WATCH: Judge Yells At The Prosecution In Rittenhouse Case, Demands Them To “Stop” Committing “Grave Constitutional Violation” (VIDEO)
On Wednesday morning, Judge Bruce Schroeder of the Kenosha County Court accused prosecutors of committing a “grave constitutional violation” in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse after they attempted to comment on his earlier reactions to testimony in the case. Schroeder called the attempt a “grave constitutional violation.”
Witnesses were taken aback when Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense, something that defendants seldom do in such cases. He detailed the events of Aug. 25, 2020, when he opened fire on members of a crowd who were assaulting him during a Black Lives Matter riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his description of the circumstances leading up to the shootings, he broke down, and the trial was forced to take a lengthy break.
When Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger began his cross-examination of Rittenhouse, he began by noting that Rittenhouse had had the opportunity to watch footage of the incident and read stories about it in the months following his detention, which he said was a good thing. In his deposition, Rittenhouse stated that he had watched the majority of the footage shown during the trial and that he avoided reading stories about his case on the Internet because they were often false.
As a result, the prosecution said that Rittenhouse had been able to see all of the prior witnesses in the trial, suggesting that Rittenhouse may have formed his version of events based on past evidence rather than his own recall of events.
The jury was told to leave the courtroom by the judge at that point in time. After they had departed, he scolded the prosecution, saying:
Judge: You need to account for this.
Defense attorney: Your Honor — I don’t want the jury to hear — he’s commenting on my client’s right to remain silent.
Prosecutor: No, Your Honor. I am making the point that after hearing everything in the case, now he’s tailoring his story to what has already been introduced.
Judge: The problem is, this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is — and you’re right on the borderline, and you may be over it. But it better stop.
Judge: This is — I can’t think of the case, the initial case on it. But this is not permitted.
Judge Scolding The Prosecution In The Rittenhouse Case
“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the Defendant’s silence.”
“You are right on the borderline, you may be over. It better stop.” pic.twitter.com/OVK9eYOSSm
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) November 10, 2021
The jury was subsequently summoned back to the courtroom, and the defense’s challenge to the prosecution’s course of questioning was upheld in part.
Later, Binger requested Rittenhouse to remark on his previous comments, which had been omitted in a previous judgement, and the judge ordered the jury to disperse once more, this time for a second time.
The defense asked that the judge chastise the prosecution, and stated that if the same thing happened again, the defense would urge the judge to declare a mistrial with prejudice, thus barring the prosecution from bringing the charges against the defendant again.
With a raised voice, Judge Schroeder screamed at Binger, accusing him of inadvertently entering areas of testimony that had been previously ruled off without permission.
Binger apologized but insisted on responding to the judge despite his apology. “Don’t get brazen with me!” the judge said.
During the course of the conversation, he reminded Binger that he had previously informed him that he was in risk of breaching the rule against commenting on the defendant’s pre-trial quiet — “which is a well-known rule!” he screamed.
“I’m astonished that that would have been an issue,” “So I don’t want to have another issue, as long as this case continues, is that clear?”
Binger said, “it is.”