US Judge Says Men Shot By Kyle Rittenhouse Cannot Be Called “Victims” – .

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US Judge Says Men Shot By Kyle Rittenhouse Cannot Be Called “Victims” – .


The men shot dead by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020 can potentially be characterized as “rioters” or “looters,” a Wisconsin judge said on Monday while reiterating his long-held view that lawyers should not use the word ” victim ”.

Defense lawyers claim the young man acted in self-defense when he shot dead two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protesters were gunned down during a demonstration against police shooting at a black man. Rittenhouse was among armed civilians who said they were there to protect businesses after nights of arson and looting.

“Let the evidence show what the evidence shows, that one or one of these people was involved in arson, riots or looting, then I won’t tell the defense they can’t. call them that, ”said Bruce, Kenosha County Circuit Judge. Schroeder said during the preliminary hearing.

Schroeder has a long-standing rule prohibiting prosecutors from labeling people as “victims” at trial.

Rittenhouse is charged with criminal homicide in connection with the shooting and murder of Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and attempted criminal homicide for allegedly injuring Gaige Grosskreutz during protests following the police shooting against Jacob Blake in August 2020.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, is also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon when he was under 18, a misdemeanor, court records show.

He pleaded not guilty.

Monday’s debate over the use of the terms in court could foreshadow litigation when the trial of the teenager accused in the deadly shooting that unfolded during a summer of racial justice protests across the country will open.

On Monday, Rittenhouse’s legal team and prosecutors attended a preliminary hearing to consider the outstanding issues before jury selection begins on November 1.

The conversation revolved around whether defense lawyers would be allowed to label Huber, Rosenbaum and Grosskreutz as arsonists, rioters or looters because of their alleged behavior during the chaotic and fiery protests.

“I don’t think I’m inclined to pre-hold,” Schroeder said.

But Deputy District Attorney Thomas Binger argued the judge was establishing a “double standard” because of his rule on using reference to people as “victims” at trial.

“If I had to count the number of times you’ve warned me not to call someone a victim in a trial, it would be in the thousands,” Binger said.

“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word. And I think the ‘alleged victim’ is a cousin of it, ”Schroeder said.

But Binger disagreed, telling the judge, “I think it’s exactly the same problem. the term “victim”. “

At the heart of the defense argument that Rittenhouse opened fire that night to protect himself is the debate over labels and how they can inform the jury of the impression of those at the center or the trial.

“NEEDED AND UNHAPPY” BEGUN TO “A REALLY IMPORTANT CASE”

CNN legal analyst Areva Martin called the judge’s decision “incomprehensible.”

“Even if these slain individuals were involved in riots and looting, the evidence, what we are hearing so far, is that [Rittenhouse] didn’t know it, ”she told CNN on Wednesday.

“He didn’t have that information when he pulled the trigger and shot these three individuals, killing two. It is therefore his state of mind that is the subject of the trial. And the fact that he did not know that they were involved in this activity does. .. this evidence is irrelevant. “

Martin said that “riot” and “looter” were “loaded” and “derogatory” terms that suggested the victims “deserved what they got. They deserve to be shot and even to die ”.

With his ruling, Martin said, the judge was “definitely signaling something to these jurors” and appeared to “be leaning in to support the defense.”

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said allowing the use of “rioters” and “arsonists” to describe the dead “should go a long way in helping Rittenhouse’s defense.”

“It’s a very troubling situation because (…) the use of that word suggests that Rittenhouse was justified in what he was doing because they were the wrong people he shot,” Toobin said. . “They were committing crimes. They were looting. They were outside committing arson which is very disputed in the trial, which these people were doing. “

He added: “The whole question here is whether Kyle Rittenhouse was a vigilante and whether he was… acting out of racial animosity, and essentially to convict his victims before trial for looting, arson, crimes for which they are, you. know, as dead people they can’t be charged, it’s really disturbing and a really unnecessary and unfortunate start to this really important case. “

SHOTS FIRED IN THE MIDDLE OF A CHAOTIC SCENE

Many videos taken during the protests show Rittenhouse, wearing a green T-shirt and baseball cap inside out and carrying an AR-15 style rifle, marching through the city streets with a group of gunmen.

According to the criminal complaint against Rittenhouse, which is based on videos and testimony, the situation turned deadly after the teenager clashed with protesters near a car dealership. He allegedly shot Rosenbaum, a 36-year-old unarmed protester, after Rosenbaum threw an object that appeared to be a plastic bag at him and missed it.

As Rosenbaum lay on the ground, according to the complaint, Rittenhouse ran away calling a friend and saying, “I just killed someone. He was chased by protesters, then tripped and fell to the ground.

While on the ground, Rittenhouse shot Huber, who appeared to hit him with a skateboard, according to the complaint, then shot a third protester approaching him, Grosskreutz, in the right arm. Grosskreutz was holding a handgun but had his hands up, according to the complaint.

After the shooting, Rittenhouse walked past police with his hands raised, as seen in bystander videos, and he went to his local police department the day after the shooting.

Binger, the prosecutor, argued on Monday that any behavior by Rosenbaum, Huber or Grosskreutz could have contributed to that night that could lead the jury to believe they were arsonists, rioters or looters had not been seen by Rittenhouse and shouldn’t be part of his defense. .

“He can’t argue in self-defense against things he isn’t aware of,” Binger said. “These other acts are strictly designed to attack the reputation of these individuals, it is designed to paint them in the worst light possible to harm them.” Two of them cannot defend themselves… because the accused killed them. And it is unduly prejudicial to the jury to be informed of any of these things.

But a defense attorney said the shooting had to be weighed against the larger context of what was happening that night.

“All of this lawlessness, all of the facts and circumstances surrounding what’s going on, are relevant to Kyle Rittenhouse’s conduct. I think it is impossible to say that it is not. “

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