schroeder: “That’s a separate issue [Black is being prosecuted separately on that allegation], that what he’s asking, that not be allowed, is evidence about fact that he used the stimulus money to buy the gun. Where’s the probative value of that?”

ADA Binger:  “Well, Your Honor, I think it paints the picture for the jury of how this transaction occurred. How does Mr. Rittenhouse come into this money? It’s a lot of money. We’re not talking about 50 bucks here, we’re talking about $800 or thereabouts. So it’s a large sum of money.”

Judge Schroeder: “Actually, you’re providing the explanation. I would think that you’d want to offer “where’s he get this money?” I don’t, I don’t understand–“

ADA Binger: “We can leave the question open for the jury, Your Honor. And we can let them try and speculate if they want to. But since we already know the answer, why not tell them the truth?”

Judge Schroeder: “Why tell them anything? I mean, he got, he had money, certainly had a job as a lifeguard or something, I read.  … What is the relevance of the stimulus money being used for that as opposed to being used for drugs? Or for a musical instrument or a boombox? … I do think the defense is correct. That it doesn’t sound to have much relevance. I also don’t … you’re suggesting that the reason he’s trying to do it is to denigrate the defendant for not using the stimulus money for a more altruistic purpose. I would imagine that some percentage of the American people who got money, used it for altruistic purposes, but I would bet most didn’t, including some who probably spent it on illegal drugs.”

Defense Richards:  “I just don’t see how it goes to any element that’s in dispute. I mean, it’s just, I think it is to denigrate him, to try and paint him bad.”

Judge Schroeder:  “I think it’s gonna elongate the trial. So I mean, it’s, you know, I, I, I’m not gonna give you a definitive ruling now, because it’s not in my estimation, it’s not that objectionable. But it’s also not that probative. And I tell you, what, we’re not going to spend as much time at the trial as we are today talking about this, because we want to move this case along. So if he asks, and you object, you’re going to get a one word response as to whether I decided at that given moment in time, whether it’s, and that may have something to do with the pace at which we’re moving. So I just don’t want to get bogged down.”

Outcome:  Judge declined to deem admissible; will make final decision in the moment during the trial if issue arises; describes evidence as “not that probative.” Judge Schroeder: “What is the source of the funds? How is that relevant? … [The] fact that he used the stimulus money to buy the gun. Where’s the probative value of that?  What is the relevance of the stimulus money being used for that as opposed to being used for drugs? Or for a musical instrument or a boombox?  … I do think the defense is correct. That it doesn’t sound to have much relevance. I also don’t … you’re suggesting that the reason he’s trying to do it is to denigrate the defendant for not using the stimulus money for a more altruistic purpose. I would imagine that some percentage of the American people who got money, used it for altruistic purposes, but I would bet most didn’t, including some who probably spent it on illegal drugs.”

  1. Motion to compel release of names of donors to Rittenhouse legal defense funds Free Kyle and Fight Back Foundation.

The State here is arguing that the defense should be compelled to produce the names of everyone who contributed to any of the Rittenhouse legal defense funds, particularly Free Kyle (managed by Kyle’s mother) and the Fight Back Foundation (managed, in part, by Attorney Lin Wood).  Their rationale for this disclosure is that they need to ensure that no contributor is seated on the jury.

The normal way to address such a concern, of course, is to simply ask prospective jurors under oath during voir dire if they made such a contribution—their response under oath is presumed to be truthful.

A natural concern about providing these names of donors, of course, is that the list of names would be leaked to the media and anti-Rittenhouse factions (but I repeat myself) and the information used to harass and attempt to damage those contributors (e.g., try to get the fired).  We’ve already seen a Virginia police officer fired for having made a $25 contribution to a Rittenhouse defense fund.  If that were the fate awaiting contributors generally, one would expect these legal defense funds to have great difficulties raising money, thus damaging Rittenhouse’s ability to mount a legal defense and making the prosecution’s job that much easier.

There wasn’t much back and forth between the State and the defense on this issue, because Judge Schroeder more or less took it by the neck and killed it.

Outcome:  Judge Schroeder declined to compel either Free Kyle or Fight Back Foundation to provide donor names.  Judge Schroeder: “By what authority can I order a citizen to provide you [the State] … to provide material to the defense attorney, or to the defendant, that is her proprietary information, and command them to cough it up? The law is they can have I can make them [the defense] produce what they have. I cannot compel them to produce something [they don’t have in their possession], nor do I know of any authority that I can make them make her [Kyle’s mother managing Free Kyle] give it to them.  … I do not think I have the legal authority to compel the defendant to procure information from somebody else who owns it and provide it to you, or to the court even. I don’t think I have that authority.”

Defense

  1. Evidence of felony pedophile convictions of Joseph Rosenbaum (first man to attack Rittenhouse).

If Rosenbaum’s felony convictions had been known to Rittenhouse at the time, that knowledge might have informed Rittenhouse’s decisions in self-defense, and so be relevant to the reasonableness of Rittenhouse’s state of mind. That said, Rittenhouse was not aware of Rosenbaum’s convictions, so they cannot be relevant to Rittenhouse’s state of mind.

Rosenbaum’s status as a convicted felon, however, could theoretically be relevant to Rosenbaum’s state of mind, his intent—and that is essentially the defense argument for why those convictions should be admissible as evidence.

In brief, the defense is arguing that Rosenbaum attacked Rittenhouse in order to steal the AR rifle, because as a convicted felon Rosenbaum was prohibited from simply purchasing a firearm legally.  This would provide a motive for Rosenbaum’s attack, and buttress the defense narrative that it was Rosenbaum who was the initial aggressor in this event.

Note that the specific detail that the convictions were for child rape would almost certainly not be admissible, because of its prejudicial nature, and the defense was not arguing for that level of specificity.  They were merely arguing for admissibility of felony convictions, generally, without reference to the child rape aspect of the convictions.

The State not unreasonably counter-argues that admission of the convictions as circumstantial evidence of an intent by Rosenbaum to steal the rifle is pure speculation, and therefore not relevant, absent any direct evidence of any such intent on the part of Rosenbaum.

Defense:  “Your Honor. [Rosenbaum’s] status as a felony offender is relevant in this case, because based upon the facts of that evening and his conduct.  When Mr. Rosenbaum was on the scene on the 25th he made threats to numerous people, including my client … , where he specifically said, if I get you alone, I’m going to kill you. … I received that in discovery from the government. It was from an FBI agent who interviewed [witnesses]. Mr. Rosenbaum made other threats about not being afraid to go back to jail. He stated that I just got out that day, which was overheard by my client. … Mr. Rosenbaum, because of his status as a convicted felon is unable to lawfully possess a firearm, could not purchase a firearm. He saw this as the opportunity to possess a firearm.”

State:  “Kyle Rittenhouse knew none of this, knew none of this, at the time of this incident, had no idea that Joseph Rosenbaum had been ever been convicted as a felon, had no idea he was a sex offender, or anything like that. So this doesn’t go to Kyle Rittenhouse’s state of mind and that’s important for self-defense. This is not subjective issue, this is not a reasonable issue. It does not go to self-defense at all because there’s no evidence Kyle Rittenhouse knew anything about Joseph Rosenbaum’s history that night.  … [There are alternative explanations that] are far more relevant in time, plausible, and consistent with the evidence than this obscure notion, this implausible and irrational notion, this unreasonable notion that Mr. Rosenbaum decided this was the night that I need to go get myself a gun illegally on the street and that’s the person I’m going to take it from. I mean, Mr. Rosenbaum, to say that the best way for him to go get a gun that night is to approach an openly armed individual carrying an assault rifle slung around his shoulder and take it from him by force. It strains credibility, your Honor.”

Outcome:  Deemed inadmissible.  Judge finds defense rationale too speculative absent direct evidence consistent with that characterization of Rosenbaum’s intent.  Would have been an easy denial, but was complicated by evidence of Rosenbaum’s statements about just getting out of jail made in presence of Rittenhouse.  Judge Schroeder:  “I started by saying that I had extreme bias against the defense position. But I’m struggling now a little bit because I’m hearing about this statement allegedly made by Mr. Rosenbaum about having just gotten out that day and not afraid to go back. If that is in fact, testimony that’s going to be offered at the trial, it does put a different light on it.”  Nevertheless, as noted, Judge Schroeder ultimately deemed this evidence inadmissible.

  1. Expert witness testimony by use-of-force expert John R. Black.

Notes:  It is notable that Judge Schroeder seems unimpressed with the very notion of the relevance or appropriateness of a use-of-force expert witness at all, from either party.  Judge Schroeder:  “I think we need to have a full-fledged Daubert hearing on this. And I need to see the report that would be on page one, is I have not seen the report. What is it 28 pages? I haven’t seen it. And I don’t know what it says. And I’ll have a better understanding of what you propose to prove. Certainly the law, is that when it comes to use of force? No. When it comes to use of force, I’m the expert. Not because I’m so bright, but because the Supreme Court says I’m the expert, and I’m the only one who’s going to be defining what is reasonable under the law, what constitutes self-defense. So I won’t, I’m not going to have competition in the courtroom. So we’re not going to have any evidence on that subject. On the other hand, just as in sexual assault cases, we get, state brings in witnesses to prove a variety of things from people who are experienced in the field. So this use-of-force may have kernels that would be admissible. And I won’t know that until I see the report and have the hearing.”

Outcome:  Daubert hearing October 5, 2021, (also on state’s expert) A Daubert hearing is one in which the scientific credibility and relevance of a proposed expert is established (or not).

  1. Objection to state witness list of 175 witnesses.

Notes: Each party is supposed to provide the other party with a list of their intended witnesses, so that the other side can prepare beforehand  to cross-examine them.  Prosecutors sometimes pull the ploy of padding their witness list to make it impossible for the defense to adequately prepare.  Long standing case law is supposed to prohibit this practice, but it appears the prosecution was doing exactly this padding in this case.  Also notable that the prosecution appears to be unnecessarily complicating the ability of the defense to locate the state’s witnesses.  My sense on this issue was that the Judge was giving the state an opportunity to “make this right” (my words).  I would not expect the Judge to be understanding if the prosecutors continue to obfuscate on this issue.

Outcome:  Ambiguous outcome, informal (?) reduction to 27 “primary” state witnesses.  I’m not sure what this means—are the other some 150 witnesses on the list still subject to being called and trial, such that the defense needs to prepare for them?—and I’m not sure anybody else at the hearing does either—so there was really nothing definitive done with this issue at the hearing. I expect we’ll hear more about this issue moving forward, in subsequent pre-trial hearings, if not also actually at trial if one of the “non-primary” witnesses is actually called.

  1. Motion to dismiss unlawful weapons possession charge.

Notes: This involves the class A misdemeanor weapons charge brought against Rittenhouse by the state, essentially arguing that his possession of the AR rifle that night was unlawful given his age of 17 years.

I’ve previously done an extensive legal analysis of this issue, and it’s my professional legal opinion that, under Wisconsin’s admittedly very complicated gun possession laws, Kyle’s possession of the rifle was entirely lawful.  You can find that legal analysis here:  Rittenhouse: Gun Possession, Even if Unlawful, Irrelevant to Self-Defense Claim.

It seems the defense agrees that Kyle’s possession of the rifle falls within Wisconsin law, and wants this charge dismissed for lack of probable cause to support the charge.

At the time of this September 17 evidentiary hearing the defense had filed its motion to dismiss the charge, but the state had not yet filed its response in support of the charge.

One might argue that the State’s failure to be prepared to defend that charge means it should have been dismissed outright for failure to show probable cause to support the charge—however, this particular hearing was an evidentiary hearing, not a probable cause hearing.  The State has not yet formally submitted their response to the defense motion to dismiss this charge.  As a practical matter it seems that Judge Schroeder prefers to make his decision on this issue only after being fully informed on both side’s positions.   Until he has seen both sides of the argument, a decision on whether probable cause exists to support the gun charge is arguably premature.

Outcome:  No decision until Judge Schroeder can review state’s motion supporting that charge (not yet submitted to the court).

Voir Dire Issues

Jury “selection” procedure, and jury questionnaire.

Notes:        The Judge seemed unconvinced that a pre-voir dire questionnaire would be all that useful in this case.  Both the state and defense, however, felt strongly that the questionnaire was important.  Each side had submitted proposed questions to the judge, who will consolidate approved questions into a unified questionnaire sent to prospective jurors.

Outcome:  100-150 person jury pool; questionnaire likely to be used despite Judge Schroeder’s misgivings.

Other Points of Interest

  1. Plastic Bag Thrown by Joseph Rosenbaum at Kyle Rittenhouse

I found this exchange interesting for two reasons. First, because it illustrates the prosecution rather flagrantly mischaracterizing the evidence.  Second, because Judge Schroeder’s response suggests he’s not likely to put up with such nonsense.

Specifically, ADA Binger argues that the bag thrown at Rittenhouse by Joseph Rosenbaum could not possibly have been reasonably perceived as a deadly force threat that would justify Kyle’s use of deadly defensive force because “obviously” a mere plastic bag thrown at someone cannot cause death or serious bodily injury.

Of course, it’s rather obvious from the available video showing the trajectory of the thrown bag that it did not fly through the air as would a merely empty plastic bag—it’s trajectory requires that there was some substantive item within the bag.  ADA Binger pretends this not to be the case until challenged directly on this point by Judge Schroeder.

ADA Binger:  “Mr. Rosenbaum is running through the 63rd street Car Source chasing after Mr. Rittenhouse, he throws a plastic bag, it’s not a metallic bag, it’s a plastic bag, towards Mr. Rittenhouse, which lands harmlessly 10 feet behind Mr. Rittenhouse. … It flies into the air it lands about 10 feet behind the defendant, the defendant is running away. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that it was a risk to cause bodily harm at any level to the defendant. I suspect Mr. Rosenbaum threw it out of frustration or anger. But it’s, but it’s not a reasonable threat to the defendant’s safety.”

Judge Schroeder:  “I’ve read that have read that over and over again about the plastic bag being thrown somebody. Now I’m, when I if I throw a plastic bag at you it’s I guarantee it’s not going to hit you. And that would be true if you’re standing two feet ahead of me. So I guess I’m interested in what the motion, what the images show about the course of the plastic bag. I mean, did it just project a foot and then drop to the ground? Or did it act like a missile in the direction of the accused?”

ADA Binger:  “There was something inside the plastic bag.”

Judge Schroeder:  “There was something inside, okay.”

ADA Binger:  “We have never been able to determine exactly what it was because it was not recovered in evidence.”

Defense Richard:  “The bag incident [ADA Binger] can, the state can talk about it not being or meaning anything. It was a metallic bag you can clearly see it fly through the air, lit up from the lights that were in that area. And the client will testify that he had seen Mr. Rosenbaum, this is on video right in front of Car Source #2, walking down the road with a huge chain that had been taken off a trailer that Mr. Rosenbaum and other individuals have threatened. So he knows he has something metallic.”

  1. FBI “Drone” Footage of Rosenbaum/Rittenhouse “Interaction”

I found this exchange interesting because it appears to involve video evidence of a purported interaction between Rosenbaum and Rittenhouse that was only recently made available to the defense (there was some dispute over the timing of this), and not yet substantively reviewed by the defense.  In the absence of an informed review by the defense, the prosecution’s characterization may well prove to be a wild exaggeration in favor of the state that will prove illusory upon closer examination—such is common in cases where the prosecution lacks strong direct evidence and therefore seeks to make more out of ancillary evidence than is reasonable. Here’s that exchange

Defense Richards: “Your Honor, our client leaves from 60th and Sheridan with a fire extinguisher. He runs or trots down Sheridan Road, passing Mr. Rosenbaum, this is all on video. There is no interaction between my client and Mr. Rosenbaum. Then Mr. Rosenbaum gives chase and it’s in the video where Kyle drops the fire extinguisher right as he enters the lot of Car Source #3 with Mr. Rosenbaum in hot pursuit of my client. There’s nothing on the tape, any tape I’ve seen, if they have something I haven’t seen. I’d love to see it, where he has any interaction with Mr. Rosenberg. And the State says that he was down there earlier with Mr. Baulch. I don’t know when they’re talking about what when he left the 59th Street Car Source and went down. The whole thing is on video. He goes to that parking lot, which would be the south west corner of 60th and Sheridan. There’s somebody who confronts Kyle and he walks away from them goes over to the gas station. That’s where the call comes in. He’s never down to the 63rd Street Car Source. He never has any interaction with Mr. Rosenbaum until Mr. Rosenbaum gives chase to Kyle. That’s all on video.”

ADA Binger: I’ll submit that Mr. Richards is right, he hasn’t seen what I’m referring to, although he’s got access to it. But on this particular evening, the FBI had a fixed wing aircraft hovering above Kenosha. We have the footage from that. Counsel  can obtain it from joint services, I emailed counsel a few weeks ago and let them know about it. “

Defense Richards: Yesterday.  Yesterday.

ADA Binger:   “It shows—no, I can pull up the email, Mark, I emailed you several weeks ago and let you know about it. The video is an infrared video. And what it shows –

Judge Schroeder:  Well, let’s get settled when you, video, when you sent it to him.

Defense Richards: I haven’t received it yet. We’re picking it up after today’s hearing.

Judge Schroeder:  But I mean, when was, when were you notified that it’s available?

ADA Binger:   I emailed Mr. Richards on–

Defense Wisco:     September 3, Your Honor. And this was also emailed to me directly. I was out of the office.

Judge Schroeder:  OK. Go ahead.

ADA Binger:  What that footage shows, and it’s an infrared video because this is nighttime, so infrared is the best way to capture what’s going on. What it shows is Mr. Rosenbaum running south towards the 63rd street Car Source location. Behind him probably 20 to 30 feet is the defendant. Mr. Rosenbaum, upon reaching that location immediately runs near a parked car. Mr. Rittenhouse follows him, runs to the other side of that parked car and appears to turn and confront Mr. Rosenbaum. I will note that where Mr. Rittenhouse stops near that parked car is exactly where that fire extinguisher is later found. Okay, so Mr. Rosenbaum hadn’t even gotten to that car source yet. Hadn’t had the opportunity to do anything, hadn’t done any fires got a property damage did nothing. Mr. Rittenhouse is following him with the fire extinguisher probably because he thinks Mr. Rosenbaum’s going to do something. But Mr. Rosenbaum never does. What happens is when they arrive at the Car Source location, Mr. Rittenhouse turns and confronts Mr. Rosenbaum from across this parked car, says something to him. Of course we can’t see, it’s a video from an airplane. So we don’t know what happened. But we know immediately upon that confrontation, Mr. Rosenbaum then runs around behind a parked car. And the chase starts at that point in the parking lot. But prior to that Mr. Rosenbaum was running, first, Mr. Rittenhouse was running after him. And I would note he’s running after him with an AR 15 rifle openly displayed and Mr. Rosenbaum, at no time has a weapon. In this entire incident. We know this because obviously the defense wanted to introduce he was trying to get a weapon, so he never had a weapon at any point. So Mr. Rosenbaum is being chased by an armed individual who is assuming Mr. Rosenbaum is going to do something wrong and wants to stop him and does in fact confront Mr. Rosenbaum at that parking lot. That is the context here. And the FBI video gives us the context here that we didn’t previously have.

Judge Schroeder:  Okay. And you said that the Mr. Rosenbaum, then circled the car. And then the chase began and who’s chasing whom?

ADA Binger:   At that point, then Mr. Rosenbaum goes around behind the car starts to chase Mr. Rittenhouse. They run into the street briefly then cut across the car source parking lot. It’s at that point that Mr. Rosenbaum throws that plastic bag towards Mr. Rittenhouse. They then run in between some parked cars and Mr. Rittenhouse shoots and kills Mr. Rosenbaum.

Caution!:  Having not seen this video myself, and knowing that the defense also hadn’t yet seen it as of this hearing and so can’t make its own informed characterization of what this video shows, I would urge you to take the State’s characterization of this video with an enormous grain of salt.

OK, folks, that’s all I have for you on this topic.

Until next time:

Remember

You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

Stay safe!

–Andrew

Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

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Comments

He drove to Kenosha too. That implies he has a car, purchased with some sort of money. And that he buys gas, also purchased. And eats when in Kenosha, so also money. Perhaps he has clothes, also purchased. (well, I hope he has clothes) Maybe some money put away for school. Or maybe a few books, and a computer, etc…

But somehow the prosecution wants the jury to believe that money is not fungible. Right.


     
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    n.n in reply to georgfelis. | October 9, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    They’re trying to claim that the stimulus was distributed with the intent to fund… what? self-defense, I suppose. A lateral attempt to speak truth through projection a la Whitmer-closet, 106, etc. However, he was not motivated to attack people…. persons, until he was attacked. His express purpose was to act as a deterrent to property damage and looting, and give aid to people…. persons affected, and given the widespread violence and damage caused by the nationwide movement, this was a probable event. His measured response to not plausible, not probable, not imminent, but immediate use of lethal force was the model of self-defense.


 
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OldProf2 | October 9, 2021 at 11:25 pm

Some states require a duty to retreat if possible in the face of an assault. Others do not. In this case, it seems that Rittenhouse was retreating as much as he possibly could, in fact running for his life. He almost certainly would not have fired if his assailants had not chased him down, smacked him with a skateboard, tried to take his rifle, and come after him with a handgun.

He tried to de-escalate the confrontation by retreating. His assailants are the ones who continued to pursue him, and forced him to defend himself. I might see some BLM or Antifa jurors voting to convict, but I can’t see all twelve of an unbiased jury voting to convict.


     
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    Ben Kent in reply to OldProf2. | October 9, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    This is not about self-defense. In the eyes of BLM / Antifa it is about revenge and power. Marxists in WI and elsewhere will do anything they can to hurt this guy and anyone who tries to help him. That’s why they got one of the donors to his defense fund fired from their job. They cannot allow an opponent of their Marxist ideology to go free.

    In fact, I think Kyle’s life in danger – whether he is found guilty or acquitted.


 
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henrybowman | October 9, 2021 at 11:31 pm

I’m so glad to see that Andrew will be covering the Rittenhouse trial. I consider it an important case of whether the government is still willing to allow any American the right of self-defense without the imprimatur of a governor in the form of a pardon.

“EVIDENCE THAT RITTENHOUSE RIFLE WAS PURCHASED WITH STIMULUS FUNDS.”

I don’t even understand what this means. Rittenhouse’s rifle was safe at home in another state. The rifle used in the shooting belonged to a friend of Rittenhouse who lived in Wisconsin. Which rifle are they talking about here? (Plus, I wonder how many abortions were funded by federal stimulus funds, which I understand should be technically even more illegal?)

The “straw purchase” allegation also confuses me. A straw purchase is defined by the BATF as “Purchasing a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one, or for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction… Buying a gun for another person who is prohibited…” Kyle was not prohibited by law from possessing or owning a gun, only from buying a gun. For that combination of law to make any sense at all, there has to be a mechanism for someone not prohibited from buying to buy, and then transfer to someone allowed to own. Since it is a legal transaction, the ultimate source of the money should not matter, as it would be a paperwork crime at best.

Just like the Chauvin trial, this is nothing more than a political prosecution.

That’s where we are in the late America, political prosecutions.


 
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Olinser | October 10, 2021 at 1:10 am

Actually watched Branca’s video on this last night.

The prosecution was CATASTROPHICALLY unprofessional and unprepared, and that they’re trying to slow-roll evidence and dump it on the defense at the last minute.

It’s pathetically obvious that this is a political persecution, that they have no actual evidence to support any case, and that they’re going to rely on getting a bunch of woke morons from Portland to convict him regardless of the evidence.


     
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    Dathurtz in reply to Olinser. | October 10, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Why don’t judges hold ADAs accountable for this stuff?


       
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      TX-rifraph in reply to Dathurtz. | October 10, 2021 at 8:03 am

      “In July 2020, Daniel Anderl, the son of federal Judge Esther Salas and attorney Mark Anderl, was shot dead by a gunman at the front door of the family’s New Jersey home.” And the subsequent coverup by the media and federal “law enforcement.”


     
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    Andy in reply to Olinser. | October 10, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    CATASTROPHICALLY unprofessional and unprepared

    This also describes the Chauvin prosecution. Didn’t work out well for him in the end.

    A lynching is a lynching. While I appreciate the legal analysis of the facts, law, process, we’ve ceased being a nation of laws. Sadly I’m afraid this will be another lynching.


 
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ruralguy | October 10, 2021 at 1:23 am

Like the Chauvin trial, the State has spent a fortune prosecuting this case, which is not comparable to what they’ve spent on other similar cases. Someone authorized this expenditure for reasons that differed from those other cases. When these ulterior motives enter into prosecutions that are outside of the normal proceedings, it’s an abuse of process. The Defense should charge the prosecutor with abuse of process.


 
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Colonel Travis | October 10, 2021 at 2:29 am

I’m a member of Branca’s site and have been reading/watching all this Rittenhouse stuff since the beginning, and I agree with Andrew that, based on what we know, this looks like a valid self-defense case. Unfortunately, when a jury is required to decide such a thing, there are no guarantees. This guy could very well go to jail.

Which leads me to this, and it’s got nothing to do with this case in and of itself, but everything to do with why we even have a case: Rittenhouse was an idiot for putting himself in this situation. Gee, I’m gonna drive out of state to defend a car lot with a GD rifle during a BLM protest. What could go wrong!

We live in a country where politics and emotion rule the day. More and more, prosecutors are coming into the picture who don’t give a shit about what’s right and proper. It’s all politics all the time. I don’t see it getting better any time soon, it will probably only get worse.

Being stupid doesn’t mean you can’t claim self-defense and win your case, and there are clearly times when your life could be on the line and there was no way you could have avoided it under any circumstances.

But good Lord – look at the mess this guy put himself in and two other people are dead.

Use your freaking brain.


     
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    Dathurtz in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 6:55 am

    Yeah. What a moron. Trying to do good in the face of evil. The dummy. Shoulda sat on his couch and watched football instead.


       
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      JohnSmith100 in reply to Dathurtz. | October 10, 2021 at 9:02 am

      All Rittenhouse is guilty of is being young, idealistic and a good Samaritan. He handled himself exceptionally well. Society needs more like him.


       
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      Colonel Travis in reply to Dathurtz. | October 10, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      Yes, he should have stayed home. Did he have to be there? Nope. Should he have been there? Nope.

      How about you go kill people (in 100% legit, valid self-defense) at a BLM protest and see how, ah, good your life turns. What’s stopping you? Get out there with your rifle and start roaming around.

      People like you have no concept of what it means to kill someone, and all that follows from that. Legal, societal, psychological.

      You’ll gladly cheer someone else to do your brave work for you. That’s how you warriors roll.


         
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        n.n in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 2:33 pm

        No one is cheering for risk and death. People… persons are supporting a man who made the choice to mitigate risk, death, and grant aid to those affected. The same as the support given to people… persons who stood/stand against slavery and diversity [dogma]. Who protest demos-cracy aborted in darkness (when you can get away with it). People… persons in the community, in law enforcement, and in the military who stand when others take a knee. This is not advocacy, but support for these people… persons who made a choice.


         
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        Dathurtz in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 2:38 pm

        You know very little about me and my life.

        I am thankful that men like you are not the ones held up as examples.


         
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        Dathurtz in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 6:30 pm

        Okay, buddy. I don’t know why you feel the need to say you carry a gun. It makes me glad you don’t look trouble. That describes millions of people.


         
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        Gremlin1974 in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 7:38 pm

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

        “Charlotte:
        You have done nothing to be ashamed of.

        Benjamin Martin:
        I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed.”
        – Movie “The Patriot”

        IMO, The only real problem you have is that you are a coward and therefore see Rittenhouse’s actions through a cowards eyes. It is typical of cowards to naysay those that show courage.


         
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        DaveGinOly in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 11, 2021 at 4:24 pm

        And a lot of people stupidly stormed the beaches of Normandy when they should have stayed home.


     
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    AnAdultInDiapers in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 8:34 am

    “People are trying to cause damage and burn down businesses, including the one I work for. Should I stand aside and let them, or use my first aid training to render assistance to those that need it, and if possible put out any fires before they cause severe damage?”

    I will not condemn those that choose not to stand aside.

    “The rioters have demonstrated a willingness to attack and harm those that thwart their illegal aims. Should I turn up defenceless and vulnerable, or exercise my rights in a legal and proportionate manner?”

    Again, how can I condemn someone for taking sensible precautions?

    Now add in that he was attacked, that he did need to defend himself, and his decision not to attend in a vulnerable state has been proven a good one.


     
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    jeffweimer in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 11:22 am

    As I understand, he was already there for his job as a lifeguard, so he didn’t go to the site specifically for the riot. He decided to go after work, and brought a first-aid kit hoping to help that way. He was handed the rifle and asked to protect a car dealership, but he ended up at a different one later (?). He left that and grabbed a fire extinguisher because there was a report of a fire (or someone setting one) at the gas station. He then got into it with Rosenbaum and the other two got involved chasing him down.

      One of the key bits that keeps getting left out is he was there as part of a *group* defending the dealership. He got separated from the group when attempting to provide assistance elsewhere (as I remember, could be wrong) and the police prevented him from going back to his group because they were attempting to close down the street. So as he was returning to his vehicle, the creep in question chased him down and attacked him.

      The only error in judgement that Kyle made was getting separated from his group. He was a good concerned citizen attempting to help protect property with a similarly motivated group of peers. The two deceased and one mauled perps were all three out that night in order to cause civil disorder and assault.


     
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    Milhouse in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 11:49 am

    It’s called civic responsibility. Standing up for someone else. Defending the victim. Not being like the people (if any) who saw Kitty Genovese in trouble and refused to do anything. I doubt I’d have the courage to do what this young man did, but I wish I did, and I admire him for it.


     
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    Char Char Binks in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Courage looks like stupidity to a coward.


     
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    Andy in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 10, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    You are 100% right. This will be a lynching.

    Antifa/ BLM get sanctioned to burn down cities. We are not allowed to defend those cities. We must stand aside with our hands in our pockets and watch it burn.

    That’s justice.


     
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    henrybowman in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 11, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    “Gee, I’m gonna drive out of state to defend a car lot with a GD rifle during a BLM protest. What could go wrong!”
    Rittenhouse drove “out of state” as far as I need to drive from my home to get to my closest supermarket, gas station or hospital. When “out of state” is that close to you, the border becomes experientially irrelevant. I consider myself an RI native, despite the fact that I was technically born in MA because the hospital there was closer. Growing up, the restaurants, attractions, and shops we frequented were evenly split on either side of the line. So I know from personal experience exactly how little the state line figured into Kyle’s mental attention.


 
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Arminius | October 10, 2021 at 3:18 am

I recall that in the Chauvin case a juror, in my opinion, lied to get on the jury.. As his social media posts (or was it his uncle’s account?) showed him at a #BLM rally in D.C. in #BLM regalia. He claimed that he was just there to be a tourist and he thought it was an MLK jr. rally (again, I call B.S.) He was one of those who admitted that he was already biased against Chauvin but of course uttered the magic words, “but I can be fair and impartial.” HIs comments later to a couple of black radio hosts who interviewed him indicated otherwise. He couldn’t understand why the other jurors even had to deliberate about any of the evidence. He walked into that jury room ready to convict.

My assessment was that he walked into the courtroom ready to convict. It might have been this guy, or it might have been another juror, who said during voire dire that he wanted to be on the jury to essentially make history.

I can assure you that there are a lot of Antifa/#BLM members and fellow travelers who want to be on the Rittenhouse jury to make history. And to intimidate other jurors as we all know, or if we didn’t know before the Chauvin trial, any juror in this case will have to have their own personal safety as well as that of their families’ weighing on their decision.

Of course, if I’m correct that the Chauvin juror lied to get on that jury then they’ll do the same here. Hopefully the pretrial juror questionnaire will root out these miscreants. A full criminal background check needs to be done on all of them as well as these witnesses (I don’t know how much a National Agency Check costs, but it can’t be cheap) as well as checking all the social media accounts and the media accounts of any relatives.

I don’t see how any testimony from any of the active participants in these Kenosha riots can be permitted. If they can riot, loot, commit arson, as well as assault and get away with it, surely they’ll believe they can get away with perjury.


     
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    AnAdultInDiapers in reply to Arminius. | October 10, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Concerning your last point, if Alfredo Xi is called to the witness box and asked to describe the scenes he saw during the shootings that night, how are you planning to determine whether he was “an active participant” or that he engaged in any of “riot, loot, commit arson as well as assault”?

    Ok, there’ll be a chance to ask, “Could you point yourself out on the video” but unless the video in evidence shows illegal acts it actually supports a claim of, “I was peacefully protesting” or the frequent, “I was there to document things in a journalistic manner” or even, “I was there to prevent property damage and render first aid where required.”

    Which is, after all, the position of the defendant. It’s not likely the defence will be challenging that as a reason to be present.


 
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randian | October 10, 2021 at 4:57 am

It’s unfortunate the defense can’t point out the nakedly political nature of this prosecution by asking during the trial why Grosskruetz hasn’t been charged with felony assault. Of course we all know why, the attempted murder charge against Rittenhouse is non-tenable when the purported victim has been charged with felony assault on Rittenhouse.


     
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    henrybowman in reply to randian. | October 10, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    What I want to know is why Grosskreutz hasn’t been charged with felon in possession of a firearm? Not only is it 100% clear from the videos, witness testimony, and even prosecution’s very own description of the incident, but Grosskreutz had been dinged before on this same charge, making him a repeat offender.


       
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      AnAdultInDiapers in reply to henrybowman. | October 11, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      I read one report that suggested that he was in fact holding a replica non-functioning ‘toy’ that merely looked like a firearm.

      Sadly the truth is difficult to discover.


         
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        henrybowman in reply to AnAdultInDiapers. | October 11, 2021 at 2:51 pm

        Right. He pulled it out just as he came within kicking distance of Rittenhouse, because he wanted to confront him with a toy. Rittenhouse, the guy with the perfectly working rifle that had already fatally capped two people. That makes perfect sense.


 
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TX-rifraph | October 10, 2021 at 7:59 am

Will the outcome of this case be based on the law or on political power? Does the judge need harsh judgement or protection from extortion?

I suggest the unpreparedness of the prosecution is not a failure but a deliberate tactic and indicates that the outcome is already determined. It just needs to be dressed up for the dance and the resulting passive verbal complaints by the good people. I hope the valuable sunlight provided by LI and Andrew (doing God’s work) result in my cynical prognosis being wrong.


     
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    Colonel Travis in reply to TX-rifraph. | October 10, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    The prosecution is legitimately inept. Andrew went over this in a previous video on his site, Even the judge wasn’t impressed.

    The problem here is that all bets are off when you have a trial. Rittenhouse ticked every box for self-defense, but a politically-motivated jury could say the opposite.


 
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guyjones | October 10, 2021 at 8:18 am

The de facto “crime” that Rittenhouse is being charged with is being a white male conservative who used lawful deadly force in defense of his life, against the murderous predations and intentions of multiple Dhimmi-crat terrorist-thugs. This isn’t a crime stated in the Wisconsin Criminal Code, naturally, but, it is one in the Dhimmi-crats’ unwritten playbook.


     
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    Char Char Binks in reply to guyjones. | October 10, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Rittenhouse has a very good chance of acquittal. I’m more worried about the McMichaels, and Bryan, getting a fair trial The McMichaels were attempting a lawful citizen’s arrest, and ahmaud arbery clearly ran to the gun in an attempt to wrest it from Gregory McMichael to murder him and his father.


 
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texansamurai | October 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm

don’t know all of the details of the rittenhouse event but it is different in the extreme vis a vis the blatant miscarriage of justice imposed on chauvin

rittenhouse WAS retreating/fleeing and was PURSUED by others intending to do him physical harm/kill him–simply undeniable by anyone

how he chose to respond/react/prevent his likely serious injury or death is his choice/his right to determine–also undeniable by anyone

the progs had best be careful– if they succeed in railroading this young man they’re setting a rather lethal standard for self-defense as in, “if they’re going to charge me with murder anyway, might as well make it legitimate”–ie, they’re giving those who choose/are compelled to defend themselves nothing to lose

“I would imagine that some percentage of the American people who got money, used it for altruistic purposes…”

Rittenhouse ridded society of two scumbags and taught a third a lesson he’ll never forget.

Seems plenty altruistic to me.


 
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DLDarrow | October 10, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Can anyone explain why Rittenhouse would not request a bench trial?

    Rittenhouse can REQUEST a bench trial all he wants–but under Wisconsin law he cannot DEMAND a bench trial. The court and, more importantly, the prosecution would have to agree to a bench trial. This prosecution would never concede to a bench trial, as it would doom any prospect for a runaway jury conviction–which is, really, the prosecution’s only hope.


       
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      ruralguy in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 10, 2021 at 10:17 pm

      If a jury reflects the American adult population, which has a mean reading comprehension at the 7th grade level, how can the legal system justify a jury’s rulings? We hire licensed lawyers who receive years of training in law, to settle disputes over facts and law, yet, we entrust rulings to adults who cannot comprehend any abstractions at all. Quite simply, a quick browse of any Next-door neighbor internet site demonstrates the average American has no ability to settle a dispute over facts and law. Am I missing something — it makes no sense to me.

        A reasonable objection to the current jury system. So, what’s your alternative?


           
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          ruralguy in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 11, 2021 at 12:51 am

          In both civil and criminal cases, the opposing attorneys should be able to settle disputes over facts and law, through repeated exchanges of legal memorandums, as is commonly done in civil cases. If they can’t resolve the disputes, then it should be resolved by a judge. In all cases, the procedure should be reviewed by the court to assure quality assurance (police the procedures used to resolve differences). I add the quality-assurance policing step, because in civil cases, the effort often devolves into a slugfest in seeing who can incur the largest legal costs before the other party screams “uncle.” At least that occurred in my three large civil cases that dragged on for 2-4 years, each. So, I’m truly puzzled. Why can’t criminal procedures use the civil model?

          I’d suggest there’s a reason the procedures that are practical to the civil justice system, where both parties have some interest in avoiding trial if only because of cost, are impractical in the criminal justice system, where the prosecution is going to be on trial on one case or another, anyway, incurs no meangingful cost for going to trial on any particular case, and so has little practical incentive to not pursue a case they believe will yield substantial political capital even if the case is entirely lacking in legal merits and is unlikely to be won.


         
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        VetHusbandFather in reply to ruralguy. | October 11, 2021 at 7:17 pm

        The biggest issue here is not the reading comprehension level of the average American, but the fact that it is now impossible to have a jury who has not been exposed to biased media narratives as well as the total moral bankruptcy of the left. It’s no surprise that the leftists were willing to lie about their impartiality in order to get selected for the Chauvin jury, afterall these are the same people that think violence is justified against people simply for voting for trump, and that theft and destruction of property are acceptable against “the rich.”


 
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Capsaicin_Addict | October 11, 2021 at 10:05 am

Maybe they could move it to Chicago and do trial by combat?

OK, jokes aside, Colonel Travis is (unfortunately) correct. There’s a good rule of thumb: don’t go to stupid places, and don’t associate with stupid people. The best gunfight is one where you’re NOT THERE.

Yeah, Rittenhouse screwed up that bit.

But ONLY that bit.

The prosecution knows they are playing with a poor hand here — it’s actually worse than the Chauvin case, since we have video of the baying psychotics attacking Rittenhouse before getting potted. The attempts to submit ‘evidence’ of questionable import as well as provenance are a sign that they know this could fall apart on them.


 
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Milhouse | October 11, 2021 at 11:35 am

I don’t think Rittenhouse intended to “deter violence”, as some commenters above suggest. I think he simply intended to help protect the victims, by rendering first aid, by putting out fires, and simply by being there to defend them. How is that not completely admirable?


     
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    henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | October 11, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    The unpardonable sin is that Rittenhouse openly carried an “ugly black demonized” AR15 rifle s a self-defense weapon, and used it. In Leftworld, “this shall not stand.”
    If he had had a concealed firearm, and pulled it only at the time he defended himself, I think more than half of the tenor of the left’s horror would be immediately defanged.
    What the average Joe on the street doesn’t understand is that Rittenhouse was legally forbidden (due to his age) to possess or carry a handgun, concealed or unconcealed.
    He knew that he was allowed to carry a rifle (in his home state, at least, and no one knows how cognizant he was that the law was slightly different over the state line), so that was his choice. (Personally, I believe he attempted to obey the law as he knew it, and made a rookie mistake.)
    And of course, you have to “flaunt” this rifle openly, because rifles aren’t concealable by any reasonable standard.


       
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      DaveGinOly in reply to henrybowman. | October 11, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      Because he was carrying an unconcealable rifle, it must also be admitted that his assailants were aware of his armed condition. What kind of lunatic attacks a person who is armed with a rifle? Two of the people who attacked Rittenhouse were completely unarmed, one was armed with a skateboard, and the last with a handgun (a firearm meant to allow you to fight your way to your rifle). (And no, my count is not wrong. Everyone forgets the guy who attempted to kick KR in the head, went over him, and kept running – likely because as he went over the top, KR fired at him too, or so it seems from the video.)

      These were people in the throes of a mob mentality, so bent on injuring or killing KR that they unthinkingly risked their own lives in order to make the attempt.


     
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    Barry in reply to Milhouse. | October 13, 2021 at 12:00 am

    “How is that not completely admirable?”

    The answer of course, is it is completely admirable. Rittenhouse was doing what he believed to be the “right thing”. Nothing he did raises any suspicion, he simply tried to help and was attacked. He would be dead or seriously injured had he not fought back.


 
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smalltownoklahoman | October 11, 2021 at 2:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXJSa33VCN0

More coverage and someone to keep an eye on because IIRC Barnes is part of Kyle’s defense.

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