By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Ensuring that his permanent mark would long find itself associated with the case, Wisconsin Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder again went against convention and allowed Kyle Rittenhouse to select the 12 jurors who would decide his fate.
Rittenhouse, who faces five charges stemming from his shooting to death two men and injuring another in the aftermath of the 2020 police assault on Jacob Blake in Kenosha, placed slips of paper into a raffle drum with the numbers of each of the 18 jurors who sat through the two-week trial.
Schroeder asked that court officials place the drum in front of the 18-year-old defendant to carry out the process.
“I’ve never seen a judge allow a defendant to draw those names,” Julius Kim, a former Milwaukee County prosecutor, declared.
While it’s not unusual to select alternates by lot, Kim responded to Judge Schroeder’s latest questionable actions and rulings that have dominated the trial from the onset.
“I think the judge’s thinking here is it’s the defendant’s trial, and the defendant pulling those names himself can be reassured it’s done fairly because it’s he himself who’s pulling the names,” Kim reasoned.
Others weren’t willing to grant Judge Schroeder that benefit.
“It’s just another way for this judge to show what he’s shown throughout, which is favoritism toward this defendant – toward Kyle Rittenhouse,” Melissa Bey, a Kenosha resident who has gathered regularly with others outside the courthouse during the trial.
“The judge should have been removed long ago. This just proves why he should have been removed,” Bey insisted.
Judge Schroeder has openly scolded the prosecution and ruled that those shot and killed by Rittenhouse couldn’t be called “victims,” but instead “looters,” “rioters,” or “arsonists.”
Many believe he’s acted almost like a parental figure to Rittenhouse, whose mother drove him across state lines after the August 23, 2020, police shooting of Blake. Then, armed with an AR-15-style rifle, Rittenhouse opened fire on demonstrators he said were threatening his life.
Two were killed and one injured.
“It’s not up for Mr. Rittenhouse to be the judge, the jury, and eventually the executioner,” Assistant District Attorney James Kraus told the jury. “The only imminent threat that night was Mr. Rittenhouse.”