When attempting to explain what "hearsay" is to the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, Judge Bruce Schroeder cited the trial of St. Paul from the Bible, Law & Crime reported.
Hearsay evidence is often omitted because it can't be proven and it's based on what others believe. There are, however, exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as if Rittenhouse made an exclamation while under stress, if there was a recording or other public record, if there's a medical diagnosis involved, as well as a few others.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger played a video from The Rundown Live, in which the narrator said he was present during the recording when "a bunch of militia" in Wisconsin vandalized a car dealership the previous day. Rittenhouse's attorney objected, saying that it was an "editorialization" and shouldn't have been played.
Binger explained that both parties agreed to the authenticity of the recording and that if the lawyers wanted to subpoena the person on the video to confirm or deny, that was a possibility. He then agreed that he would simply play the portion of the recording in which Rittenhouse spoke, which is admissible under the hearsay exception.
Judge Schroeder was fine with that but then led the jury on a lengthy discussion about the history of hearsay going back to the "last century" and claimed that it was the most "murky" portion of the rules of evidence.
"So, some things that may seem to the untrained ear to be hearsay are not, and some things that don't seem like it, are," he said.
The judge went on to describe it as a "statement of a non-testifying person cannot be offered to prove the truth of the matter which is asserted in the statement." So, a statement to be "introduced into evidence has to be under oath, it has to be subject to cross-examination, and that's not true of statements that are made by somebody who is not here while testifying as a witness."
"So, this person who's describing this," Schroeder said of the editorialization in the initial part of the video. It was the long way of explaining to ignore the first part of the video and only pay attention to the part with Rittenhouse.
That's when he went off on the biblical treatise.
"This is actually referred to in the Bible," the judge said. "Saint Paul, when he was put on trial . . . in . . . I think it's Caesarea — well, it was over in Palestine — uh, in Israel — he was . . . accused of some activity. And he was a Roman citizen, which is not common, but he happened to have been a Roman citizen. So, he had rights that we share now as Americans. Uh, and — he — when they tried to put him on trial with evidence from — which was being repeated by somebody who wasn't there and under oath — he said, 'where are the witnesses against me? I am a Roman, and I have a right to confront my accusers. They should be here.' And so that led to, actually, his voyage to Rome to have his case heard before the Emperor. Um, so it's an ancient rule; it's strictly, strictly enforced in the criminal courts for very obvious reasons. Um, and, um, so — that's what we're talking about here. And, um — so — if the person who is making this descriptive material is here and can be put under oath and can be cross-examined, uh, then it's admissible, but otherwise, it is not admissible through the officer here."
The judge in the case has already turned heads after he lashed out at CNN for criticizing him.