Consequences Needed for Rittenhouse Prosecutors

Although our legal system finally worked as designed with Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal for shooting at four assailants, our society cannot move forward without condign legal and/or public relations consequences for everybody involved. This case underscores an extremely dangerous practice, which dates back to the Salem witch trials if not before, of putting people on trial to pander to lynch mobs or their equivalents. Prosecutors, especially those with political ambitions, will latch on to socially popular issues such as fear of witches in the seventeenth century or sex crimes and racially-charged controversies today. Examples include:

  • The Amirault sexual abuse case ruined people's lives on the basis of, among other things, "evidence" involving sinister robots, "magic rooms," and "secret rooms," none of which were ever found, and sexual abuse with a butcher knife that somehow inflicted no injuries. The case was prosecuted by Scott Harshbarger (D-MA), and Martha Coakley (D-MA) later lobbied to keep the Amiraults in prison. Harshbarger was nonetheless elected President of the Massachusetts Association of District Attorneys and given an award by the ABA for "outstanding work in Juvenile Justice" if that is what the ABA calls the Amirault prosecutions.
  • Janet Reno (D-FL) got police officer Grant Snowden sent to prison on spurious child abuse charges, only to have the conviction overturned.
  • Mike Nifong (D-NC) was disbarred for his conduct in the Duke Lacrosse case.
  • Prosecutors charged a man for shooting another man who is on video reaching through his car's window to grab his steering wheel and punch him during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

If they can do this to Rittenhouse, the Amiraults, Grant Snowden, the Duke Lacrosse players, and countless others, then they can do it to you and me. This is why there needs to be social consequences for prosecutorial overreach even if the overreach does not violate the ABA's Rules of Professional Conduct.

I can no more read the minds of Rittenhouse prosecutors Thomas Binger (D-WI) and James Kraus than Kyle Rittenhouse could read the minds of his assailants, as Binger and Kraus apparently think he should have done. I cannot therefore state as a fact that they filed the case for political reasons. This is only my opinion based on what I read (the probable cause document and the prosecution's side of the story as told in court) and saw (the videos). The four corners of Deputy Attorney General Angelina Gabriele's probable cause document stipulates that the three men whom Rittenhouse shot were all the initial aggressors, and pursued him when he attempted to retreat. Binger and Kraus therefore walked into the courtroom with diddly squat and, when the judge threw out the misdemeanor gun possession charge, that was the end of diddly. It is very disturbing, however, that the jury needed more than ten minutes to similarly get rid of squat.

Attorneys' behavior must be blatantly egregious to transgress the Rules of Professional Conduct, although Nifong and Fina managed to step over that line. This is why prosecutors feel free to compel people to spend their life savings to defend themselves against junk charges and maybe even destroy their lives in the process. The Amiraults were not exonerated despite a judge's serious reservations about the evidence used against them.

Society can nonetheless impose nonviolent and lawful consequences on the individuals in question. If I ever, as a juror, hear a case in which you are a district attorney's office, or a civil plaintiff or defendant, and you are represented by Binger or Kraus, I will assume right out of the starting gate that your counsel is going to lie to me. "Lying" includes for the purposes this discussion literal truths or partial truths told with the intent to deceive.

Binger, for example, asked whether Richie McGinniss saw Rittenhouse assailant Joseph Rosenbaum with a gun, a knife, or a baseball bat. The literal truth is that Rosenbaum came unarmed to the confrontation he started, but Binger's questions as phrased downplayed the material fact that Rosenbaum was trying to grab Rittenhouse's rifle and possibly turn it against him. Binger also argued that Rittenhouse "brought a gun to a fistfight" and was too cowardly to defend himself with his hands. Binger knows or ought to know that, the instant Rosenbaum went for a gun, it was no longer a fistfight.

Kraus added that Rittenhouse's minor injuries showed he was not in real danger; "Everybody takes a beating sometimes, right? Sometimes you get in a scuffle, and maybe you do get hurt a little bit. That doesn't mean you get to start plugging people with your full metal jacket AR-15 rounds." Kraus knows or ought to know that you are under no obligation to allow a violent aggressor to complete an aggravated (felony) assault as attempted by Rosenbaum and Huber, and (arguably and allegedly as neither has been charged let alone convicted) by "jump kick man" and Grosskreutz, before you stop him. Arguments similar to Kraus' have been used to suggest that a woman didn't need to shoot her would-be rapist because her lack of bruises shows he didn't really hurt her or, if the rapist completed his crime, her lack of injuries shows that she didn't fight back and had therefore enjoyed it.

Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) called Rittenhouse a "white supremacist domestic terrorist" who killed two people for "affirming Black lives" and Bill DeBlasio (D-NY) called Rittenhouse a "violent and dangerous man" who crossed state lines to shoot people. A false accusation of a crime is libel per se. Facebook, which has extremely deep pockets, called Rittenhouse a "mass shooter." Rittenhouse and his attorneys should accordingly do to Facebook the nonviolent equivalent of what Count Tilly's soldiers did to Magdeburg in 1631, pour encourager les autres, as Voltaire put it.

Law Enforcement Today reports that GoFundMe banned donations to Rittenhouse's defense fund, i.e. interfered with his ability to raise money for his Constitutional right to legal defense. We can boycott GoFundMe by not only refusing to use the platform for crowdfunding but also refusing to donate to any cause, regardless of how worthy, that does. We can tell those with GoFundMe pages that, while we might contribute through other crowdfunding platforms or even directly (e.g. via PayPal), we will not do so through GoFundMe for the reason stated here.

Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history, and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. He or she is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to "cancel culture" for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.

Image: Pixabay

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