Judge forbids Kyle Rittenhouse from… talking to people

Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t scheduled to go on trial until March 29, though his attorney is already requesting more time to prepare. He’ll be facing six counts associated with the deaths of two people and the shooting of a third in Kenosha last year. But he found himself back in front of a judge this week where additional restrictions were placed on him while he remains free on bail. What sort of restrictions? At the request of prosecutors, Rittenhouse is now barred from knowingly talking to or socializing with white supremacists. The strange nature of this order deserves a closer look, but it apparently resulted from a complaint made by someone who saw Rittenhouse out at a bar with his mother recently. (Associated Press)

An 18-year-old Illinois teen charged with fatally shooting two people during a protest in southeastern Wisconsin last year is prohibited from associating with known white supremacists under a judge’s recently modified bail conditions.

Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 during the Aug. 25 demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as hundreds were protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse has been charged with multiple counts, including reckless and intentional homicide, endangerment and being a minor in possession of a firearm…

According to online court records, a Wisconsin judge modified Rittenhouse’s conditions of release on Friday to note Rittenhouse “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender.”

In addition to not being allowed to talk to or “consort with” people who might be described as white supremacists, the judge further ordered that Rittenhouse not consume alcohol or possess firearms. Something tells me that Kyle needs a better attorney.

The incident that supposedly prompted this action by the court involved Rittenhouse being seen drinking at a bar in Mount Pleasant a couple of weeks ago. While the drinking age in Wisconsin is 21, it’s legal to drink at the age of 18 if you are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Kyle was there with his mother so he wasn’t breaking the law, nor has he been charged with any alcohol-related crimes. There were allegedly a group of people at the bar who appeared to be supporters of Rittenhouse, some of whom were allegedly seen making the “okay” sign with their hands. (Imagine the horror.) They also sang a song in honor of Rittenhouse.

That’s it. That’s the description given of the entire event. But the judge in the case somehow felt compelled to place even more restrictions on Kyle’s movement and actions. It’s quite typical for people on parole to be restricted from going to bars and/or drinking alcohol, but Kyle Rittenhouse hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. And how does the judge propose to define people who are “known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others” based on various demographic pigeonholes? Unless they’ve been convicted of a hate crime, any other “evidence” along those lines would be hearsay at best. So the judge is restricting Rittenhouse’s speech based on a suspicion of thought crimes.

Rittenhouse was released on bail (largely thanks to Ricky Schroder) and left on his own recognizance. If he’s not found to be breaking any additional laws, that should have been the end of it. And lest we forget, most of the evidence that’s been seen by the public thus far appears to show that Kyle has a pretty strong case for having fired in self-defense. He definitely broke the law by purchasing and carrying a firearm while underage and he’ll have to be held responsible for that in court. But if the shooting is determined to have been justified, all we’re really looking at here is a teenager with no priors who has a single non-violent gun charge on his record. That’s not the sort of thing that generally lands someone in prison.

Barring some truly remarkable evidence that we haven’t seen yet showing up, it definitely appears that the prosecutors in this case rushed to vastly overcharge Rittenhouse in an attempt to appease the mobs that were rioting in Kenosha. (Good luck with that.) And with this most recent maneuver, both they and the judge look like they’re trying to show the world how tough they are being on Rittenhouse, ignoring the presumption of innocence and treating him like a convict before he’s had his day in court. If he winds up walking on everything except the underage gun charge, these people are going to have egg on their faces and a lot to answer for.

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