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Legal Analysis of The Rittenhouse Trial Following the Verdict
What just happened?
With Rittenhouse acquitted for the killing of two people, the prognosis of self defence law has been questioned in the US judiciary system after pressure from political parties and increasing public opinion influenced by the left movement.
What does this mean?
Stephen Wright, an assistant professor of clinical law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he believed some of those surprised by the verdict may have been influenced by Rittenhouse's actions prior to the shooting, who travelled from Illinois to Wisconsin during the Blake protests and said he was there to defend private property, armed with an AR-type semi-automatic rifle. Wright said that Rittenhouse, who testified at the trial, helped himself immensely by speaking and was impressed with how well he handled hours of cross-examination by the prosecution. (1)
Prosecutors also struggled to seriously influence Rittenhouse's testimony when he took a risky legal ploy to offer his version of what happened that night. In Wisconsin, Rittenhouse was also able to point out that he has a reasonable fear of death. The jury simply had reasonable doubts that Rittenhouse had acted without a reasonable certainty that serious physical harm had been inflicted on him. Thus, the prosecution needed to prove that Rittenhouse could not reasonably believe that it was necessary to shoot Rosenbaum to protect himself from imminent physical harm. (2)
Among the highlights of the trial was the testimony of Rittenhouse, who told the court that he was acting in self-defence when he shot Rosenbaum, who said he had previously threatened him, chased him, threw him a bag, and rushed for a pistol. At his trial, Rittenhouse was charged with first degree manslaughter for the murder of Joseph Rosenbaum, the furious but unarmed man who stalked him; Voluntary murder in the first degree for the murder of Anthony Huber, a protester who hit him with a skateboard and then threw a rifle. Moreover, he was charged with two crimes: a reckless threat to the safety of the Daily Callers video communications chief Richie McGinniss and a protester who kicked him in the head; and attempted first-degree murder for shooting protester and paramedic Gaige Grosskreutz, armed with a Glock pistol. After three and a half days of deliberation, the jury concluded that Rittenhouse was not guilty of reckless murder, premeditated murder, or danger to public safety. (3)
The two-week trial, which caught the attention of America and symbolized in many ways a divided nation, included the testimony of more than 30 witnesses, including Rittenhouse himself, video clips from the night of the shooting, and heated conversations between lawyers and a judge. The trial was linked to issues of systemic racism in the justice system, as activists likened police treatment to Rittenhouse to that of Jacob Blake, a black man paralyzed from the waist down after being shot and killed by a police officer. Kenosha White Police sparked last year's protests. The jury deliberated for more than three days before issuing a verdict this afternoon, accepting his lawyer's assertion that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defence. (4)
How does this impact the legal sector?
The defence says some issues should lead to a wrong trial without the possibility of a retrial, while another point of contention - the quality of this video - could give prosecutors a chance to try Rittenhouse again. According to Michael Cikchini, Kenosha's lawyer, who was not involved in this case, if there were no reasons, Rittenhouse would have immediately been sent to the same judge. A jury dropped all charges against 18-year-old Rittenhouse after his legal team said he acted in self-defence when he shot three people, two fatally, during the chaotic summer 2020 protests in Kenosha, USA, Wisconsin. (5)
Protesters took to the streets of cities across the country to express their opposition to the jury's verdict. After Rittenhouse was acquitted, human rights activists expressed concern about the safety of those protesting the sentence. (6)
On Friday, during a visit to Columbus, Ohio, Vice President Kamala Harris stated that she was disappointed with the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Among the many other legislators, celebrities, and celebrities who responded to the verdict, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler of New York State called for a federal review of the case. (7)
Many lawyers agreed that prosecutors will face the biggest challenge in the lawsuit given Rittenhouse's self-defence claim. In addition, testimony in court overturned many of the previous assumptions about the case, and even some state witness testimony supported Rittenhouse's self-defence claim, attorney Bob Bianchi said. And since Rittenhouse's attorneys had declared self-defence, state law meant that the prosecutor's office had the burden of denying that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defence beyond reasonable doubt. But during the cross-examination of the Rittenhouses' defence attorney, the narrative began to change. (8)
Rittenhouse's lawyers said prosecutors provided the defence with a copy of the video in a smaller, low-quality file, making it less clear than what the state has. I cannot stress enough how problematic it was that the discerning star witness from the States, whom they put on the podium at the very beginning of the trial, admitted that he had fired a firearm at Rittenhouse. But even before Rittenhouse took the stand, another critical witness had already weakened the case for the US, legal observers say. (9)
One of the very first things the jury heard from a prosecution witness was that Rittenhouse had responded intelligently to the looming death threat. According to Kim, the accusation should have refuted self-defence beyond any reasonable doubt, but was stuck in a chaotic scene, confirmed by video evidence, of the people chasing Rittenhouse that evening. Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal of all the charges came as no surprise to some Wisconsin forensic experts, who say the prosecution has always had a difficult problem proving that the teenager did not fire a pistol in self-defence. In a two-week trial that reopened debate over self-defence laws across the country, a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse for shooting three people, two to death, during a racial justice protest in Kenosha.
A jury in Wisconsin believed that Rittenhouse claimed that he was worried about his life and drove about 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois, holding up a handful of AR-15 semi-automatic in Kenosha. Self-defence was taken after the rifle. Allegedly, this is to protect property during violent protests. In making its verdict, the Wisconsin jury ruled that Rittenhouse’s actions were justified, although the prosecutor argued that he was responsible for the violence and therefore should not seek the asylum of the principle of self-defence. A jury in Wisconsin disagreed. His verdict may herald a similar outcome in another high-profile case in Georgia, in which three white men were killed by Ahmad Arbury (Ahmaud Arbury) who was tried for the shooting because he claimed that a person of colour was a suspect in a robbery. (10)
#Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP #Jones Day #Kirkland & Ellis LLP #Latham & Watkins LLP #Mayer Brown #Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP #WilmerHale #Jenner & Block LLP #MoloLamken LLP #Morrison & Foerster LLP #Sidley Austin LLP ‘Williams & Connolly LLP
2 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-violates-these-5-standards-for-claiming-self-defense-11637358131, https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/582474-unrequited-rage-the-demand-for-mob-justice-in-the-rittenhouse-trial, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/states-own-witnesses-laid-path-rittenhouse-acquittal-2021-11-19/ and https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/rittenhouse-jury-verdict-self-defense-legal-analysis.html
3 https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-outsized-meaning-of-the-rittenhouse-verdict, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/rittenhouse-jury-verdict-self-defense-legal-analysis.html and https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/19/us/legal-experts-what-helped-rittenhouse-acquittal/index.html
4 https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/11/rittenhouse-trial-verdict-not-guilty/620737/, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/11/20/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-acquittal-sparks-scattered-protests-updates/8698451002/ and https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/19/us/legal-experts-what-helped-rittenhouse-acquittal/index.html
5 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/11/20/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-acquittal-sparks-scattered-protests-updates/8698451002/ and https://apnews.com/article/kyle-rittenhouse-trial-judge-directed-verdict-788879e4deb6d4639adab573ee3ff753
8 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/11/20/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-acquittal-sparks-scattered-protests-updates/8698451002/, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/states-own-witnesses-laid-path-rittenhouse-acquittal-2021-11-19/ and https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/19/us/legal-experts-what-helped-rittenhouse-acquittal/index.html
9 https://apnews.com/article/kyle-rittenhouse-trial-judge-directed-verdict-788879e4deb6d4639adab573ee3ff753 and https://www.reuters.com/world/us/states-own-witnesses-laid-path-rittenhouse-acquittal-2021-11-19/