Prosecutors and Defense Debate Jury Instructions – NBC Chicago

Hot arguments erupted on Friday as prosecutors and defense attorneys in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial drew up jury instructions ahead of the start of closing arguments.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces six counts including murder charges in the August 2020 deaths of two men during protests in Kenosha and the injury of a third.

Prosecutors will be able to consider “lesser charges” in addition to the original calculations if Judge Bruce Schroeder approves.

With many legal observers saying prosecutors struggled to punish Rittenhouse’s self-defense claims, Schroeder’s decisions on what to allow on smaller charges could be meaningful.

Attorney Thomas Glasgow, a former prosecutor, says how the jury is instructed can be critical to the outcome of the case.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial had a dramatic day on Wednesday, with tears from the defendant on the stand and threats of trial by the judge. Criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Bernarda Villalona joined LX News to explain the legal strategies, and missteps, behind the fireworks display.

“When the jury goes back into that room, those instructions are their bible,” he said. “They are looking at those instructions to find out how we will convict or how we will find that person not guilty of the crime.”

Glasgow says the jury will also be the ultimate judge of the credibility of the witnesses presented at trial, including Rittenhouse, who appeared to cry when he took the stand in his own defense.

“According to the reports, some of the jurors were as if caught by the fact that he was crying and upset,” Glasgow said. “Will that cause them sympathy? Will they see him as a sympathetic, frightened young boy who has been tricked into getting into this situation, or will they see him as a fraud?”

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Monday in the case that left Americans divided on whether the teen was a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness or a guard who brought a gun to protest.

The judge said he would issue his final decisions on Saturday, but he also made some results from the bench and indicated how he tended to judge others.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense team continued to make its case in court on Wednesday, calling additional witnesses for testimony and bringing Rittenhouse himself to the stand.

Rittenhouse faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide in Rosenbaum’s shooting death, which was the first person he shot after Rosenbaum chased him into a second-hand car lot. Prosecutors sought to add a second-degree reckless homicide charge that would not force prosecutors to prove that Rittenhouse had shown utter disrespect for human life.

After the defense objected, Schroeder said he would probably not allow the jury to consider the lesser charge because he thought a subsequent guilty verdict on second-degree reckless homicide would be overturned on appeal.

Rittenhouse also faces two charges of first-degree reckless endangerment: one for shooting an unknown man who tried to kick him in the face and another because a reporter was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum.

Schroeder said he tended to allow a lesser charge of second-degree reckless endangerment when it comes to endangering the reporter, but that lawyers should not be surprised if he does not allow it. He also said he would not allow the lesser charge in the case of the unidentified man who tried to kick Rittenhouse.

After closing arguments on Monday, names will be drawn to decide which 12 jurors will deliberate and who will be dismissed as substitutes. Eighteen people heard the case. The panel appears to be overwhelmingly white, as is Rittenhouse and the three men he shot.


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