U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- On 11 February 2021, there was a hearing requested by the Kenosha District Attorney’s office in the self-defense case involving Kyle Rittenhouse. The shooting occurred during the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020. Judge Schroeder of Kenosha presided over the virtual hearing, which was done on Zoom. The hearing was contentious. Judge Schroeder schooled DA Thomas Binger on the law, bond procedure, and the facts several times during the hearing. In the end, the judge denied Binger’s requests and forbade the DA’s office from accessing the location of Kyle Rittenhouse’s abode.
There exists an extensive video of the riots and the shootings, online from several perspectives. The video shows Kyle Rittenhouse running from the mob and shooting armed attackers in self-defense.
DA Thomas Binger from Kenosha started off the hearing, characterizing Rittenhouse as dangerous, irresponsible, and violating the terms of his bond.
DA Thomas Binger was brought up short by Judge Bruce E. Schroeder, who showed the DA was aware of the issue of where Rittenhouse was staying on the original bond, had the opportunity to request limitations on where Rittenhouse would stay, had not asked for limitations, and no limitations were imposed by the judge. Judge Schroeder explained to DA Binger the difference between a place of abode and an address for receiving notification of court hearings.
Judge Schroeder made clear his policy that people involved in incidents before the court would not be referred to as “victims” before the case was adjudicated. Calling some parties “victims” is, in effect, pre-judging the case, particularly when self-defense is claimed.
DA Thomas Binger said he filed a motion for a gag order in this case.
The effect of a gag order would be to only allow the prosecution version of the case to appear in the court of public opinion, thus tainting and biasing the jury pool, as well as promoting the DA’s political narrative.
Throughout the hearing, the DA and others DA Binger had invited to the hearing, attempted to smear Rittenhouse with the accusations of white supremacy and to invoke racism.
Judge Schroeder stated he would not involve race in his courtroom and he would not allow anyone to be judged by the color of his skin.
DA Binger and Gaige Grosskruetz’s lawyer, Kimberly Motley, repeatedly made the claim that not knowing a person’s abode was “highly unusual” and “required for all criminal defendants”. Judge Schroeder repeatedly showed this to be false.
The judge pointed out that Rittenhouse has shown up for every hearing, on time. He noted that the court had the cash for the bond.
Judge Schroeder: “I want to have a fair trial in this case. This case is not going to be decided by demonstrators. I do not want to hear about a demonstration.”
DA Thomas Binger admitted he does not have clear and convincing evidence to revoke the bond as required by law.
John Huber is the father of Anthony Huber. Anthony was recorded on video attacking Kyle Rittenhouse with a skateboard and struggling to take Rittenhouse’ rifle before Anthony was shot. Anthony’s father was allowed to make a statement. Huber became confrontational with the judge, about taking off a mask he was wearing. The judge was gentle with him, but Huber took off the mask.
Huber then appears to read a prepared statement characterizing the people supporting Kyle Rittenhouse as “hate groups” and “militia”. The statement seemed to call for punishment now, trial later. He further smeared Kyle as linked to “White supremacist groups” and appeared to make a veiled threat.
Grosskruetz’s lawyer, Kimberly Motley, used the word “victims” and called for much greater bond, and the giving of Rittenhouse’s address, asks for electronic monitoring and for movement to be confined. She claims Rittenhouse was “wearing inappropriate attire”, “chugging” three beers over a 90 minute time period. None of the actions she describes, except the mailing address change, were forbidden in the original bond.
Judge Schroeder warned her about using the “victims” term.
When the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse, Mark Richards, was allowed to speak. He schooled the DA. His comments show:
- DA Thomas Binger knew from the beginning that Rittenhouse was not living at the Antioch address.
- The defense attempted to provide the DA with addresses under seal; the DA refused the restriction.
- Kyle has appeared for every court appearance.
Rittenhouse’ Lawyer, Mark Richards, ends with this statement:
“My client will appear. He looks forward to litigating these offenses in your honor’s courtroom. We have nothing to fear, the truth will set my client free.”
Then Grosskruetz’s lawyer, Kimberly Motley, brings up the race card, referring to a separate case in Kenosha.
Judge Schroeder gives a historical explanation. He sums it up with:
“I am not going to decide anything in this case or in any other, on the basis of the color of someone’s skin.”
The last eleven minutes of the hearing sum up everything. Judge Schroeder explains the law, facts, and procedure. DA Binger make the same arguments he made before. The judge then denies everything to the DA. Here is a transcript of the last 11 minutes of the hearing: It starts with Judge Schroeder, speaking of Kyle Rittenhouse:
“He was not put under a condition of living at a specific address. That could have been done. The District Attorney apparently was aware of what he now refers to as “flying the coop, was aware of that situation back then, and he didn’t ask for a condition for place of abode, and judge Keating didn’t order it, so there is no change of circumstances there. I do not believe it would be proper to issue a warrant. I do not think that it would be lawful. No matter what feelings anyone has, I took an oath to follow the constitution and uphold the laws, and that is what I am going to do.
It is sad this is getting at the level that it is. I can’t help that. I will tell you that the violation.., well, most of the people who are out on bond, we don’t know where they are. There are people who are out on bond, who are, they are business people. I have had cases where people are, they do international business. They fly all over the world while they are out on bond, and there is nothing prohibiting them in that bond. This is a border county. A significant portion of the people who are out on bond are living in Chicago or one of the other collar counties and are in and out available every day. We don’t have these restrictions on travel except when the judge, following the statute, puts an abode condition on. That was not done in this case. So he didn’t violate anything like that.
I don’t have the authority to issue the warrant the District Attorney is talking about.
I don’t agree with his analysis of what the circumstances, or I should say the procedure, for getting the bond changed. I get people in here and I do change their bond. Then I tell them to post it by a certain time, or they have to report to the jail.
If they don’t report, that’s when the warrant is issued. But to issue a warrant now, for a defendant who has appeared at every hearing, I would be breaking the law, and I am not going to do it.
I disagree with your statement that bail is a privilege. Bail is a right. In the Constitution.
We spoke to the bail that was set. He is in violation of a condition of updating his address.
Lawyer for Gaige Grosskruetz, Kimberly Motley: Are you talking to me?
Judge Schroeder: I am talking to everybody.
Actually, if he would have left a forwarding address, that probably would have been full compliance, with the bond order. We are interested where we can send notices to the defendant to appear for a hearing or whatever the case may be. He apparently didn’t leave a forwarding address, at least that is the evidence that was returned to the clerk. So he is in violation.
I can tell you, and I talked to the clerk yesterday, to confirm what I thought. There are a very, very, very high percentage of people who are out on bond who, when, because she routinely asks, after a hearing is done; Are you still living at the same address?
I would estimate the number of cases where the person says yes, is over 10%, maybe significantly more than that, where the people say, yes I have got a new address, and they haven’t notified the clerk. They are in violation.
I have never jailed one of those people. I have never heard of any other judge jailing those people. I have never seen a bond, a bail jumping violation based on one of those things.
I have never seen the District Attorney bring anything like that into the court. We amend their address on our record. And, they might get barked at a little bit for violating the court’s order. But that is the extent of what happens.
And they don’t get a raise in their bond, of a 10% raise in their bond. I can’t recall that ever happening. I am not sure if it has.
He didn’t, he fully is in violation for not updating his address. And that has to be addressed going forward.
The desire, that the bond, or the request for the defendent’s address be kept from public scrutiny is a legitimate one. What I am going to order is that the actual physical location of the defendant, and it will be his place of abode. If he is going to remove from there he will have to follow the bond conditions, and give us the exact physical location of the place of abode.
And that is to be given to the deputy clerk, working in this court, who will keep it privately, it will not to be part of the public record. It will be given to me, it will be held the same way. and it will to be given to whomever the sheriff designates as the commanding, the person who would be responsible for the full knowledge of the whereabouts of the defendant, and that is to be kept secret by the sheriff’s office. So, is that clear Mr. Richards, what is required.
Kyle Rittenhouse’ Attorney, Mark Richards: It is your honor and you and your clerk will have that by Five O’clock today, and I will have it to the sheriff’s department as soon as I am told who is designated to.
Judge Schroeder: OK.
DA Thomas Binger: Your honor, is that information to be shared with the our offices too?
Judge Schroeder: No. The District Attorney’s Office, and the answer is no.
DA: Why not?
Judge Schroeder: That has nothing to do with you or your office, I think the Sheriff, would be your right arm or left arm, whichever is preferred, in discharging anything that needs to be done. And they are not to share it with you unless you offer good reason. And it is not that I don’t trust you. I think that, again, the less of this, the safer everybody is. As I said.
You remember what went on six months ago here, I have two broken windows here, right here in this courtroom. The doors are still covered with plywood. A good share of the community is still boarded up after millions of dollars of property damage at this ghastly event occurred. So,
DA Thomas Binger: Because we would not be in any way contributing to that but our obligations to help monitor the defendant’s bonds conditions, without knowing were he is at, that becomes very difficult. If I am to file a charge of felony bail jumping, for example for the defendant violating his bond, and I don’t know where he is at that makes if pretty difficult…
Judge Schroeder: call the court, … call the court…
And if someone has criticized me for not doing so in the past, and I feel like I need to have this information, and certainly no on this zoom call needs to be reminded of the events of six months ago. We have the loved ones of two deceased and a victim who was shot in the arm by the defendant that night.
Judge Schroeder: Please do not use the term victim.
DA Thomas Binger: Mr… Mr. Grosscruetz was shot in the arm
Rittenhouse’ Lawyer, Mark Richards: Your honor, if my client, if Mr. Binger wants to…
If my client, If Mr. Binger wants my client to appear on what he is going to do next, which is issue a felony bail jumping, send it to my office. He will be in court the next day. This posturing is not serving any purpose at this point. The Court has ruled.
DA Thomas Binger: Your honor this is not posturing. This is standard procedure in all criminal cases. that everybody knows were the defendant is. This is highly unusual for this to be withheld under seal. The court has ruled this can be sealed from the public. But we are not the public. We are the prosecuting agency, we are the prosecutors on this case. And we have a very important right to know this information as the prosecuting agency in Kenosha County. And I have never heard of a situation where this information has been withheld from our office. The sheriff department, you are right, is a law enforcement agency, but we work with them and to withhold them from giving to us, the court from giving to us, to cut us out of that information is not appropriate here. We are, our office is headed up by the elected DA which is, the chief law enforcement officer in this community. This is murder case. And we are entitled to this information, your honor. We have never been denied this information in any case that I have ever heard of and I, if the court is aware of a case in this history where the you’ve not shared this information with us, I would appreciate you sharing that case with us, letting us know what case that was, because this is highly irregular. We have a right to know this. I would argue the public has a right to know it as well, I can understand the court ruling concealing it from the public. But our office has a responsibility to enforce the laws, enforce the bond here, to file bond, ah, bail jumping charges if there is a violation of that, and we cannot do our job without this information.
Judge Schroeder: The sheriff can keep on top of this, as to whether there is a violation. That’s where most of your information…
When I was district attorney, and I know it has been a long time, but, I did not have any investigative staff, except for one investigator, which i won’t go into. But the sheriff department was in charge of reporting bond violations and the like to us. And I think the same situation is good now.
The hearing is over. Thank you.
DA Thomas Binger: The defendant does not reside in Kenosha County, your honor! The sheriff can’t help …
Judge Schroeder: Thank you
Rittenhouse’ Lawyer, Mark Richards: Good afternoon.
Judge Schroeder: Good afternoon.
End of hearing.
If you want the best understanding of the case, the video contains many nuances that are not transmitted in a transcript. A transcript cannot catch facial expressions or inflections in the voices.
Analysis: This is part of a continuing attempt by the prosecution to make the trial into a Soviet-style political trial. There is no legitimate reason for the DA office to be aware of the actual location of Kyle Rittenhouse, given the extra-legal animosity shown to Rittenhouse by the DA office, their political allies, and their continuing attempts to smear him. The judge made it clear if an actual legal issue occurs, the DA need only call the court.
Having the actual location would be immensely valuable to a politically motivated DA. It could be leaked to their allies in Black Lives Matter and to Antifa. The “protestors” could apply extra-legal pressure to Rittenhouse, his family, and his attorneys, as tends to be done in totalitarian regimes. That would make the defense immensely more difficult. The press coverage of such events would play into the public smearing of Rittenhouse.
The “protestors” could stage violent demonstrations, in an attempt to make Rittenhouse’ trial into a repeat of the trial of the officers involved in the Rodney King incident, where some jurors later said, they believed the officers to be not guilty, but found them guilty to avoid another riot.
Judge Schroeder was having none of it. He stopped the political prosecution in this hearing and pointed out the falsehoods and political interpretation of law put forward by the DA.
Judge Schroeder was appointed by a Democrat governor in 1984. He graduated from law school in 1970. He has been a judge in Kenosha for 34 years. He appears to be the man for the job.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.