Judge Kyle Rittenhouse in the spotlight after angry reprimand from prosecution | Wisconsin
The screams that unfolded in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial on Wednesday put presiding judge Bruce Schroeder and his style of unusual lectures and quirky questions in court in the spotlight.
Schroeder strongly berated prosecutors during the Kenosha, Wisconsin trial, questioned the authenticity of some pinch-to-zoom images presented in evidence, and apparently forgot to silence his phone in court, which at one point donated rang with a song used at Donald Trump rallies.
The trial is in its second week. The prosecution concluded its evidence on Tuesday and Kyle Rittenhouse came out on his own on Wednesday.
Rittenhouse, 18, faces six counts, including intentional first degree homicide, reckless first degree homicide and attempted first degree homicide, after killing two men and injuring a third when he shot them with a military-style assault rifle during the night of protests in August 2020, after a white policeman shot in the back of a local black man, Jacob Blake, and the seriously injured.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty.
The procedure got very busy on Wednesday. Rittenhouse sobbed at the stand, the defense called for the trial to be quashed and the judge gestured and shouted angrily at the senior prosecutor, accusing him of asking questions of the defendant that were legally prohibited .
Schroeder, 75, is Wisconsin’s longest-serving circuit judge. Over the years, he has built a reputation for being a rigorous lawyer.
“He has a reputation for doing what he thinks is the right thing and being an independent thinker.” noted William Lynch, a retired lawyer who served on the Wisconsin board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocacy group around the time Schroeder controversially began ordering sex workers to getting tested for HIV in the 1980s, which gained attention.
After graduating from Marquette Law School in Milwaukee in 1970, Schroeder worked as a prosecutor and was subsequently appointed circuit judge in 1983 by the then governor of Wisconsin. Schroeder, whose current term ends in 2026, has been “in this business for 50 years,” as he put it at one point during the jury selection for the Rittenhouse trial.
He is known for his lectures which emphasize the importance of civil duty to potential jurors. Schroeder opened jury selection last week going back to the fall of the Roman Empire to emphasize the seriousness of jury duty, saying: “When Rome fell, the world changed dramatically.”
He also spoke of priests blessing trials in which defendants had to put their hands on hot coals or in boiling water – if they “didn’t fare too badly” it was a sign from God. of their innocence.
The judge gave potential jurors quiz questions, echoing the style of the Jeopardy TV quiz show.
A potential juror said he had planned nasal surgery. The judge asked him, “What would you rather do: be here with me or have your nose operated on?”
Ahead of the trial, Schroeder ruled that the men shot by Rittenhouse cannot be called “victims” by prosecutors. Defense lawyers may, however, call them “arsonists” or “looters” if they can justify these labels. Prosecutors argued that Schroeder was setting a double standard.
Schroeder appeared to sympathize with the defense team on Wednesday after lawyers for Rittenhouse suggested that Apple’s pinch-to-zoom feature on tablets and phones could distort video evidence.
“Ipads … contain artificial intelligence that allows you to see things through three dimensions and logarithms,” argued the defense team. âIt’s not really an improved video. It’s Apple’s iPad programming that creates what it thinks is there, not what is necessarily there.
Schroeder responded that the prosecution assumed the burden of proof that Apple was not using artificial intelligence to manipulate the images.
âYou are the promoter of the exhibition and you have to tell me that it is reliable,â he said. The judge also suggested that prosecutors find an expert during their brief break, saying: “Maybe you can get someone to testify on this in a few minutes? I do not know.”
During cross-examination of the prosecution on Wednesday, Schroeder stunned viewers of the trial by berating deputy prosecutor Thomas Binger for questioning Rittenhouse’s post-arrest silence, which Schroeder rejected.
âDon’t be cheeky with me,â Schroeder told Binger at one point.
As the defense argued for an annulment of the trial with prejudices about Binger’s actions, Schroeder’s phone suddenly rang when God Bless the USA rang.
Released in 1984 by Lee Greenwood, the song is popular in conservative circles and has often been Trump’s entryway theme at his rallies.
The trial continues.
The Associated Press contributed reporting