KENOSHA, Wis. — Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial rebuked the prosecution during a heated exchange Wednesday morning after the state attempted to introduce evidence that had previously been ruled inadmissible, according to a report.
“Don’t get brazen with me!” Schroeder barked at Kenosha Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger after the jury was escorted from the room, New York Post reported.
“You know very well that an attorney can’t go into these types of areas where the judge has already ruled without asking outside of the presence of the jury to do so, so don’t give me that,” Schroeder admonished.
Rittenhouse, 18, surprised many court-watchers as he took the stand in his own defense. As Binger cross-examined the young defendant, the prosecutor attempted to bring up a past event that the judge had previously ruled was inadmissible in a pretrial order.
“You have previously indicated that you wished you had your AR-15 to protect someone’s property, correct?” Binger asked after Rittenhouse testified that deadly force shouldn’t be used to protect property.
Binger explained to the judge once the jury was out of the room that he was trying to “impeach” Rittenhouse on his own testimony by bringing up a past event where the defendant allegedly said he would use deadly force to protect property.
Shroeder retorted that just because someone did something in the past, doesn’t mean they’re going to do it on another occasion.
“This is propensity evidence. I said at the time that I made that ruling and I’ll repeat again now for you. I see no similarity between talking about wishing you had your AR gun, which you don’t have, so you can fire rounds at these thought to be shoplifters and the incidents in these cases,” Shroeder railed.
“I commented at the time I don’t see the similarities and I don’t see the similarities now.”
The judge and prosecutor already had a testy exchange moments earlier.
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence,” Schroeder, who called the move on the border of a “grave constitutional violation,” shouted at Binger.
“That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 or 50 years … You’re an experienced trial lawyer, and this should not have been gone into.”
Rittenhouse’s defense attorney was demonstrably angered during the back-and-forth and was seen on camera rolling his eyes and leaning back in his chair in exasperation, according to the Post.
“This is ridiculous,” Mark Richards told the judge.
“I ask the court to strongly admonish him and the next time this happens, I’m going to ask for a mistrial with prejudice.”
The judge and prosecutor also had an irritable exchange on Tuesday when Schroeder dismissed count seven in the indictment, which involved an emergency management curfew, Law Officer reported.