The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of murdering two people in Wisconsin in August 2020, is almost over. More than 30 people gave testimony in the last week, and closing arguments started Monday. The trial aired live and, obviously, generated a lot of opinions. My personal opinion on the whole thing is Judge Bruce E. Schroeder is off his rocker — and he’s far from the only part of the criminal prosecution system that sounds like this.
Let’s remember the facts of the case:
- Anti-police violence protests broke out in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2020 following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man in a van with his children. The police shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
- Rittenhouse traveled to Wisconsin from Illinois “in response to a call from a Kenosha militia to help protect businesses from protesters,” the AP reported.
- Rittenhouse faces five charges stemming from the shooting deaths of two men and injuries of another. He’s pled not guilty. (The judge dismissed the sixth charge before closing arguments on Monday.)
Ok, now that you have the facts, let’s jump into the weirdest moments of a trial that, again, is about a teenager accused of killing and maiming people after crossing state lines to defend.... car dealerships.
Judge Bruce Schroeder had many memorable moments throughout witness statements. First, let’s hear about why he’s so busy he can’t figure out how to save text messages (which might be a public records violation, just a thought).
Now you might be asking why this clip is relevant and what the fuck he’s talking about at the end there. Schroeder “doesn’t believe” that you can zoom in an iPad without distorting the image because of AI that inserts “additional pixels” into the iPad’s display???
What brought Schroeder to this conclusion, you ask? Defense attorney Mark Richards objected Wednesday to an enlarged video being shown to the jury by the prosecution. Here’s the explanation from Richards that Schroeder seems to take at face value, via ars technica, but the entire exchange is worth reading:
I don’t know what the state’s going to do next, but I suspect that it’s something along the lines of... they’re going to use the iPad, and Mr. Binger was talking about pinching the screen. iPads, which are made by Apple, have artificial intelligence in them that allow things to be viewed through three dimensions and logarithms.
Schroeder also loves to raise his voice.
Before we move away from Schroeder, can’t let this get lost. Please consider this weirdly racist Asian food joke made by Schroeder on Thursday. “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming... isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor,” the longest-serving judge in Wisconsin’s trial courts said before a lunch break. It’s a weird and racist “joke” to make at a time when anti-Asian and Asian American attacks are on the rise!
I’m all for honoring veterans by paying for their healthcare costs instead of making them prove they served where their paperwork says they served, but I digress. Seems like a bit of a bias toward one side presenting an argument, but I’m not a jurist. I am but a woman asking for the military to take rape and assault in its ranks seriously.
While Schroeder largely stole attention away from Rittenhouse during the murder trial, Rittenhouse couldn’t let all the spotlight leave him behind.
Rittenhouse’s tears and hyperventilating are another choice that might convince the jury of his self-defense claim, or might turn them off.
Zooming out from the Rittenhouse trial and all its bonkers moments, it’s incredibly sad. Our incarceration system is filled with jurists like Schroeder who refuse to see their biases, who refuse to educate themselves for the complexity of modern technology. The scariest part of everything is that every day in your town or city there is a Schroeder presiding over a case where someone’s life is at stake, and they just don’t care. This might be a trial of an accused white supremacist, but it should be a call to action for so much more.