Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Mistrial over video unlikely, retired justice says

During the second full day of jury deliberations, there was another request by the defense team Wednesday, Nov. 17 for a mistrial in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.

Janine Gekse, a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who is now a law professor at Marquette University, said it is unlikely Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder would declare a mistrial.

"He is looking at a life sentence, potentially without parole if he is convicted to not get that until the evidence has already been closed that doesn’t strike me as fair," Attorney Corey Chirafisi, part of Rittenhouse's defense team, said in court Wednesday.

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The second day of deliberation brought discourse to the courtroom as the jury sat elsewhere. Both the defense and the prosecution argued over evidence – drone footage from the night of the 2020 Kenosha shootings.

Drone video shown during Kyle Rittenhouse trial on Nov. 12; subject of defense's Nov. 17 request for mistrial

Rittenhouse's defense team again called for a mistrial. A common move, Geske said, but one that is rarely granted.

"It is unlikely that the judge will declare a mistrial on the video," Geske said. Those kinds of skirmishes happen. The defense makes its record, but it’s not the kind of monumental evidence that the court is likely to enter a mistrial."

The nation wants and watches as the verdict remains undelivered after two days of jury deliberations. Geske said that may be a good sign for the prosecution.

"I suspect there are different jurors in there who have different views on guns, on self-defense, on what happened in Kenosha – so, there’s probably not unanimity on voting," said Geske. "They’re asking for jury instructions, they’re asking for evidence, they’re taking their responsibilities very seriously and there’s probably conflict in that jury room."

Kyle Rittenhouse and defense team

Kyle Rittenhouse and the defense team; Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021.

While no one knows with certainty what will happen next, the trial continues in the hands of 12 jurors.

"I think that they’re doing their jobs as jurors, and that’s what we want," Geske said.

The only time insight into the jury room comes is when the jurors ask a question. Wednesday, they reviewed the video in question and went home.

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