News Roundup

As USA Today reports, the defense rested this week in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager from Antioch, Illinois who fatally shot two people and seriously injured a third while acting as a vigilante property guard in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during intense protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer.  Rittenhouse, who has testified and asserted self-defense, faces various charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious homicide offense in Wisconsin.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Rittenhouse Trial.  Apart from the significant public attention the trial has attracted because of strong and divided views held by many about the circumstances surrounding the killings, several incidents in the Rittenhouse trial have attracted the attention of criminal lawyers.

This week Judge Bruce Schroeder forcefully criticized lead prosecutor Thomas Binger for raising the issue of Rittenhouse’s silence after the shootings early in his cross examination.  Schroeder noted that such questioning has the potential to impinge upon the Fifth Amendment.  Judge Schroeder also criticized the prosecution for attempting to question Rittenhouse about statements he had made prior to the shootings that Schroeder previously ruled inadmissible.  Later, in response to testimony raising concerns about the potential to alter pixels of bystander video, Schroeder prohibited the prosecution from using the pinch-to-zoom feature of an iPad when showing video to the jury.

Arbery.  Another high-profile trial in the national news this week is the ongoing murder trial of Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William Bryan for their involvement in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia last year.  When the News Roundup last mentioned the trial, jury selection was proceeding slowly because of the widespread publicity of cellphone video of Arbery’s death.  As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, a jury has been selected and the prosecution has been presenting its case this week.

CMPD Shooting.  The Charlotte Observer reports that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police fatally shot a man at a Walmart late last week after the man threatened a store security guard and pointed a gun at the officers.  A CMPD news release says that the security guard reported the armed man to a uniformed patrol officer and subsequently officers perceived a lethal threat as they approached the man, causing them to fire their weapons.  The SBI is investigating the shooting.

Astroworld.  As the Houston Chronicle reports, the event organizer Live Nation is being scrutinized this week after nine people died at the Astroworld Festival headlined by Travis Scott at NRG Park last Friday.  A massive crowd surge near the beginning of Scott’s set left people fighting for their lives as they were crushed against each other and barricades surrounding the stage.  Several videos have emerged showing concertgoers pleading with event staff to stop the show only to be ignored or rebuffed.  The second night of the festival was cancelled and many lawsuits have been filed.