At one point, the 18-year-old murder defendant stood behind the seated, black-robed judge and peered over him to review evidence. At another, on Veterans Day, the judge led the jury and others in the courtroom in applause for veterans just as a defense witness who had served in the Army was about to testify.
And as the case neared its conclusion, the judge permitted the defendant to draw numbers from a raffle drum to determine which jurors would serve as alternates — creating the appearance, however small, that the defendant was helping to administer his own trial.
As Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial has played out in the Kenosha courtroom of Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, moments of apparent deference to the defendant have struck many observers as curiously different from how murder proceedings often unfold. Schroeder addressed some of these observations Wednesday, saying “people should have confidence in the outcome of the trial.”