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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nation

Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal sparks mixed feelings on trial


After a four-day deliberation period, a jury has officially acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges, bringing his trial to a close.

The 18-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, was initially charged with several felonies, including first-degree homicide, after he shot three men during a period of political unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The jury deliberated for several days before officially clearing Rittenhouse of all charges in a trial that has stirred up its fair share of controversy. Some commenters were quick to point out aspects of the trial that seemed to imply some kind of bias on the part of the judge.

“I don’t know how anyone could consider a trial fair with a judge as clearly partial as that,” said economics freshman Micah Erfan. “From his prohibiting the prosecution using the term ‘victims’ to describe the two men Kyle killed to refusal to show clips of Kyle engaging in physical violence. This judge could hardly do more to help his defense,” Erfan said.

While several media outlets also pointed out aspects of the trial as seemingly biased in favor of the defendant, some legal experts pointed out that much of this is fairly standard.

“People, including some media outlets, were unaware of the significance of the burden of proof on self-defense,” said the UH Law Center’s John B. Niebel professor of law David Crump. “The prosecution had to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, and the evidence for self-defense was pretty strong, in my experience”

The initial shooting sparked an immense divide in responses amongst Americans, and some, like political science professor J. Bryan Cole, have expressed concern that this divide may worsen following the results of this trial.

“I think that the verdict may exacerbate the polarization that already exists,” said Cole. “For many people, Rittenhouse was a vigilante who had no reason to travel to Kenosha. Others see him as a brave man who traveled there to help keep the peace and prevent the destruction of property.”

Cole emphasized that high levels of division in the country likely meant that if Rittenhouse had been convicted, tensions may have been around the same.

“If he had been convicted, it would have just meant different people would have been happy or upset over the verdict,” Cole said.

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