Rittenhouse was just 17 years old when he traveled north from Illinois to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black police officer. Rittenhouse is now 18 and faces life imprisonment if he is convicted of first degree homicide. This is one of many charges against him.
Bruce Schroeder is an experienced judge who has presided over high-profile trials. He told attorneys that he believes it's possible to pick the 20-member jury pool of 150 potential jurors in one day. The trial will last between two and three weeks.
This case is polarizing. Rittenhouse was portrayed by his supporters as a patriot who used self-defense and Second Amendment gun right rights. Others view him as a police wannabe and vigilante who shouldn't have been allowed to be armed in Kenosha. Rittenhouse, like the victims he shot is white. However, many are viewing his trial as a referendum on American law and race.
After Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse through a parking lot, Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36 with an AR-15-style semiautomatic gun. He then threw a bag at Rittenhouse shortly before midnight on August 25. Rittenhouse, who was running down a street when Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on Aug. 25, shot and killed Anthony Huber (26), a Silver Lake protester and also wounded Gaige Grosskreutz (27), a West Allis protester.
Video taken by a witness shows Rosenbaum following Rittenhouse, but it does not show the actual shooting. Before he was shot, Huber was seen riding a skateboard towards Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz was holding a gun as he approached Rittenhouse. He was then shot.
Both the defense and prosecution will be sorting through the juror pool to find panelists who are compatible with their view of the case.
William Hanrahan spent 19 years in the field of prosecution and was a Wisconsin circuit Judge for 13. He said that attorneys will also try to influence potential jurors.
Both sides' attorneys urged the judge not to send questionnaires out to potential jurors summoned to test for bias to speed up the process. The request was denied by Schroeder (75), the longest-serving judge of the Wisconsin circuit court.
Judge said that he didn't like questionnaires because most people wouldn't fill them in or it would indicate that they might be on Rittenhouse, increasing their chances of them discussing it with friends.
Schroeder stated that each side will be allowed seven strikes to reach a total number of 20 jurors. The judge has not specified how many would be alternates.
Hanrahan, who has presided over hundreds upon jury trials, said that he rarely allowed questionnaires to be used and that he doesn’t believe their absence will matter in this case. Hanrahan stated that it is always difficult to seat a jury in high-profile cases, especially with 24/7 news reporting.
Hanrahan stated that the process could be completed in one day if the judge is strict in limiting the questions attorneys can ask.
Hanrahan stated, "As a judge, I would ask (potential jurors), to make that commitment of setting aside what the facts are to be and what they believe law to be." "To essentially act as a tabula rasa or a blank slate."
Rittenhouse is facing two counts of homicide, one for attempted homicide and two for recklessly endangering safety by firing his weapon in close proximity to others. He is also charged with possessing a dangerous weapon by someone under 18.