Controversial Judge Bruce Schroeder allowed Kyle Rittenhouse, on trial for shooting three people and killing two of them with an AR-15 assault weapon he had illegally obtained and carried across state lines, with literally having a hand in choosing the twelve jurors who will now decide his fate.
Judge Schroder has been under fire for what many see as extraordinary deference to Rittenhouse, some even say support of Rittenhouse. Others have noted his cell phone ring tone is the same song as Donald Trump's campaign theme song, and others still were offended by at least one offhand "joke" Schroder made. Trial watchers were also stunned when Schroder falsely claimed zooming in on a photo as millions of people do daily to enlarge it is "so-called scientific evidence." And others were disturbed by Schroeder's very public attacks on the prosecutor.
18 jurors sat through the entire trial, but only 12, as is customary, will decide the case.
"At the direction of Circuit Judge Bruce Schroder," the Associated Press reports Tuesday afternoon, "Rittenhouse's attorney placed slips of paper into a raffle drum with the numbers of each of the 18 jurors on it who sat through the two-week trial. The drum had been sitting on a window ledge throughout the trial but was placed in front of Rittenhouse at the defense table Tuesday."
"Rittenhouse then selected six pieces of paper from the drum, who a court official then read aloud to be dismissed: 11, 58, 14, 45, 9 and 52."
The remaining 12 will deliberate the case.
“I've never heard of a defendant pulling the names," Portage County Assistant District Attorney Robert Jambois told the AP. “That's done by a member of the court."
Not in this case, which has deviated from general norms repeatedly.
Former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Julius Kim told the AP, "I've never seen a judge allow a defendant to draw those names. That might be a little unconventional but there's nothing wrong with it that I could really see."
On social media many were stunned.