Law students react to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial


Photo by Jillian Ward

Students in the Law elective spent time following the trial in class and discussing it with their peers. Students have very different opinions about the verdict.

Recently, the verdict of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial sparked controversy and discussion between students. Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old who shot and killed two protesters in Wisconsin last year, has been acquitted of all five charges against him in favor of his argument that he had acted in self-defense.

Students had very mixed opinions about the verdict.

“I was very disappointed and frustrated by this verdict, but not surprised. Although he was very young and found himself in a risky situation that would make anyone jump to the defensive, this verdict still sets a bad precedent that I think the far right will take as permission to continue showing up heavily armed at peaceful protests. I’m not surprised by this verdict, however, because of Wisconsin’s self-defense laws,” senior Ryan Leal said.

Many are suspicious of the judge’s ruling and motions during the trial as Law students believe that he had taken the side of the defense for the majority of the trial.

“The case was really drawn out from what I have seen because of a lot of fighting over stupid issues like they were arguing if they could zoom in on an iPad as a piece of evidence. Throughout the trial, it seems as if the judge has taken the side of Kyle in the defense because a lot of rulings were on their side,” senior Max Kaminski said.

Students also believe that the judge had been impartial towards the trial.

“I think the judge is biased because of the way he was with the motions which ends up causing the jury to think a certain way. I also heard on the news that it’s a pattern for the specific judge on Kyle’s case to side with the defense but I don’t think that should be a justification for his ruling,” senior Sinead Longsworth said.

Students also argue that they believe the evidence had not been presented efficiently and that the prosecutor had not done enough to prove his arguments.

I think that the evidence supports the prosecution but they are not doing a good job presenting it which is why it was skewed towards Kyle in the jury’s eyes which is unfortunate because I don’t think that’s how the situation ended.

— Max Kaminski

Although many don’t agree with the verdict, some students believe that the argument of self-defense had been justified.

“I think that Rittenhouse was in the wrong and some like some ways but I can’t really speak on it because I don’t know what I would do in that situation but according to the US government, he did technically have the right to self-defense. The judges and the jury made their decision and it is what it is but I think that people shouldn’t resort to violence like that,” junior Pablo Foley said.