The judge at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial on Wednesday vowed that he would “think long and hard” about allowing any future televised trials — as he blasted media criticism of his decisions on a range of issues.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder responded at length to the media coverage of the proceedings after calling prosecutors and defense attorneys into court to discuss a question from the jury.
“I will tell you this, and I’m going to think long and hard about live television trials again next time,” Schroeder told the court.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in it because I think that people should be able to see what’s going on, but when you see what’s being done, it’s really quite frightening.”
Schroeder referenced an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that included comments from legal experts criticizing him for not ruling yet on a motion filed by the defense to declare a mistrial.
“I haven’t even had a chance to read a motion to dismiss. I just got it yesterday,” Schroeder said. “And I really think before I rule on a motion, I should let the state respond. So why anyone would think that it’s for the judge to send out a motion to dismiss, I had no idea.”
He also responded to those who were “dissatisfied” that he had Rittenhouse draw numbered slips from a raffle drum to determine which jurors would be alternates.
“I would admit that I don’t know that there’s the large number of courts that do that, maybe not any,” Schroeder said.
The judge said that it had been a practice of his since a trial he presided over in which the court clerk drew the only black juror as an alternate.
“That was a bad optic, I thought,” he said. “I think people feel better when they have control.”
The jury of seven women and five men entered day two of deliberations in the case Wednesday.
About midway through the day, the jurors sent a note to the judge inquiring about the procedure for viewing video evidence presented earlier in the trial.
Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020.
The teen, who has pleaded not guilty, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers have filed a motion requesting a mistrial, claiming that prosecutors withheld evidence.