Sunday, December 5, 2021

Bruce Schroeder, Rittenhouse Judge: 5 Quick Facts You Need To Know

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Bruce Schroeder is the Kenosha County district judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial.

Schroeder, 75, the senior current district judge in Wisconsin, has become the focus of controversy in a few corners during the trial, from his pre-trial decisions about his ringtone to his stern demeanor (his cell phone played “God Bless the USA” several times in court ). Others have defended the persistent judge; he has become a focal point in the process. What is his political party? He was appointed by a Democratic governor, but that was decades ago.

Schroeder has also been the subject of memes (see some of them here). He has been on the bench in Kenosha, Wisconsin since 1983. Rittenhouse, 18, is the teenager charged with the murder in the shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a night of arson, protests and rioting following the police shooting of Jacob Blake (a district attorney later admitted officers in that shootout free.) Rittenhouse is also charged with wounding Gaige Großkreutz. He claims self-defense.

Some of the national media coverage of Schroeder was devastating. Vanity Fair wrote, “The Kyle Rittenhouse judge really is the worst.” But others have defended the judge’s reputation.

“He has a reputation for doing what he thinks right and being an independent thinker,” William Lynch, a retired attorney who served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin ACLU, told CNN.

What you need to know about Judge Bruce Schroeder:

“This is and will not be a political process,” said Schröder from the bank during the process. But criticism and support of him have often collapsed along political lines, as has the perception of the trial and the shootings in the Rittenhouse. What is his background?

Schroeder worked as a district attorney in the 1970s and then, according to Ballotpedia, had his own practice. The judge’s term ends in 2026, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What is his political party? The newspaper reports that Schroeder was first appointed judge in 1983 by the Democratic governor of Wisconsin, Tony Earl. It is unclear whether his policies have evolved or changed since then.

The judge is a graduate of Marquette University’s law school, according to Ballotpedia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1967 and a JD from that college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1970.

Schroeder caused controversy when his ringtone played in court, and people identified the tune as Lee Greenwoods God bless the USA. Some people noticed that President Donald Trump played the song at rallies; the long popular song dates back to the 1980s and the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007. Even after the ringtone made headlines across the country, the judge’s cell phone rang and played at least two more times.

Raw Story was among the publications that gave the judge unfavorable coverage of the ringtone and wrote a story entitled “Civil Rights Attorney Stunned the Rittenhouse Judge’s phone ringtone is Trump’s theme song.”

Schroeder also asked military veterans in the courtroom to identify themselves for applause on both Veterans ‘Day and the US Marine Corps’ birthday. This also led to controversy as the Associated Press noted that the only veteran on Veterans’ Day in court was a defense witness, which meant the jury was encouraged by the judge to applaud a defense witness who came shortly before the statement stood.

“I think we applaud the people who have served our country,” said Schroeder, according to the AP. Steven Wright, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, told the AP he thought the applause was a mistake because the judge risked making this defense expert appear more believable in the minds of the jury.

Schröder drew attention to himself in court when he sharply reprimanded public prosecutor Thomas Binger. Schröder was upset that Binger brought up Rittenhouse’s silence after the arrest, as the U.S. Constitution gives the defendants the right to remain silent.

“The problem is that you are talking about the defendant’s silence, that is a serious breach of the constitution,” said Schröder. “You’re right on the border and maybe you’re over, but it better stop.” Later he declared in court, “I talked about the Constitution yesterday and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it for 50 years.”

The judge was also furious with Binger for believing Binger was trying to get references in front of the jury to a video that Schroeder decided could not be shown to the jury. This decision has also sparked controversy because it allegedly shows Rittenhouse talking about the shooting of CVS shoplifters; His lawyers said he did nothing but “sit passively and watch” on that video. Schroeder said the video and one other were “too dissimilar from the shootings and would falsely suggest that Rittenhouse had a propensity to kill people for doing or saying something else hideous,” the Milwaukee Journal reported to Sentinel at the time.

The judge also refused to allow the jury to see a video that prosecutors allege, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, of Rittenhouse “beating a girl who argued with her sister in June 2020”. Both videos were made on different days before filming.

The judge also caused controversy in the jury’s instructions by ruling that Wisconsin law requires prosecutors to prove that Rittenhouse had a short-barreled gun in order to convict him on the illegal firearms charge he has faced. They did not provide evidence of the barrel in court; the law in question was confusing, the judge admitted.

The judge made some decisions that will also help the prosecutor. He allows prosecutors to claim that Rittenhouse provoked the first man to be shot, Joseph Rosenbaum, to pursue him by allegedly aiming a gun at another man. The defense denies this, saying the prosecutor’s evidence is too blurry to tell. But the judge allowed the provocation order to go to the jury, which helps the prosecution because if the jury believes that provocation has taken place, the defense would have to prove that Rittenhouse was trying to withdraw from the situation and that Rosenbaum was reasonable has informed so in order to get the benefit of self-defense.

Schröder also rejected an earlier motion by the defense to tell juries about Rosenbaum’s criminal record.

However, in another ruling, he said the men shot dead could not be called victims in court, which was a long-standing rule in his courtroom as it anticipated the case. But he then decided that the men who were shot could be labeled as looters, rioters or arsonists, depending on whether lawyers could prove they were involved in such acts. He also denied a prosecutor’s motion to issue an arrest warrant for Rittenhouse when he failed to update his address in court. In another ruling that sparked controversy, Schroeder did not allow prosecutors to tell the jury that Rittenhouse was photographed with members of the Proud Boys as it happened several months after the shootings.

The Rittenhouse judge made a joke during the lunch break that caused controversy. “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming … isn’t on one of those boats at Long Beach Harbor,” he said. You can watch the video above.

This led to criticism from some. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) said it was an example of “how not to be a good judge” and tweeted, “The Wisconsin electoral system is also grossly flawed. They are elected after the initial appointment and there is no retirement age. That is why we have such immoderate and inept judges all over the country. “

“It harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of microaggression as well as actual physical violence,” John Yang, president and chief executive officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, told CNN.

The Daily Mail reported that since the trial began, the judge has received a number of threats accusing him, without evidence, of being in the clan, spitting in his face and paying money to his children.

In one controversy, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Schroeder was caught in a video saying on the bench, “Take the whites, kill the (n-word).”

“Schroeder remembered it was during downtime between hearings, but while a zoom stream was still live. He said he and the court staff and lawyers were discussing news of protests against statues of Confederate military figures, “the newspaper reported, adding that he was quoting an order from Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest in a discussion.

“I purposely used the hideously insulting order as it was pronounced because I thought (and do) that it is totally inappropriate to cover up the hideous malice of this hateful and murderous order with a more tender substitute,” Schroeder wrote, according to the Newspaper . The video was made before the Rittenhouse trial.

Two previous cases stand out in Schröder’s career. They made headlines before the Rittenhouse trial.

According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he led the case of Mark Jensen, who was accused of poisoning his wife, Julie Jensen, with antifreeze; he has always protested his innocence and claimed that Julie took her own life. However, she had written a letter stating that she would never do this, that she was suspicious of her husband’s behavior and feared “my early death.” This letter was called Julie’s “Letter from the Grave”.

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