Judge Not Sure If Men Kyle Rittenhouse Shot Are Victims Or Satisfied Bullet Recipients

Judge Not Sure If Men Kyle Rittenhouse Shot Are Victims Or Satisfied Bullet Recipients

Judge Bruce Schroeder, who's presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse's double murder case, set some ground rules on how lawyers can refer to the men Rittenhouse forcibly evicted from existence last summer. After the prosecution and defense made their last-minute motions, Judge Schroeder ruled that no one can refer to the three men Rittenhouse shot as “victims."

From ABC 7 Chicago:

"The word 'victim' is a loaded, loaded word," he said. "'Alleged victim' is a cousin to it."

“Victim" isn't a loaded word. What's loaded was the assault-style rifle he used to shoot three people. “Alleged victim" is literally the point of the trial. Rittenhouse is alleged to have committed first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide. (He's also charged with violating the city's temporary 7 p.m. curfew.) These charges, excluding the curfew violation, require victims, human beings who'd still be alive and/or unmaimed today if not for Rittenhouse.

So, how can the prosecution and defense refer to the people Rittenhouse mowed down like dogs? Judge Schroeder is fine with rioters, looters, and arsonists. Those descriptors apparently have no negative connotations. They probably turn up all the time in marriage vows.

The judge said, "If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I'm not going to tell the defense you can't call them that, “ to which I must retort, “Huh?" How can the defense prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victims (fuck you, your honor) had committed these crimes? The jury came to see The Trial Of Kyle Rittenhouse. This is an entirely separate production the judge is trying to greenlight.

It's one thing for a defendant to testify that they felt their life was in danger, but Rittenhouse isn't qualified to conclude that the people he shot were criminals. It's arguably irrelevant because actual police officers (in theory) can't summarily execute “rioters, looters, and arsonists."

Wonkette may provide a separate lawsplainer about the judge's ruling if we can get it together, but public defender Olayemi Olurin at Legal Aid NYC had this to say:

Prosecutors call every single complainant in every case, a victim. Even when there's no allegation of violence and they're talking misdemeanors. Now all of a sudden that's too loaded a term to describe 2 people who were shot and killed by a white supremacist, wow.

Perhaps even more appallingly, Judge Schroeder agreed to allow testimony from the defense's use-of-force expert. The prosecution argued against this on the grounds that the teenage Rittenhouse isn't a police officer. The judge will also let the jury see video that shows local police enthusiastically greeting Rittenhouse and armed militia members. The cops even gave RIttenhouse a bottle of water, because the last thing you want is a dehydrated murderer.

"If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say good thing you're here, is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance," the judge said.

The fact that the police openly pal around with gun-toting vigilantes and white supremacists isn't exculpatory. That evidence should be introduced during a separate internal affairs hearing.

Rittenhouse never should've been in Kenosha that night and certainly not armed with a gun he wasn't legally allowed to carry. Nonetheless, he's expressed zero remorse over his actions and has seemingly embraced his newfound celebrity as a conservative darling.

At the end of Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Case of Identity," Sherlock Holmes declares about the story's villain: "There's a cold-blooded scoundrel! ... That fellow will rise from crime to crime until he does something very bad, and ends on a gallows."

That's how I feel about Kyle Rittenhouse, who's already risen from “crime to crime" and committed a horrific act. However, it doesn't seem like he'll end up on the modern gallows just yet or even in prison. I have the sneaking suspicion that he's going to walk, and escaping justice isn't likely to humble him. No, I fear he'll do something “very bad" again very soon.

[ABC 7]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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