Kyle Rittenhouse was the main witness at the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Today, the teenager took to the witness stand and testified that he was acting in self-defense after he shot three people, killing two of them, in unrest in Kenosha on August 25, 2020.
Rittenhouse faces multiple murder charges. The witness was the culmination in proceedings. It has since become a symbol of almost all that the viewer desires to see. Many on the left see him as a vigilante who upholds racist structures. Others on the right view him more as a protector who fills the void created by law enforcement.
But there was another courtroom fixture centerstage on Monday: Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, who—no matter how you feel about Rittenhouse—should serve as a reminder of just how pitifully low prosecutors will stoop while in pursuit of a conviction.
Binger’s Rittenhouse Cross-Examination ought to have been an important moment. It was. But not for what Binger had hoped. Binger began by asking Rittenhouse about his interest in buying an AR-15. He claimed that Rittenhouse had probably declined either a gun or shotgun due to this. Duty call habit. Here are some problems: Simulators can have many guns. But more fraught is the implication that playing violent video games somehow makes you a murderer, or more likely to murder someone—a hysterical assumption that is not based on fact.
Although the questioning was urgent, it soon became a desperate one. Judge Bruce Schroeder quickly intervened as Binger and Rittenhouse faced off repeatedly after Binger noted Rittenhouse’s silence post-arrest with the suggestion that this implied his guilt.
Judge: “I was shocked when you started your exam by commenting about the defendant’s post-arrest silence,” he said. That’s the law. It’s basic law in this nation for decades. I added “I don’t understand what you are up to.”
Schroeder also criticized Binger for trying to bring evidence before the jury. The chain of events prompted Rittenhouse’s defense to ask for a mistrial with prejudice—meaning the state would not be permitted to bring the same charges—which Schroeder said he would take under advisement. “Don’t get brazen with me,” Schroeder told Binger. “If you said that you were acting in good will, I don’t believe it,” Schroeder told Binger.
Binger isn’t the only prosecutor who has received such an admonishment.
Anya Bidwell (an attorney with the Institute for Justice), says that procurorial immunity basically gives absolute immunity to prosecutors. There are reasons. “Prosecutors—especially when they act inside of a courtroom, like in this case—they are 100 percent immune from any kind of civil liability, so they can lie, they can bend [the facts] whichever way they want…and they will not be held accountable.” One recent example is the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s prosecutor who helped to end rape accusations against an assistant warden.
This case was not well-known. People may be challenged by high-profile cases such as Rittenhouse’s. It’s double true with Rittenhouse’s actions being held up by people from both sides as a sign of what they believe.
J.D. J.D. Binger calls himself a “lawless mob.” said—unexpected words from someone who has touted the importance of law-and-order. Matt Walsh (conservative commentator) was the next to speak. tweetedThe prosecutor is both a corrupt piece of shhit brazenly violating constitution and a “raging asshole”.
According to what I have seen, the prosecution seems really to be inept. That seems like a fairly fair assessment. J.D. and others like him are not my favorite people. Jay Schweikert is a Cato Institute research fellow on criminal justice. “I’ve also seen a number of pseudo-progressive people care deeply about criminal justice in their daily jobs, but they seem determined to get a conviction. I believe the judge is racist and biased because he does everything he can to oppose the prosecutor.”
Both sides are likely to retreat from their respective positions after the trial ends. The right of a criminal defendant to due process shouldn’t be based on his sympathy. And the disdainful attitude that a prosecutor has for the rules should not limit the Kenosha County assistant district attorney.