Jury Deliberations Begin in Kyle Rittenhouse Trial After Judge Tosses Gun Charge
Kyle Rittenhouse’s fate is now in the hands of the jury, following closing arguments and another day of courtroom drama that included more irresponsible behavior from the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger.
While simulating Rittenhouse’s alleged actions, Binger held up the gun and put his finger on the trigger. He did not point it at the jury, as some on Twitter claimed, but nevertheless, this was an idiotic thing to do, even assuming the gun was not loaded.
“With the recent accidental shooting on a movie set in New Mexico still fresh on our minds, Binger sweeps the courtroom spectator section with the weapon and incredulously breaks firearms handling safety rule number one—never place your finger on the trigger unless and until you have acquired a target you may have to neutralize,” wrote the New York Post‘s James A. Gagliano. “Yet another example of those prosecuting gun crimes with little understanding of guns.”
This picture is giving me gun safety hives. pic.twitter.com/91dmFkEFzS
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) November 15, 2021
MSNBC’s Joy Reid totally missed the point, tweeting: “So according to right wing Twitter, it’s OUTRAGEOUS for a prosecutor to point an unloaded AR-15 toward the jury to demonstrate how scary that firearm is, but totally cool for a teenager to point a loaded one at people and shoot them.” It’s outrageous to point a gun at another person and put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot. Binger obviously didn’t intend to open fire on the courtroom, which is why his conduct was outrageous. This doesn’t apply to Rittenhouse—he intended to shoot, and did.
Note that this is the same prosecutor who was savaged last week by Judge Bruce Schroeder after Binger suggested that Rittenhouse’s decision to remain silent after his arrest was indicative of guilt. Contrary to what Binger wrongly asserted, refusing to answer police questions is both a fundamental component of due process and the absolute right choice for virtually everyone who finds themselves in such a situation. (Even innocent people can accidentally incriminate themselves.)
Schroeder also dealt the prosecution a defeat on Monday, dismissing the weapons charge against Rittenhouse. The Wisconsin statute that prohibits teenagers from wielding certain firearms is confusingly worded, and the judge decided Rittenhouse’s weapon was not covered by the law. The decision stunned the prosecution, but Volokh Conspiracy‘s Eugene Volokh argues that it was likely correct.
“Just based on the news account and the statutes, the judge’s decision seems correct, especially given the ‘rule of lenity’: ‘when there is doubt as to the meaning of a criminal statute, a court should apply the rule of lenity and interpret the statute in favor of the accused,'” writes Volokh. (Read his whole post here.)
Note that Politifact had rated as false the viral claim on Facebook that “At 17 years old Kyle (Rittenhouse) was perfectly legal to be able to possess that rifle without parental supervision.” The fact-checking outlet, a project of the Poynter Institute, updated its explanatory post more than a year ago but declined to change its ruling. This is a side issue, obviously, but perhaps Facebook should not vest official fact-checking powers in an organization that lazily gets things wrong all the time.
With the gun charge tossed, the question for the jury really will come down to Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim: Whether the three men he shot—Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz—posed a risk to his life, and whether his decision. to fire on them was reasonable. In his closing arguments, Binger tried to argue that the fact Rittenhouse had fired multiple shots at Rosenbaum rendered the self-defense claim unworkable; maybe the first shot was in self-defense, but the next three shots were not. Of course, all four shots were fired in a single second, so it’s not clear that this distinction will matter to the jury: Rosenbaum was trying to take Rittenhouse’s gun away, and Rittenhouse believ
Article from Latest – Reason.com