Rittenhouse VERDICT WATCH:  Suspect A Rogue Juror, #54, Foreperson, Is Holding Back Acquittal

Today completed the third day of jury deliberations in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, with no verdict being achieved before the jury was sent home for the day.

There wasn’t much real action today, with the exception of a couple of notable events, and my own increasing belief that we’re dealing with a single hold-out juror for guilt, and that this juror is #54, the foreperson.

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MSNBC News Has Left the Building—With Momentum

Early in the day, the judge called the court into session with just the lawyers, and no jury, to inform them that apparently a freelancer for some arm of NBC News was believed to have been following the jury bus when this freelancer was pulled over and cited for running a red light.

The concern, of course, is that this person was seeking to photograph or otherwise identify the jurors.

The judge announced that not just that individual but NBC News generally would be excluded from the courthouse for the duration of the deliberations.

Here’s the brief explanation by Judge Schroeder of those events:

Juror Requests to Take Jury Instructions Home

When the jury was brought into the courtroom for purposes of dismissal, shortly after 4:00 p.m. Wisconsin time, Judge Schroeder imprudently asked if any of them had any questions for him.  One did.  A woman juror asked if she could be permitted to take home a copy of the 36 or so pages of jury instructions.

The judge looked over at the parties, and although the State appeared to make no particular signal, defense Attorney Marc Richards shook his head slightly but observably in the negative.

Despite this, Judge Schroeder announced that he would agree to the request and that the same option would be extended to all the jurors.  Whether only the one juror who made the request ultimately took home the instructions, or whether multiple or even all jurors did so, is unknown.

Frankly, it’s rather remarkable that any juror who had already been struggling with the instructions for more than 7 hours today alone, as well as the two prior days, would be interested in continuing to work with that at home in the evenings.

Frankly, I think it was a bad call both for Judge Schroeder to agree to this request, as well as to do so in the manner he did.

First of all, if he wants all the jurors to return to deliberations fresh and rested tomorrow morning, the last thing he should want is any jurors continuing to work on these instructions, alone, into the night.

Second, allowing the jurors to take the instructions home encourages what lawyers call the “dictionary game.”   This occurs when the jurors start to do their own research into what various terms in the instructions might mean—including looking words up in the dictionary.

The trouble with encouraging such behavior by the jurors is that a word—like, say, “provocation”—has a specific, narrow legal meaningsin the context of the jury instructions that differ from the general, broader, common-use meaning one might find in a dictionary.  Jurors are not supposed to make use of outside resources to inform their arriving at a verdict, but permitting them to take the jury instructions home encourages exactly that.

To illustrate, many types of conduct might be considered “provocative” in the general sense, but in the specific legal use-of-force sense conduct is only “provocative” if it immediately results in a forcible response.  So, Kyle’s coming to Kenosha open-carrying an AR-15 rifle might be considered “provocative” in the general sense, but not in the narrow legal sense that would strip him of the legal defense of self-defense, because that conduct did not immediately result in a forcible response.

Third, the judge addressed this question from this juror in front of the lawyers and looked to them for a response.  That means that Mark Richards’ shaking of his head, indicating he preferred the jurors not to be given the instructions despite the request, could be observed by the jurors.  Richards appearing to prefer the denial of the juror’s request could be perceived negatively by that juror and others, creating a bias against the defense.

The judge should instead have either discussed the request with the lawyers while the jury was removed from the courtroom, or more conveniently have held an impromptu whispered bench conference with the jury present but outside of their range of hearing.

Next, I have my suspicion of what—or, rather, who—is holding up a verdict in this case:

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My Suspicion: Juror #54, Foreperson, Is the Holdout Against Acquittal

I have a growing suspicion that this jury has not yet arrived at a unanimous verdict of acquittal only because of the resistance of juror #54, a woman who also happens to be the foreperson, who seems to be the hold-out against acquittal.

The jury selection risk to Kyle was always going to be that a “mask Karen” type, usually of leftist political persuasion, bossy, entitled, and status-sensitive, would be seated on the jury.  Such a person would be most unlikely to ever vote for acquittal—her social group would necessarily know she had done so, given the unanimous nature of an acquittal.

In addition, this type of person is likely to seize the leadership position of foreperson on a jury, to suit their bossy and entitled nature.  Such a person also tends to be outspoken and forward in circumstances where other people would defer to apparently higher authority.

There has been one apparently female juror who on several occasions can be overheard being unusually familiar with Judge Schroeder—not in the sense of knowing him personally, but in the sense of engaging in a relaxed discussion that one does not usually find between a juror and a trial judge.

Then we have the jury note from yesterday asking for access to the Exhibit #5 drone video footage and related evidence.  It was written by juror #54, the jury foreperson, and an apparent woman:

The tone of that note suggests to me that the person who wrote it is accustomed to giving orders to underlings—personal assistants, staff, household help—and here the note is being addressed in this tone to the trial judge as if the judge were a staffer to the jury foreperson.

Then this evening we had the very unusual request to be permitted to take the jury instructions home, made by a single juror—a female juror.

I suspect that all of this conduct is that of juror #54, the female foreperson of this jury—who I suspect is precisely the kind of “mask Karen,” left-leaning, bossy, entitled, and status-sensitive juror that would be most likely to hold out against acquittal.

Finally, my friend Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) was kind enough to remind me that during jury selection I’d made a particular note of juror #54 at the time, as I was live commenting right here at Legal Insurrection:  “#54: Knows some of the witnesses named, but could set that aside.”  I’ve also heard from sources in a position to know that when polling was done around jury selection, prospective jurors who knew any participants in the August 2020 riots–which would likely include some of the witnesses–tended to trend 75% against acquittal.

That’s all just a guess—but one informed by some experience with both juries and mask Karen types.

Here’s the video of Judge Schroeder dismissing the jury for the day, including the discussion around taking the jury instructions home:

OK, folks, that’s all I have for you on this topic.

Until then:


You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

Stay safe!


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

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8 thoughts on “Rittenhouse VERDICT WATCH:  Suspect A Rogue Juror, #54, Foreperson, Is Holding Back Acquittal”

  1. Sounds like yet another prejudical error in this case.

    I would be real interested in seeing what the actual jury instructions look like in this case. So much immaterial and irrelevant information was admitted into evidence in this case, and there are so many different charges to which certain evidence may be immaterial and irrelevant, the jusge should have modified the state approved jury instructions to be fact specific on each charge.

  2. Andrew, as confused as this judge is I think you should get a copy of the actual jury instructions to see just what in the hell he told the jury about the facts in dispute and the applicable law in this case. I am particularly conserned with the provocation instruction. The instruction plainly states that provocation can only arise from an unlawful act of the defendant, but the instruction does not tell the jury how to determine if the act alleged is unlawful or how to determine whether or not the prosecution has proven the defendant committed the alleged unlaw offense. I think the provocation instruction requires that it be accompanied by a seperate jury instruction on the offense that is alleged to have occurred and alleged to have been unlawful. Failure to provide the jury with such instruction would violate the defendant’s due process rights.

    I would also add that failure of the prosecution to notify the defendant of the alleged offense with which he is charged berfore the trial started would also violate the defendant’s due process rights.

    The prosecution hung its hat on the unlawful possession charge as a basis for a provocation theory, but with the dismissal of that charge then provocation was no longer an issue in dispute in this case.

  3. I hope and pray for 2 things: That if there is a hung jury, it is 11-to-1 for acquittal. That’s obviously not as good as an acquittal, but it says something. And 2nd, and perhaps just as important, if the judge needs to step up and call a mistrial, I hope he has the integrity, the righteousness, and the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing. If the judge hasn’t already, he is bound to get a big dose of the left-wing woke mob coming for him. These folks have a shameless malevolent ignorance that knows no bounds. I am impressed with this judge so far, but we will ultimately find out what he is really made of.

    1. The only thing impressive about the judge is how out of his depth he is for trial of this. I guess compared to Cahill he is an improvement, but that is a very low bar since Cahill would make a commissar blush.
      This trial has been wall to wall, ceiling to floor incompetence. It is a travesty of a legal system that I had thought at one point had systemic integrity.

  4. On a more technical note: If there is a hung jury, is the judge permitted to discuss the details with each of the jurors? Or does he just have to call it quits, no-harm-no-foul, leaving it to the prosecution to just refile charges? Or can he delve into the specific effects, based on jury feedback, that the prosecutorial shenanigans had on the jury and their deliberations, and then, perhaps use that as a basis for declaring a mistrial and further declaring that the reason for the mistrial was directly attributable to prosecutorial misconduct? After all, as far as I know, the judge left his options open as far as ruling on the mistrial motions. Beyond that, can the judge conduct an inquiry and question the prosecutors under oath? Or is that beyond his authority?

  5. *** Teacher ***

    * Asked for 11 extra copies of jury instructions; one for each juror. This screams teacher to me. Based on the judge’s surprise reaction at the request, I’m guessing he hasn’t been asked this in his 40+ years.
    * Taking “homework” home to study, add notes?
    * As mentioned, tone of note was instructional in nature; demanding, commanding, authoritative
    * As mentioned, juror #54 knew witnesses, but felt she could be impartial; lots of young witnesses could be former students?

    If her current students and/or coworkers knew (or figured out) that she was out of class for jury duty, I don’t think there is any chance of an acquittal. Would she not fear backlash from her students and colleagues if they knew she helped to acquit?

    (also posted to Viva Barnes locals)

  6. Stephen Friedenthal

    Not quite on topic with the jury instructions, but the latest ‘news’ seems to claim that “jump kick man” is not only identified, but had reached out to the prosecutor as a potential witness in exchange for immunity to various charges. Shouldn’t the defense raise this as, yet again, another example of the prosecution misleading the court? This is a potential exculpatory witness and I am just dumb struck that the prosecution would have known his identity and then lied to the court about this knowledge.

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