The twists and turns coming out of this trial are fascinating for those of us interested in self-defense, particularly armed self-defense.
Just like the Day 3 trial post I put up, I'm following the overview of the proceedings provided by attorney Andrew Branca over at The Law of Self Defense.
His take is especially relevant for concealed carry permit holders, responsible armed citizens, and anyone who is interested in self-defense and personal protection. It is less interested in the politics of the situation and more interested in the legal case as it stands on Rittenhouse's claim of self-defense.
Some of the mainstream media headlines that I've seen are touting the fact that Rittenhouse has been accused of shooting three men.One thing might not be obvious when reading/watching a self-defense case. The defense (Rittenhouse) is not disputing that he shot the three men. He is not denying that. He did, in fact, shoot three men on Aug. 25, 2020.
What the media is missing is that Rittenhouse is charged with intentional homicide and faces life in prison (plus five years for using a gun in the shootings). His claim of self-defense is that he was forced to shoot the men because he believed they were going to kill him. And there was no option other than shooting them, and it had to be done right now or Rittenhouse would be killed or seriously injured.
And, this is why you should be paying attention to the state, the district attorneys, and the courtroom. You might ask, why should I be interested in this? And then answer is because the state, the district attorneys, and the legal system are interested in you. And this could be your life if you were forced to flee and defend yourself against attackers in the coming chaos that we could be seeing going forward.
The system is interested in you and everything -- everything -- you have done up to this point will be scrutinized. Comments you have made, items you have posted on social media, your medical prescriptions.
The prosecution will want to paint a picture of you as a terrible human being while painting the attackers as saints or at least flawed lambs on the verge of turning their lives around. We've seen this same scenario in several nationally prominent trials like this over the past few years. And the trend will most likely continue until something comes along to change the trend. And it does not appear there is anything on the near horizon that can reverse the current trajectory of the justice system.
At this juncture in the trial, Branca details a number of moves by both the prosecution and the defense. Because of his profession, he can provide commentary on different moves by both sides in the trail.
He asserts both the prosecution and the defense made tactical errors on day four.
The state appears to be trying to further the narrative that came out soon after the incident that Anthony Huber, the man fatally shot after he struck Rittenhouse in the head with a skateboard, was actually heroically trying to stop an active shooter. The state's witness, Huber's great-aunt, was led into introducing the story that Huber heroically saved his family when he was a child.
The defense objected saying the historical information was irrelevant to that night's actions. When the judge upheld the objection, the prosecutor apparently made a comment that was a big mistake.
For those of you not in the legal profession, let me be the one to inform you—you don’t backtalk to the judge. Never, ever, ever. At least, not with expecting a smackdown.
Judge Schroeder looked right back at ADA Kraus, said “You don’t need to comment on my rulings,” and abruptly recessed the proceedings for a break. Presumably to have an opportunity to cool down before he let Kraus up.
Here's what the judge offered the prosecution -- if you want to introduce historical information about how awesome Anthony Huber was, then the defense has the opportunity to introduce background on Huber that you might not like.
Specifically, the defense had in its possession several criminal complaints against the then-living Huber in which he’d been credibly accused of far from peaceful conduct. In one complaint he’d been charged with holding a large knife to the throat of his brother, and later also holding the knife to his brother’s stomach and threatening to “gut him like a pig,” for failing to clean his room. There was also a complaint in which he’d taken a plea to a charge of strangling. In another instance, he had threatened to burn down his home “with all you f’ers inside it!”
Branca says the state's second fumble of the day was when it asked the then fiance' of Joseph Rosenbaum, who was the first man shot when he chased Rittenhouse into a car lot.
You’ll recall that all evidence of Rosenbaum’s psychiatric issues, including his that-day release from the mental ward of the local hospital, had been excluded from the trial by Judge Schroeder, primarily on the grounds that Kyle lacked personal knowledge of those matters at the moment he defended himself against Rosenbaum’s attack. Had Kyle known, the information would have been relevant to his own state of mind, but he did not.
Suddenly, however, ADA Kraus asked Ms. Swart if Rosenbaum had taken his medication that day. She said he had—but the defense took note of the question. After direct questioning by Kraus was done, and before the defense began its cross, the defense asked for the opportunity for a conversation with the judge outside the hearing of the jury and Ms. Swart.
This left a wide-open door for the defense to bring in the connection between the just introduced testimony of Rosenbaum's medication to his psychiatric history. I'm assuming the state thought it would be good to show that Rosenbaum was being a good boy that night because he was on his meds. Probably will be a definite help to the defense.
See what I mean? Your life will be an open book in a trial.
We've already seen the anti-Rittenhouse media coverage for the past year as he has been tried in the court of public opinion. We can bet there will be more dragged up about Kyle. What the kid has going for him is that he was only 17 when this incident occurred. In one sense, he has not lived long enough to have made enough stupid comments or mistakes to brand him as a despicable human being.
For those of us older than 17, take heed of these trials. And then resolve yourself to live your life as the best human you can possibly be.
If you are more interested in the very important subject surrounding the law of self-defense, I recommend getting Branca's book that I have linked here.