Rittenhouse Trial Judge Says Jury “Raffle” Has Been His Policy for 20 Years

YouTube Screen Shot/PBS News Hour

As if the Rittenhouse trial needed any more controversy, according to Forbes.com, some people are grumbling while others are bemused by an unusual method of choosing six jurors out of the 18 who would “serve as alternates rather than deciding the case.”

Kyle Rittenhouse pleaded self-defense against murder charges after he shot and killed two men and wounded another during the BLM/Antifa riots in Kenosha in 2020. Following closing arguments, the judge had Rittenhouse randomly pluck six folded pieces of paper containing jurors’ numbers from a metal container.

The Associated Press said, “this method of selecting the 12 jurors who will take part in deliberations is unusual but not necessarily problematic.”

The AP further explained:

 “At the direction of Circuit Judge Bruce Schroder, Rittenhouse’s attorney placed slips of paper into a raffle drum with the numbers of each of the 18 jurors on it who sat through the two-week trial. The drum had been sitting on a window ledge throughout the trial but was placed in front of Rittenhouse at the defense table Tuesday.”

Rittenhouse placed the pieces of paper in front of him that had numbers rather than names of the jurors for privacy and security reasons. He chose these six jurors to dismiss: 11, 58, 14, 45, 9, and 52.

With all the accusations of “racism” coming from some media outlets and activist groups, Judge Schroeder said he originally began using “this method after a court clerk randomly eliminated the only Black  juror from a high-profile trial of a Black defendant, which he called ‘a bad optic.’ ”

The judge said he wasn’t sure if many other judges did it this way, but he said it was an “almost universal” policy he’s applied to his trials for two decades. Saying he’d “never had a complaint about it before,” he concluded, “I think people feel better when they have control.”

At 75 years old, Schroeder “is the longest-serving circuit judge in Wisconsin.”

Michael Cicchini, a defense attorney from Kenosha, said, “if you get him, you are happy as a defense attorney.” The judge was criticized early in the trial for disallowing the word “victim” when referring to the plaintiffs. However, Cicchini also told the Post, Schroeder “usually bans the word ‘victim’ in his courtroom.

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