The old saw is that an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client. If it isn’t already, the corollary should be: if you have an accused kid for a client, don’t put him on the stand.
Nevertheless, that’s what Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense attorney alluded to in opening statements in day two of the trial. It’s the second such foreshadowing by defense attorneys.
Rittenhouse was 17 years old on August 25, 2020, when he shot three people who were attacking him during violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was the third night of riots following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Two of the men whom Rittenhouse shot died. Another, who held a gun to Rittenhouse at close range, was seriously wounded in the arm. All of it was tragic. People died. And Kyle Rittenhouse, who, according to an attorney, spent his first week in jail puking his guts out over the trauma, will never be the same either.
The issues couldn’t be more grave. And evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, there exists the possibility that mob “justice” could send Rittenhouse to a locked cage for the rest of his life.
The very tenet of self-defense is itself on trial. During pretrial motions, the prosecutor himself made absurd assertions stating that no armed person could ever declare self-defense when he shoots someone who is unarmed — even when the armed person is being stomped, beaten, or whacked by a person with a skateboard. The judge scoffed. But not everyone understands, as the judge did, that the claim was laughable.
There is plenty of support for this hackneyed idea in the media and politics. Just ask Beto O’Rourke and Jake Tapper.
For example, police can tell you that their lives depend on the act/react time between a cop unholstering a gun and a guy running at you with a knife. The knife can and does “win” sometimes.
Defense attorneys aver that Joseph Rosenbaum aimed to get Rittenhouse’s Smith & Wesson M&P rifle — the one the prosecutor continually refers to as an AR-15 in court either because he doesn’t have to work hard to demonize it or because there’s genuine confusion about it — to fulfill his threat to kill the teen. Rittenhouse had the temerity to bring a fire extinguisher to put out one of Rosenbaum’s arson fires.
Besides Rittenhouse’s fate and the endangered notion of self-defense, the political vicissitudes of woke Kenosha inform every aspect of this trial. Former Rittenhouse attorney Robert Barnes says his extensive polling of potential Kenosha jurors found that two-thirds of them thought the accused murderer was guilty. One potential juror claimed the rifle was a “machine gun” in jury selection.
Related: Speed-Dating Jury Selection Is Over in Rittenhouse Trial as Poll Shows 2/3 of Possible Jurors Think He’s Guilty as Hell
Here’s the general rule in the media, woke culture, and politics — but I repeat myself. Armed “anti-fascist” rioters are good, and anyone else with a gun is bad. Indeed, several Antifa rioters were gunned-up on August 25, 2020. One even fired the first shot of the evening — into the air, behind Rittenhouse — as the 17-year-old was being chased by a 36-year-old mental patient with a long police record, who’d “just gotten out of jail!” (really a mental hospital), carried chains as a weapon, and declared “I don’t care if I go back” as he threatened to kill Rittenhouse.
Which brings us to the speed-dating jury selection on Monday that also at times resembled a mass marriage at the Unification Church. Sorry, can’t help mixing the metaphors. It was chaos.
How dangerous is a lack of rigorous jury selection? Well, Derek Chauvin sits in a cage now because of Minneapolis mob “justice” in the death of George Floyd. It’s impolitic to say, but Floyd may have died anyway because of yet another one of his fentanyl and meth overdoses. He took a variation of a speedball that killed actor John Belushi. And don’t say out loud that the Medical Examiner said that he would have ruled Floyd’s death an overdose without knowing that Chauvin had held the man down who had been resisting arrest. But there was the video of Chauvin’s knee alternately on Floyd’s neck, back, or shoulder and he was wearing a uniform. And the jury, which included a Black Lives Matter activist and an alternate juror who admitted she would have voted to find him guilty to stop the riots, “fried Chauvin like bacon.” How’d did those people get on the jury? Nobody on the defense bothered to check their social media accounts.
Rittenhouse’s defense team imploded on practically the eve of the trial as PJ Media reported. Attorney Barnes, who says he’d had been green-lighted by Team Rittenhouse to assemble a cast of experts in data, self-defense, and body language, and who’d rented office space, was told he wasn’t needed. Barnes says he “assembled a dream team” for jury selection but was told his experts wouldn’t be allowed into the courtroom.
Now that’s some interesting trial strategy.
Related: Kyle Rittenhouse Goes on Trial This Week. Here’s Why the Media Are Trying So Hard to Dirty Him Up
And now defense attorney Mark Richards alludes in court to Rittenhouse taking the stand in his defense, promising the jury “you’ll hear testimony, not just from Kyle Rittenhouse…” and asking during voir dire a question about whether the jury would take a dim view of the 18-year-old taking the stand, which you may want to read about at PJ Media.
I’m sure the prosecutor would love to talk with Rittenhouse in-depth about his clear-cut case of self-defense. What could possibly go wrong in a colloquy between an 18-year-old lifeguard and an experienced attorney who wants to put you in prison?
Let’s hope somebody smarter is already planning for his possible appeal.