What we know about jury deliberations in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial

How long jurors’ arguments last is almost entirely up to them.

Here’s what we know about the jury and their considerations in the case as we await the upcoming verdict.

Amid unrest and riots in Kenosha, Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, took up an AR-15-style rifle and joined another group of armed men in the city on May 25. August 2020.

Here's what the jury in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial will have to consider
There, Rittenhouse shot and killed a man Joseph Rosenbaum – who was chasing the teen and throwing a plastic bag at him – then tried to run away from the area. A mob of villagers pursued the teenager, and Rittenhouse shot a strange man who was trying to kick him; shoot dead people Anthony Huber, who hit him with a skateboard; and get hurt Gaige Grosskreutz, who was armed with a pistol.
Prosecutors allege that Rittenhouse incited the incident by pointing a weapon at Rosenbaum, while Rittenhouse testified that he shot the men in self-defense.

Rittenhouse, now 18, faces one count for each of the four in those incidents, as well as one count of allegedly endangering a journalist standing not far from Rosenbaum.

In all, he is charged with five felonies: first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless murder, first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment of safety. The jury may also consider lesser offenses on two of the five counts.

The most serious of these charges is first-degree murder for the murder of Huber. The charge comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted.

ONE misdemeanor weapon possession crime and non-criminal curfew violation was overruled by Judge Bruce Schroeder prior to deliberation.

Who is on the jury?

Kyle Rittenhouse reached into the attic to draw some grand jury on Tuesday.
A group of 20 people – 11 women and 9 men – was originally selected to serve on the jury on November 1 from a group of 179 prospective jurors. Jury selection consisted only of a day of serious negotiations in court without the use of a background questionnaire.
Two people were fired from the jury during the trial. A juror, a middle-aged man, was fired for joking with his deputy about the police shooting of Blake, an incident that caused the judge to be reprimanded. Another jury, a pregnant woman, was fired after feeling uncomfortable and the request was denied, the judge said.

Thus, eighteen jurors sat for the entire two-week trial. On Tuesday morning, six of them were eliminated through a random draw in which Rittenhouse personally picked jurors numbers from a cup.

The remaining 12 jurors are five men and seven women, according to a court reporter. The replacement jurors who have been dismissed are asked to stay in court while the jury settles the case.

Where are they on purpose?

The jurors arrived in the courtroom at 9 a.m. Tuesday and began deliberations shortly thereafter.

During the jury selection process, Schroeder told potential jurors there was a “less than 1 percent chance” that they would be quarantined, though he did not rule that out.

How long will they consider?

The jurors will deliberate until they reach a unanimous decision on each of the five counts. This process can take hours, days, or even weeks.

It’s unclear how much weight this jury will weigh late at night every day. During the trial, jurors were sent home around 5 p.m. CT each day.

Judge Schroeder said he would not limit his time on how late they were, and noted that he prefers to vote between juries.

Judgment must be unanimous. If the juror considers it long enough and cannot reach a unanimous decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a false charge. This is what is commonly referred to as a “hanging jury”.

What questions did they ask?

Jurors can send court notes with questions about the law, about evidence, or even just logistics.

Shortly after the start of deliberation on Tuesday, jurors asked the judge to provide additional copies of the 36-page jury instructions. They initially asked for additional copies of pages 1 through 6 and then requested pages 7 through 36, according to a pool reporter in court.

How will we know there is a verdict?

The jurors will notify the court that there is a verdict, and the court will notify the media via email. The verdict will then be read aloud in court.

The judge said there will be a significant warning period between when the verdict is delivered and when the sentence will be read. He declined to say how long but said, “You can get to Chicago in time, unless it’s Friday night.” Chicago is just over an hour’s drive from Kenosha.


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