The murder trial of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse has been underway for several days, and many have argued that the prosecution hasn’t been particularly successful at making its case. Now, after an egregious error by prosecutors Wednesday, some are even suggesting it could all end in a mistrial.
According to The Hill, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder felt compelled to publicly chastise Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger on multiple occasions for violating the court’s rulings on inadmissible evidence, as well as for what the judge called the “grave constitutional violation” of casting suspicion on Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent.
Binger was chided by the judge for his “brazen” attitude and warned against any further attempts to defy orders or flout “basic law.”
A “grave constitutional violation”
The back-and-forths prompted defense attorney Corey Chirafisi to formally call for a mistrial “with prejudice” — meaning the Rittenhouse couldn’t be retried again, Breitbart reported. Chirafisi accused Binger of essentially acting in “bad faith” to ruin the current trial in order to get “another kick at the cat” with a retrial.
The first blow-up occurred after Binger appeared to question Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent post-arrest for what occurred the night of a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, when the teenager says he shot three individuals in self defense, killing two of them.
Binger accused Rittenhouse of keeping quiet as a strategic move, and now “tailoring his story” to align with what other witnesses had testified. But Judge Schroeder would have none of that.
“The problem is, this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is — and you’re right on the borderline, and you may be over it,” he said, according to The Hill. “But it better stop.”
“Don’t get brazen with me!”
The second admonishment occurred after Binger attempted to question Rittenhouse on remarks he’d made weeks prior to the shootings about wanting to use his AR-15 rifle against criminal shoplifters — remarks that Judge Schroeder had previously ruled as inadmissible as evidence, Yahoo News reported.
“Why would you think that that made it OK for you, without any advance notice, to bring this matter before the jury?” Schroeder said. “You are already — you were — I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence. That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years,” he declared.
“Don’t get brazen with me!” the judge added a moment later following a defiant retort from Binger. “You knew very well that attorneys can’t go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so. So don’t give me that.”
As for the defense team’s call for a mistrial with prejudice over what they described as “prosecutorial overreaching,” Binger claimed that all of his arguments had been made in “good faith.”
“When you say that you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe that,” the judge reportedly replied, warning “there better not be another incident.”