Judge Bruce Schroeder shouted at prosecutors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial on Wednesday for what he called a “grave constitutional violation” during their cross-examination of the accused teenager’s testimony.
He sent the jury out of the room and screamed at Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger for his line of questioning, as well as his insistence to bring up pieces of evidence that were not allowed to be introduced.
The Cross-examination scene came after Kyle Rittenhouse decided to take the stand following consultation with his lawyers. In video of his testimony, the teenager cried while explaining the events that led to him to shoot and kill Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and injure Gaige Grosskreutz at the protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Given the chance to cross-examine the accused, DA Thomas Binger began to ask Rittenhouse about his decision to speak today despite choosing to remain silent following the shooting in August 2020. Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense, and that all three men wished to harm him at the protest.
Warning the district attorney, Judge Bruce Schroeder told Binger that he did not appreciate his line of questioning, and reminded him that it was within Kyle Rittenhouse’s rights to remain silent at the time.
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence,” Schroeder shouted after pausing the trial and sending everyone out of the room. “That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 or 50 years… I don’t know what you’re up to.”
“You’re an experienced trial lawyer, and this should not have been gone into,” he said.
Judge Bruce Schroeder also took offense to Binger’s continued mentioning of an alleged video of Rittenhouse shot weeks before the shooting that the judge had barred from being mentioned as evidence.
Commenting on people outside a CVS Pharmacy, a voice believed to be Rittenhouse’s said in the video, “Bro, I wish I had my f***ing AR. I’d start shooting rounds at them.”
Binger argued that the video displayed how Rittenhouse was “ready and willing to use deadly force in a situation where it was completely unjustified,” but defense attorney Mike Richards called it “ridiculous.”
Judge Bruce Schroeder sided with the defense, and banned the video from being mentioned during the trial.
“Don’t get brazen with me!” he yelled at DA Thomas Binger when he stressed wanting to discuss the video after the teenager’s testimony. “I don’t want to have another issue as long as this case continues,” he said. “Is that clear?”
The two reportedly have had many tense exchanges throughout the trial, where the judge has been accused of having a “pro-defense” reputation.
Before the trial started, Judge Bruce Schroeder laid out some controversial ground rules stating that Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz could not be referred to a “victims” throughout the trial, but that he would accept “rioters” or “looters.”
The 75-year-old is the longest sitting judge in Wisconsin court, and has long held other controversial opinions such as requiring sex workers take AIDS tests in the late 1980’s.
“He still operates his courtroom like it’s 1980,” said an unnamed attorney who wished to remain anonymous because he sometimes still appears before Judge Schroeder.
“He barks some and, for younger lawyers, they are very sensitive to that sort of thing,” he told CNN. “Like, toughen up, buttercup. This is felony court. Older lawyers are like, ‘Okay, he yelled at me. And then I saw him in the hallway and he asked me how my son’s basketball game was.’ That’s just his style.”
“It’s his courtroom,” said another attorney. “He doesn’t like to be pushed around.”