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Author: Andrew Branca

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Andrew Branca

Andrew F. Branca is in his third decade of practicing law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He wrote the first edition of the "Law of Self Defense" in 1997, and is currently in the process of completing the fully revised and updated second edition, which you can preorder now at lawofselfdefense.com. He began his competitive shooting activities as a youth in smallbore rifle, and today is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a Life Member and Master-class competitor in multiple classifications in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). Andrew has for many years been an NRA-certified firearms instructor in pistol, rifle, and personal protection, and has previously served as an Adjunct Instructor on the Law of Self Defense at the SigSauer Academy in Epping, NH. He holds or has held concealed carry permits for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, Virginia, and other states.

Welcome back to our ongoing live coverage of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Kyle is charged with a variety of felonies, including first-degree murder, for shooting three men, two fatally, as well as for alleged reckless conduct on the night of August 25, 2020, in riot-torn Kenosha WI.

Welcome to today’s Law of Self Defense ongoing coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the trial finally got off to the races, with the jury hearing the opening statements of both the state and the defense. The jury also heard their first witness testimony in this case, from the state’s initial three witnesses.

Welcome back to the launch of our live coverage of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, beginning today with the start of jury selection. Kyle is charged with a variety of felonies, including first-degree murder, for shooting three men, two fatally, as well as for alleged reckless conduct on the night of August 25, 2020, in riot-torn Kenosha WI.

Welcome to the Law of Self Defense ongoing coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial! I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense.  Good news, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is finally underway, with voir dire, or jury selection, having begun this morning. UPDATE: Between when I started writing this post and when it was published, media reports are that individual voir dire completed today off-camera, and opening statements will happen tomorrow morning! Highlights of today’s voir dire include:
  • The defense voir dire suggesting that Kyle Rittenhouse might testify at trial
  • Judge Schroeder contextualizing juror security concerns by noting that even judges hardly ever get assassinated
  • A juror excused because Second Amendment beliefs would not allow impartiality
  • A juror excused because hatred of AR rifles would not allow impartiality
  • A juror excused because she understood “Thou shalt not kill” to be literal
  • Judge Schroeder instructing jurors on “semi-automatic” versus “machine gun”
  • And much, much more! So let’s dive right in!

Welcome back to the launch of our live coverage of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, beginning today with the start of jury selection. Kyle is charged with a variety of felonies, including first-degree murder, for shooting three men, two fatally, as well as for alleged reckless conduct on the night of August 25, 2020, in riot-torn Kenosha WI. (Click here for a brief overview and analysis of the specific charges, and associated events and statutes.)

Monday begins jury selection in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who on August 25, 2020 shot three men in riot-ravaged Kenosha WI, killing two of them and grievously wounding the third. We will cover the entire trial live daily.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the ninth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people. The near-term goal is to have 64 “qualified” prospective jurors to be distilled down to the final 16 seated jurors in the third stage of jury selection. As of this morning, 47 prospective jurors had been “qualified.”

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with day 9 of jury selection, or voir dire, for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020. Today we expect the jury selection process, or voir dire, to continue with a new group, the ninth group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern throughout last week. The media is reporting that as of yesterday afternoon there have been about 47 prospective jurors who have made it through general and individual voir dire, and who are said to have been "qualified" for yet a third level of voir dire. That's an increase of 5 from the previous day, which in turn gained 6 over to the day prior.  Judge Walmsley reportedly wants 64 prospective jurors "qualified" in this manner, to allow for that third level of voir dire that will ultimately distill that group to the 12 jurors and 4 alternates needed for trial.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the eighth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people. The near-term goal is to have 64 “qualified” prospective jurors to be distilled down to the final 16 seated jurors in a third stage of jury selection. As of this morning, 42 prospective jurors had been “qualified.” The court also began discussing with the attorneys the procedure to be used for the final, stage 3, voir dire of the final group of 64 “qualified” prospective jurors.  In particular, there appeared to be some uncertainty about exactly how that stage 3 of voir dire would be conducted, given the sheer number of “qualified” prospective jurors to deal with.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with day 8 of jury selection, or voir dire, for the trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William "Roddy" Bryan on murder and other charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020. Today we expect the jury selection process, or voir dire, to continue with a new group, the eighth group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern throughout last week. The media is reporting that so far there have been about 42 prospective jurors who have made it through general and individual voir dire, and who are said to have been "qualified" for yet a third level of voir dire. Judge Walmsley reportedly wants 64 prospective jurors "qualified" in this manner, to allow for that third level of voir dire that will ultimately distill that group to the 12 jurors and 4 alternates needed for trial.

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the seventh group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people.

Key Findings of Today’s General Voir Dire

Of particular note from today’s general voir dire:
  • A majority (60%) of the prospective jurors indicated that they had already formed an opinion about the guilt of the defendants.
  • An even larger majority (70%) indicated they had formed negative feelings towards one or more of the defendants (usually, to all three defendants).
  • Nearly half of (45%) had a relative or close friend in law enforcement.
  • Ironically enough, the same proportion (45%) had also had a relative or close friend who had been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a serious crime.
  • The same proportion (45%), again, believed that people of color were not treated fairly by the criminal justice system or, generally, police.
  • Interestingly, that same proportion (45%) also indicated that they had some life event that would prevent them from giving their full attention to the trial—this is basically a “don’t pick me for jury duty” question.
  • Fully 40% of the prospective jurors indicated that they were concerned that whatever verdict they might arrive at would cause them considerable strife in their lives, work, family, community, etc.

Today I anticipate the court will begin with a new group, the seventh group to date, of 20 prospective jurors subject to general voir dire this morning, followed by individual voir dire of members of that group in the afternoon, as has been the pattern...

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the sixth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people.

BONUS: Watch state prosecutors and defense attorneys debate whether specific jurors are "qualified"...

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan are being tried for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Arbery.  I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense. Today the court proceeded with jury selection, or voir dire, in the case, with the goal of empaneling 12 jurors and 4 alternates.  Today was the fifth group of prospective jurors put through the selection process, with each group nominally numbering 20 people (note that there was no jury selection conducted this past Friday, as the court was in recess for the day due to some personal conflict of one of the lawyers involved in the case).

Welcome to today’s Law of Self Defense content! I am, of course, Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense LLC. Today I’d like to share with some updated legal analysis of the Alec Baldwin on-set shooting of Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old mother and the director of cinematography for Baldwin’s in-production Western movie “Rust.” Ms. Hutchins, tragically, died as a result.  (Also injured by the shot was director Joel Souza, who survived.) Spoiler:  The more we learn about the facts of this case, within the context of New Mexico criminal law, the more this shooting looks increasingly like a crime—specifically, felony involuntary manslaughter.  So, today let’s explore that possibility in further detail.

To date, 23 prospective jurors have been "qualified" for a third level of jury selection; ultimately, 12 jurors & 4 alternates are needed for trial...