Rittenhouse On Trial

Kyle Rittenhouse is the then-17 year old boy who showed up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the violent riots, looting and arson that occurred last year. Rittenhouse, armed with a rifle, wanted to help maintain order and protect private property, but it was a misguided mission to say the least. He ran afoul of extreme leftists, most likely Antifa members, and, coming under attack, shot three of them, two fatally. Viewing the videos that were circulating at the time, it seemed pretty clear to me that the kid acted in self-defense.

Now Rittenhouse is being prosecuted for murder. To sum up his life-destroying experience, I can’t improve on Jim Treacher, via Instapundit:

Kyle Rittenhouse is neither a hero nor a murderer. He’s a kid who got in over his head and defended his own life when things went wrong. If he hadn’t shot those guys, they would’ve killed him. And all the people screaming at him right now would’ve just shrugged, because they only care about human life when it serves their political ends.

I’m sorry those guys are dead, but they shouldn’t have chased down a heavily armed man they had just threatened to kill. If you don’t like it, send your complaints to the Darwin Awards.

Rittenhouse is now on trial for murder in Wisconsin. Multiple cell phone videos show that the second and third leftists whom Rittenhouse shot, as he attempted to flee to safety, were attacking him. He pretty obviously was acting in self-defense. So the prosecution, trying to put away the now-18 year old for murder, concentrates on his original encounter with a violent leftist named Rosenbaum who allegedly didn’t pose an imminent threat of death to Rittenhouse.

So far, things haven’t gone well for the prosecution. Its own witnesses are not entirely on board with the anti-Rittenhouse program. Yesterday the prosecution put on a witness who observed Rittenhouse’s interactions with Rosenbaum. On cross, the defense elicited testimony that was helpful to Rittenhouse. In this clip, versions of which have gone viral, the prosecutor attempts to negate the witness’s testimony on cross that Rosenbaum tried to attack Rittenhouse:

Please indulge me for a moment as a lawyer and litigator for 41 years, and a veteran of more than 100 jury trials This prosecutor, probably an able lawyer, violated a cardinal rule: he asked one question too many of a witness over whom he had no control, who was not really on his side, and with whom he had not coordinated this particular testimony. And his one question too many was vital to his case.

But as usual, the real problem isn’t the lawyer, the problem is the facts of the case. Every indication is that Rittenhouse, confused and misguided as he may have been, acted in self-defense in response to violent threats, and then actions, from left-wing activists.

Several readers have asked us why we are not covering the Rittenhouse trial as we (Scott, in particular) did the Derek Chauvin prosecution.The short answer is that George Floyd’s death and the subsequent prosecution of Chauvin and others happened in our back yard, while the Kenosha riots and the Rittenhouse prosecution are one state away. But the Rittenhouse case is obviously of interest. If you want to follow it, Legal Insurrection is a good place to go. And we will have updates and commentary from time to time.

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