Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

The prosecution recently rested its case against Kyle Rittenhouse, age 18, who was charged with two homicides and an attempted homicide when he shot and killed two people and injured another during racial injustice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse faces five felony charges and a misdemeanor weapons charge, with an AR-15 style rifle shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, on the night of Aug. 25, 2020. Rittenhouse was also charged with first-degree reckless homicide and use of a dangerous weapon in the death of Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

If Rittenhouse is convicted of the most serious charge against him, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Many legal experts think that the effectiveness of the central arguments made by the prosecution will decide the outcome of the trial.

The confidence of prosecutors is under question as they simultaneously sought to allow the jury to look into lesser charges than intentional homicide.

The jury has also been asked to be given instructions to consider charges for second-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide as well as second-degree reckless homicide. In addition to this, Prosecutors asked that the jury also be given instruction for second-degree reckless homicide, however, the judge denied the request and the jury will only be allowed to consider the original charge.

This case has been one of significant controversy, between Judge Schroeder not allowing the prosecution to refer to those Rittenhouse killed as victims, while also allowing the defense to refer to them as rioters and looters, and the prosecution’s star witness, the sole survivor between the three people Rittenhouse killed admitting he had pulled his gun on Kyle.

Another source of contention is the testimony of Kyle Rittenhouse himself, which ended in a breakdown leading to the judge calling for a break.

Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor charge that Rittenhouse was a minor in possession of a firearm illegally. The defense argued the charge couldn’t apply because of an exception in the law. The prosecution objected to this claim, but judge Schroeder sided with the interpretation of the defense.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger told the jury that Kyle was”guilty on all counts” as he concluded the prosecution’s closing argument.

Defense attorney Mark Richards said the following when wrapping up his closing argument “Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle,” Richards said.

“The reasonableness of the defendant’s beliefs must be determined from the standpoint of the defendant at the time of the defendant’s acts, and not from the viewpoint of the jury now. So put yourself in the defendant’s position. Would you have done the same thing? Would a reasonable person have done the same thing? Would you have engaged in the reckless conduct that led to this course of events? Would you have gone out after curfew with an AR-15 looking for trouble? Would you have tried to use the gun to protect an empty car lot? No reasonable person would have done these things.” 

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