George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley believes that testimony and Judge Bruce Schroeder’s observations in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial have undermined the firearms charge, and the said charge should not be heard by the jury.
On November 12, 2021, Breitbart News noted that Schroeder expressed skepticism about state gun laws, saying he would let the charge go to the jury, but would allow the defense to include an instruction pointing to the exceptions in the law – an obstacle it would do. it harder for the prosecution to prove guilt.
November 14, 2021, Turley wrote:
In the coverage of last week’s motion hearing in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, I noticed a surprising comment from Judge Bruce Schroeder that he had “spent hours” with Wisconsin’s gun laws and could not say with certainty what that meant in this case. The verdict could effectively knock the number of offenses out of gun possession – the one point that could still be at stake for the jury after the prosecution’s case on the more serious offense appeared to collapse in court. A close examination of this provision reveals ample reason to question not only its significance but also its application in this case.
If Rittenhouse was convicted on that point, it could face a serious appeal. It’s actually strange why Schroeder would even submit the count to the jury if it is undisputed that Rittenhouse was 17 … https://t.co/rEHNq9EHS5
– Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) November 14, 2021
[Judge Schroeder] said to the prosecutors: “I have struggled with this statute, I would not count the hours I have put into it, I am still trying to find out what it says, what is forbidden. I have a legal education.” He added that he did not understand how an “ordinary citizen” could understand what is illegal.
Turley also pointed out that the prosecution appeared to be “learning” about the gun law under Rittenhouse’s own testimony:
[Prosecutor Thomas Binger] pressed Rittenhouse on why he did not just buy a gun instead of an AR-15. Rittenhouse replied that he could not possess a handgun at his age. Binger then asked in apparent disbelief that the law allowed him to have an AR-15 but not a gun, and Rittenhouse said yes. Binger then moved on after apparently pulling a point to the defense.
Turley ultimately suggested that the firearms charge should not go to the jury:
It is difficult to understand how the count could be given to the jury without a clear understanding of what it means. It is also difficult to instruct a jury on an ambiguous statute. Criminal law must be interpreted narrowly. It is called the “lenity rule” and has existed in the English system for centuries.
He believes the clearest part of the law is a ban on minors possessing short-range rifles. But Turley noted: “Rittenhouse used a Smith & Wesson MP-15 with an advertised barrel length of 16 inches and the total length is 36.9 inches. It is not a short barrel.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning columnist in the Second Amendment for Breitbart News and the author / curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focusing on oneedleThe second amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is a political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point US Ambassador. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can sign up for the Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.
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