One of my pet peeves in an adult lifetime of working in the criminal justice system is the misapplication of the term “victim.”  Traditionally, whomever was killed (or hurt the worst) in a violent encounter has been referred to as the “victim.”  This muddies the waters in the frequent cases where the innocent “Good Guy,” the intended victim of the criminal “Bad Guy,” turns the tables and shoots – perhaps even kills – their attacker to save their own life.  The original criminal perpetrator has been named the Victim, and the intended Victim is seen as the Perpetrator.

Many years ago, I toured police headquarters in a city which had recently earned the dubious title of a “murder capitol.”  A huge chart in the homicide investigation office listed names, dates, locations and who killed who.  I was saddened to see that even in cases where a police officer had killed a would-be cop-killer in line of duty defense of themselves and the public, the dead thug was listed as the “victim” and the police officer as the “perpetrator.”

In such cases, I’ve always thought it was the jury’s job to determine who was the “victim.”

I was delighted to see that a certain judge feels the same way.  Judge Bruce Schroeder will preside over the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, much discussed in these pages, which begins this coming Monday.  In the pre-trial motions, the issue came up as to whether the prosecution could characterize the defendant as a cold-blooded murderer, or whether the defense could characterize the men who were shot as looters, rioters or arsonists.

If you’ve followed the news (the Chicago Tribune in my case), you’ve seen the judge’s decision characterized as “Judge says victims can’t be called victims, but defense can call them criminals” or words to that effect.

I wonder if those “news writers” were actually listening to the proceedings, as I was (and as you can) on Court TV.  As I interpret it, what the judge says was the prosecution can’t characterize the defendant as a criminal until they can show reason to believe that, and the defense can’t characterize those who were shot as criminals until THEY can show reason to believe that.

Sounds fair to me.

Attorney Andrew Branca has a solid take on that, with video clips of the proceedings, here:

In controversial cases such as this one or the George Zimmerman trial eight years ago, Branca’s daily analysis has proven itself to be the gold standard. I expect the same to be true in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.  You can follow Andrew’s analyses at www.lawofselfdefense.com or at www.legalinsurrection.com.

A recent profile of Schroeder gives me all the more respect for this judge.

28 COMMENTS

  1. As usual, the media either misses or buries the nuances (and sometimes actual fact) in favor of attention grabbing verbiage. Not to mention probable driving of a narrative.

    I expect it was true when I was young, but now I notice how much of the daily local paper is made up of stories from what used to be called wire services: Associated Press and Reuters to name two. This makes sense as only the very large outfits can afford to maintain their own bureaus in far flung places. But, those equally large news outlets have “style guides”. This shows the employees how they’re supposed to write. Now, I can see eliminating abbreviations/acronyms known only to a select few and watching punctuation and word choice, but this appears to be a potential problem. The problem being when the “guide” essentially directs the chosen narrative, as seems probable. Even if not an editorial directive.

  2. The true victims are the American People.

    1) The People are victimized by the wholesale robbery of the middle-class by the Leftists elites by means of taxes, fees and big business overcharging for their services.
    2) The People are victimized by the criminals unleashed and supported by left-wing policies.
    3) The People are victimized by the destruction of the family, hopelessness, immorality, and despair created by left-wing social policies.
    4) The People are victimized by the open borders created by the left to bring in masses of illegal aliens to shore up the left’s political power-base.
    5) The People are victimized by the flood of lies, propaganda and indoctrination that the left feeds them every second of every day.
    6) The People are victimized by diseases that are engineered with funding, provided by the worldwide left, and then unleashed upon the population to sow death and fear. Fear that the leftist elites use to enhance and increase their political control.
    7) The people are victimized by injustice. Injustice that is used to falsely charge the innocent, like Kyle Rittenhouse, and used to punish anyone who protests the elite’s control. Like the Political prisoners who rot in D.C. dungeons at this very moment. See this link:

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/10/30/an-alarming-letter-from-january-6-protester-nathan-degrave-from-his-jail-cell-in-washington-dc/#more-219281

    8) The People are victimized by government mismanagement, waste, and by rigged elections that prevent the people from taking corrective action.
    9) The People are victimized by having their privacy stripped away by a government that continuously spies upon them, in Big Brother fashion, to track their every thought and movement. By having their Constitutional Right diluted, watered-down, and then finally stripped away from them one by one. The Right to Protest (gone unless one is a leftist), The Right to Free Speech (ditto), the Right to Religious Choice, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the Right to a Speedy Trial (gone for anyone except a leftists. Leftists simply don’t get charged at all), The Right to Bail (given free to actual criminals but denied to Conservatives like the Jan. 6th Protesters). One by one, they are all being taken away while we stand here gaping like idiots.
    10) The People are victimized by having left-wing ideology and dogma (like climate change, White Privilege, White Racism, socialism, etc.) literally shoved down our throats. The left desires to control every thought in our heads. We must be puppets who move and dance as they pull every on our strings. Nothing else will satisfy them.

    There you go. Ten(10) bullet points to define the REAL victims in America.

  3. I think the people that were shot should be referred to as “dumbasses 1, 2 & 3” as they all made the decision to attack someone who was armed with a rifle & paid the price for doing so. One could hope that the rioters & anarchists destroying our cities realize that their actions have consequences, even if they are not coming from the criminal “justice” system.

    • Yup, those three fools were so proud and hsughty they put their own poor judgement on this “young kid wannabee wiht a big rifle” thinking he’d be a pushove,r not have the guts and/or skill to USE that “big rifle” for one of its intended uses. But as each one backed him into a corner on the ground, he raised that “big rifle” and made use of both courage AND skill. two breatehd their last shortely thereafter, the third sill has a badly maimed right rm. I recetnly learned there were apparently three others who were involved in that kerfuffle, but who exercised much better judgement of Kyle. As each of these approached Kyle, in their turns, to apparantly [perpertrate violence agasint \him and/or take possession of his “big rifle” Kyle carefully raised the muzzle to bear on each one during their turn, and kept it trained upon each one for long enough for that one to realise he WOULD indeed fire and that he had not only good aim but good control over the “big rifle’. Discretioin being the better part of valor, each one in his turn made an informed decision to break off his attack and live to fight another day. Since none of these aggressors were identified as more of Kyle’s “victims” he is not charged with this use of force.

      I remember thinking as I read of these three that it would be hilariously righteous were Kyle’s defense team to identify and present as witness one or more of them. Let them testify as to their intentions and actioins, and their response to it, and demonstrate Kyle was indeed NOT interested in killing people only in not being killed himself. Describe his excellent control of the weapon, his careful conduct during the encounter, his rediness to break off his defensive posture once it ws clear his life was no longer in danger. If this would not ocnvince the jury of Kyle’s predicament and his limited options in response, the jury is already sold out. Hearing from another aggressor in the same situation but who experienced a radically different outcome would destroy the States narrative.

  4. Rioters yes Anarchist NO as an anarchist I don’t take what doesn’t belong to me and I do no harm to anyone who doesn’t try to hurt me or the innocent

  5. TN_Man is right! I’m amazed the good people of the USA have not engaged in a civil war for the atrocious way things have been unfolding in recent years. Whether it’s disinterest and complacency, or quiet committed resolve to remain legal and not let such a thing come to pass is debatable.
    I suspect the latter, but how long will this remains the status quo? How much can decent people take before they decide to push back?

    As to Kyle Rittenhouse, I’m rooting for a not guilty verdict. Having seen the video’s, I’m at a loss as to why he’s even needing to go on trial for obvious self defense!

    • Kyle is not ‘needing to go on tiral”.We have a rotten prosecutor who has a false hero complex and is trying to make a name for himself at Kyle’s expense. I would like nothing better at this point than to witness this twisted pice of libaral trash go down in flames as this trial “goes sideways” on him, returns a full acquittal of Kyle, and puts him out before the general public as the sorrupt idiot he really is.
      I’ve followed Mr. Branca’s very lucid coverage and analisis of the pre-trail proceedings and had to nod my head in vogourous agreement as Mr. Branca put forth the unlikley but justifiable possibibily that this Judge could render judgment himself, pronounc a full acquittal and inflicing harsh sanctions upon that PA for his outrageous charging of an innocent man on the basis of speculation, innuendo, unprovable accusations, then demand the state pay all Kyle’s attorneys fees and costs, and compensate Kyle for the time he spent in jail and dealing with this trial that never should have happened. Might make the next poliltical prosecutor hesitate at least a few nanoseconds before doing something similar.

      • @Tionico: I’ve seen the comment — and I agree with the gist of it — that if justice is to be served, Kyle cannot just walk away free of this.

        For justice to be served, it’s being said, Kyle must walk away free and rich, after being awarded and reimbursed damages for wrongful arrest, wrongful imprisonment, and having his entire legal defense paid for by the State and the prosecutors, in both their professional and personal capacities. (Yes, I know that last bit won’t actually happen, but a guy can dream, right?)

        Bottom line: This trial should never have happened.

    • @ GerryK – “I’m amazed the good people of the USA have not engaged in a civil war for the atrocious way things have been unfolding in recent years.”

      We are in a battle. Ultimately, the battle is between the “Hopes of the Good People, in America, for a better life” against the “Hopelessness arising from the policies, lies, propaganda, and indoctrination of the Leftists elites”.

      Who will ultimately win? History will let us know. The hopelessness spread by the Left is very powerful. It is fed by all the wealth that the leftists elites have stolen, from the American People, over the decades. It is fed by a worldwide cabal of globalists and enemies of America. It is fed by the left controlling so many powerful institutions (media, big tech, big business, Hollywood, academia, the Government Deep State, etc.). Can hope prevail against such a flood, such a “stacked deck”, of hopelessness?

      Kurt Schlichter has written an article which proposes a formula that might lead to success. See the link below:

      https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2021/11/01/you-libs-made-your-cesspool-now-float-in-it-n2598307

      He is pinning his hopes on the increasing PAIN that the left-wing policies are causing. Especially in the Democrat controlled Big Cities. In other words, his formula is:

      Hope + Increasing Pain = Motivation to change things for the better

      Is he right? Boy, I hope so!

  6. What I find interesting about the Tribune piece is that in painting Schroeder as potentially biased towards Rittenhouse, they list how defense attorneys avoid him. It’s almost like they believe the men Rittenhouse shot were on trial.

  7. I’ve heard one argument that the three non-victims could be referred to as decedent or plaintiff. While I do like dumbass 1, 2, and 3, I want to see this trial ended with a valid judgement that has a low chance for appeal if Mr. Rittenhouse prevails.

      • @ Richard – “But the Feds can.”

        I am not sure what Federal Charges the Feds could apply. They could not re-try him for murder since none of his so-called “victims” were Federal officers. They were white, the same as Rittenhouse, so bringing “Hate Crime” or bringing “Civil Rights Violation” type charges is also off the table.

        They might try to do something with the weapon charges such as illegal purchase of an “Assault Rifle” by a minor or, if they could prove it, transportation of a rifle across State Lines for a crime of violence. However, my understanding is that the rifle was given to Rittenhouse locally and did not cross State Lines. So, even here, the Feds would have problems.

        Of course, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. The Left has always shown a willingness to use the law as a weapon (lawfare) to attack their enemies and for propaganda purposes. So, it is possible that the Fed’s might cobble together some kind of charge(s) to bring. They probably would not win but that might not be the point. The point might be to torture Rittenhouse with unending legal troubles and expenses so as to illustrate to us sheep that you don’t dare challenge the POWER of the AMERICAN LEFT. If you do, then they will make your life a living HELL for years on end.

        Just like they did to General Flynn.

        Is the hell that they have already put Kyle Rittenhouse through enough to satisfy the malice of the American Left if he is acquitted? Or will they come back for their full “Pound of Flesh”?

        Time will tell.

      • I wasn’t clear now that I reread my comment. I’m concerned there will be discontent up to and including rioting. I want to see a jury make a valid decision, I believe not guilty, that will be well thought out based on evidence and the law. That said, I could see a hung jury and a retrial. A hung jury would be my concern.

      • Mas, Malcolm Robertson, Tommy Charles Sewall, Richard & TN_MAN,

        If Schroeder is a just judge, could the Left find a way to get him off the case, then assign an unjust judge to it?

      • @ Roger Willco – “…could the Left find a way to get him off the case…”

        i think it is too late for anything like that since the trial is already underway. It would surely trigger a mistrial to replace the Judge now. The Left might not mind a mistrial. It would delay the case even longer and prolong Kyle Rittenhouse’s pain and suffering. That would be a big PLUS from the viewpoint of the Left.

        However, their case is so weak that it would make them look desperate to try such a tactic now. The Left needs to look POWERFUL and in CONTROL all the time. It is critical for their propaganda efforts. That is why they can’t stand “Let’s go Brandon”.

        They cannot afford to look weak and desperate. So, I doubt that they would try such a thing at this late date. Better to lose this case than to first look foolish and then it lose anyway.

  8. Thank dear God in heaven the judge seems to be exactly who needs to be presiding.

    The prosecutor is embarrassing. Seriously. I didn’t go to law school but I have learned enough through Mas and Andrew to realize that this lawyer is making some pathetic arguments. He knows his case is weak. Now the media are starting to realize this.

    Nonetheless, the prosecutor has the power to do what he’s doing. We as gun owners have to understand that we don’t live in the world we would like, we live in the world we have. I don’t see this changing any time soon. Half this country seems to applaud it being flushed down the toilet.

    I have always wondered this: the Kenosha County DA said he didn’t take the lead on this case because he was busy with the Blake shooting. The DA ultimately didn’t charge police because Blake was an armed fool. Kudos to the DA for that, but I wonder if he allowed for this prosecution to make up for it. Would voters there even care? I have no idea.

  9. The reason that Rittenhouse is being tried in the first place is political. The prosecutor doesn’t like anyone trying to defend themselves with guns, in the first place, and add that to the fact that Kyle is from out of state, a minor, who used the dreaded “black rifle”, and when charges were filed, I suspect that the prosecutor felt that his case was a slam dunk.
    Later when Rittenhouse became a high profile cause for gun owners, and money was raised for his defense, and some very good lawyers took his case, suddenly it became almost like an albatross around the prosecutions neck, but by that time, they had already used it for their political future, and so there was no quietly dropping the charges, and hoping that the media would let it go away.
    With the fact that they have a Judge who is on to their BS and won’t let his courtroom be made into a liberal publicity center, suddenly the prosecution’s case begins to look harder and harder to make, while the defense begins to show a much stronger hand.
    This case has gotten quiet and cold, in the news, but once it begins in earnest in the trial, I suspect that it will get very hot and important, as the news media tries to do whatever they can to hide what is happening in Washington D.C. with the president, since it is always bad news from his office.
    As to W R Moore, and the local newspaper, here in Muskegon, MI, our local newspaper now costs 3$ per day, for a very tiny paper, and on our Sunday paper, it is 5$, for what used to be an average daily paper, including the weekly ads. Why anyone would subscribe to it is anyone’s guess. If I wake up in the morning, I know that my name is not in the Obits, and the rest I can get online, for free. If the news were even handed, it would be different, but they make no bones about being liberal. In fact, they are proud of it. So I see print newspapers, unless they are for very large cities, pretty much on their way out.

  10. We can only hope Judge Schroeder is absolutely SQEAKY CLEAN. Lest the lunatic left mob find out that he, let’s say, spanked his puppy when he was ten, after the puppy made a doody on the floor. If they find out about that they’ll threaten HIM with crucifixion if he doesn’t change his demeanor. And once again we’ll witness the new Department of INJustice in action, AGAIN.

  11. The term “victim” has no set meaning. A new term is probably needed. Hence the relatively recent use of the term “person of Interest” in investigations and reporting, since “suspect” AND “witness” have connotations of guilt/innocence and other legal implications. In the Rittenhouse case, “Good Luck” with using “rioter” or “arsonist”, since the Democratic Media has been using terminology such as “a riot broke out at a peaceful demonstration”. “Demonstrator” and “rioter” have become about as useless as “victim”. “Decedent” {with #1 and #2] might do as a “neutral” term for now.

    • The Leftist Media may have been trying to equate “demonstrator”, “protester”, and “rioter”, but in the minds of most Americans, the first two may be roughly equivalent but “rioter” still has a very different, distinctly non-peaceful, connotation.

      Also don’t forget that “looter” is still on the table. All the defense has to do is show some evidence the terms (“rioter”, “looter”, and “arsonist”) apply to the deceased/injured men. The prosecution can refer to Kyle as “cold-blooded murderer” if they can show evidence of that, but I believe the defense could make the case that since the whole point of the trial is to establish whether or not Kyle is a murderer, using the term before a verdict is rendered is probably prejudicial.

  12. @TN man

    Can’t reply directly because of website issues.

    It will be the civil rights charge. It was considered for Zimmerman but in they end they didn’t do it. Holder has more integrity than Garland though, God help us.

    • In the Zimmerman case, the men were of different races. Martin was black while Zimmerman was labeled a “White-Hispanic” by the biased media. That was the reason that Federal Civil Rights charges were considered in the Zimmerman-Martin Shooting case. It was because the so-called “Victim” was black.

      Even in the Zimmerman case, there was really nothing to show that the shooting was motivated by race or was a so-called “Hate Crime”. The media and the race-baiters certainly placed the “Race Card” for all it is worth. Even so, the Fed’s decided that there was not anything to really support such charges. They would have been sure to lose the case. The only reason to do it would have been to torture Zimmerman some more. Having just lost face in losing the Zimmerman Trial, they decided to not go back to the well and try again in Federal Court.

      However, in this case, there is literally nothing upon which to hang a civil right charge. As I said before, Rittenhouse and all of his so-called “Victims” are white. That was a lucky break for Rittenhouse. If one or two of the attackers, that he shot, had been black, the Left and the media would be whipping the racism claims into a fury.

      I simply don’t see how the Fed’s could hope to play the “Race Card” and bring up civil rights charges on Rittenhouse. Such an effort would likely be thrown out of court before it even made it to a jury.

      As I said before, the Fed’s can always cobble some kind of charges together. Federal law and Regulations are so thick that, if stacked on end, they would reach to the moon. No doubt, I am in violation of several Federal regulations just sitting here, in my home, typing on my computer.

      That is the point of building a pile of Federal Law and Regulations that is miles deep. So that, if you wish, you can always find SOMETHING with which to charge somebody. It is like the USSR’s Lavrentiy Beria said:

      “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”

      So, the Fed’s could find SOMETHING if they want. It probably would not stick but the point might be to just torture Kyle Rittenhouse some more. On the other hand, if they are embarrassed by losing the State case against Rittenhouse, they might choose to just drop it, bury it in the media, and then move on to their next “Show Trial” victim. Who knows how the Left will jump?

      • TN_MAN,

        If Kyle Rittenhouse is declared “not guilty,” it will mean he did everything legally correctly, during a nighttime riot, while being outnumbered, alone, and pursued by armed individuals intent on taking his defensive rifle from him. That’s pretty good for a 17-year-old. It is difficult to make snap decisions in stressful, low-light conditions. Although, with fires burning in the area, maybe the conditions were not “low-light.” He even attempted to surrender to cops after the justified, self-defense shootings.

        It will also mean our legal system still works . . . . . for now. I’m sure George Soros will find a way to fix that.

Comments are closed.