Judge Bruce Schroeder blasted the media on Wednesday for “misinformation” about the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who fatally shot two people and wounded another at protests last summer in Kenosha, Wis.
Specifically, Schroeder took issue with people who questioned his decision to disallow calling the people who were killed or injured by Rittenhouse “victims” in the courtroom.
“How would you like to be put on trial for a crime, and the judge introduced the case to the jury by introducing you as the defendant and the person who is accusing you as the victim, and then throughout the trial have all the references to the complaining witness as being the victim?” asked Schroeder.
“Is it so difficult to just use the term ‘complaining witness’ instead of prejudging what the jury is here to determine as to whether there’s a victim and whether there was a crime committed?” he added.
After Schroeder referenced additional criticism about Rittenhouse drawing the names of his jurors, Thomas Binger, the case’s lead prosecutor, said, “Your honor, that’s why I do my best to avoid anything anybody’s writing about the case,” The Washington Post reported.
“I’m going to think long and hard about live television in the trial again next time,” Schroeder said, per the Post. “I’ve always been a firm believer in it because I think the people should be able to see what’s going on. But to see what’s being done is really quite frightening.”
Schroeder, who presides over the Kenosha County Circuit Court, was also critical of media coverage of the trial regarding a local newspaper report that questioned why he had not read the case’s motion to dismiss.
"I haven't even had a chance to read the motion to dismiss. I just got it yesterday," Schroeder said Wednesday in reference to what he called "some of the other misinformation on the case."
"It's just a shame irresponsible statements are being made," he added.
Rittenhouse, 18, faces charges including first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and two counts of reckless endangerment. He claims that he was acting in self-defense.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the jury was still deliberating.