During a contentious hearing in which Wisconsin judge Bruce Schroeder accused prosecutors of treating 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse different from any other criminal defendant, the judge curtly denied the prosecution’s motion to issue a new arrest warrant for the accused teen, or to increase his bail.
The judge further appeared sympathetic to the defense argument’s pleas that revealing Rittenhouse’s physical address would put him in jeopardy, and apparently cut off prosecutors mid-sentence and abruptly ended the hearing when they attempted to argue that the public has a right to know where Rittenhouse is staying while he awaits trial.
Prosecutors first sought to have Rittenhouse’s bail revoked earlier this month when they discovered that he was not living at the address listed on his pretrial release form, and had not notified either prosecutors or the court of his change of address. They also sought to have his bail increased, apparently incensed that internet fundraising had managed to raise enough money to meet the hefty $2 million price tag for Rittenhouse’s pretrial release.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued, plausibly, that Rittenhouse did not wish to have his true address appear on public records because of numerous threats that had been made against his life. Schroeder conceded during the hearing that Rittenhouse was in technical violation of the conditions of his bail, but noted that this particular infraction was a common one, and that he had never ordered a criminal defendant jailed for failing to notify the court of an address change before.
He further ordered Rittenhouse’s lawyers to reveal Rittenhouse’s current physical address to the court, but agreed to withhold this information from the prosecutors’ office, leading the prosecutors to exclaim, “I hope you’re not suggesting sharing this with our office would lead to further violence. We are not the public. We are the prosecuting agency. I have never heard of a situation where the information has been withheld from my office.”
Schroeder retorted that Rittenhouse has been present for all his pretrial hearings and there is no apparent danger that he would not be present for trial, and that if he violated his bail further, his address would be shared with the sheriffs’ department. When prosecutors attempted to argue the point further, a visibly unimpressed Schroeder cut them off mid-sentence and ended the online hearing.
Rittenhouse is awaiting trial for murder charges for his role in three shootings that occurred during the violent riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin that followed the legally justified shootings of Jacob Blake, who was falsely described as being “unarmed” at the time he was shot by Kenosha police. Blake has since confessed that he was in violation of an order of protection against a woman he was accused of previously sexually assaulting, had stolen her car keys, and was holding a knife and was moving toward a car that was occupied by two children, who police say they believed he was attempting to kidnap.
During the course of the violence that engulfed Kenosha due to the false narrative that was initially peddled about Blake, Rittenhouse shot three men, two of whom later died. Video captured by numerous cell phones and other video cameras appeared to show Rittenhouse fleeing a mob during the course of the night, including Joseph Rosenbaum, who was seen on video throwing an object at Rittenhouse and charging at him right before Rittenhouse fatally shot him.
After shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse was seen fleeing a crowd, and during the course of his flight he fatally shot Anthony Huber, who attempted to tackle him and appeared to hit him over the head with a skateboard. He shot and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, who was seen on video pointing a gun which was later revealed to be loaded at Rittenhouse right before he was shot.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers have argued that he was acting in self-defense. The prosecution and local BLM activists have attempted to paint him as a trigger-happy white supremacist.