Another major update on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial of Kenosha, Wisconsin just happened after the presiding judge threw out a firearms related charge against the teenager in advance of jury deliberations and closing arguments.
Considered as the prosecution’s ‘easiest to prove’ charge — possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor — it’s seeming less likely that they will be able to pin Rittenhouse down with their less credible charges. The dismissal seems to foretell of doom for the case of the state against Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse faces multiple felony murder charges after he shot two men to death and injured a third during a Kenosha Black Lives Matter riot last summer. At the time of the incident, the Illinois resident was 17 years old and declares that he acted in self defense.
According to WBBM-TV’s reporting, the weapons charge would have been a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 12 months in jail. As the outlet noted though, the particular charge “appeared… the most likely… to result in a conviction.”
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder made his determination on the basis of Wisconsin’s open carry laws which permit minors to carry weapons in public so long as they are at least 26 inches in length as well as having a 16 in barrel.
The prosecution disagreed with the law’s interpretation, but conceded that the AR-15 which Rittenhouse carried met the minimum size criteria, and so the charge was dismissed by judge Schroeder.
Judge in Rittenhouse trial has dismissed Rittenhouse's gun charge. pic.twitter.com/v1x1QTBrGf
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) November 15, 2021
Looking ahead, Rittenhouse still has to face 5 charges, including first-degree intentional homicide and reckless homicide for the deaths of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum respectively. Should he be convicted, the consequence would be a mandatory lifelong prison sentence.
Following Monday’s afternoon session, the jury will start deliberating. Alternatively, Schroeder could declare a mistrial with prejudice as requested by the defense.
Last week, Rittenhouse’s defense formally requested a mistrial after the prosecution misrepresented Rittenhouse’s use of his right to remain silent. Additionally, they brought forward an incident which had been explicitly excluded according to a pretrial order without judge Schroeder’s permission.
Schroeder issued a scathing lecture against Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger for his misstep.
News outlets increasingly assess that the guilty verdicts are unlikely in this case, but the jury has yet to issue their judgement.
Author: Ashley Richardson