Rittenhouse jury tasked with weighing intentional vs. reckless homicide

NOW: Rittenhouse jury tasked with weighing intentional vs. reckless homicide


KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- One of the key decisions facing the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is how to determine if some of Rittenhouse's actions were intentional or reckless. A legal analyst says the penalties for each are very different.

The jury instructions were 36 pages long and include a lot of intricate detail.

Former prosecutor and current defense attorney Julius Kim said the difference should be pretty self-explanatory, but it could take a while for the jury to deliberate that difference. "Reckless homicide is causing someone's death through criminally reckless conduct, and in this particular case 1st degree reckless homicide means that conduct was done with utter disregard for human life."

Kim says both intentional and reckless homicide are very serious. But it may be a challenge for the jury to weigh them at first as they sift through the jury instructions. As with so many elements in this case, Kim says it comes down to interpretation.

In his opinion, the Rosenbaum shooting would best fit into a 2nd degree intentional homicide charge, since Rittenhouse meant to shoot Rosenbaum, but there could be mitigating circumstances like fear of imminent death at the time or the amount of force used at the time was not reasonable.

The problem, Kim says, is Rittenhouse was charged with 1st degree reckless homicide, and the judge has not allowed lesser charges to be considered.

But other counts could be different. "With the Huber count, that option is going to be available to them, but I'm not sure it necessarily applies because a lot of people believe Kyle Rittenhouse, if he was justified in self-defense, was probably more justified with regard to the Huber shooting than the Rosenbaum shooting."

The charges are so nuanced they can sometimes cause confusion even among legal experts, as evidenced in the courtroom before closing arguments, when Rittenhouse's defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said, "Well, you can't attempt a reckless act, right?"

Judge Bruce Schroeder replied, "Uh, I told you I would agree with you some years ago. I'm not sure. I don't know the answer and I'm certainly going to have to hit the books on that."

This jury was instructed to consider lesser charges for some counts, essentially meaning they must consider eight charges instead of five. The jury instructions lists the charges in full, and the jury is supposed to consider the original charge first.

Kim said, "If they're not guilty of that charge, or if they can't find a unanimous verdict on that charge, then they're instructed to move on and consider the less serious charge. And so forth and so forth."

The jury did not ask to see any videos or other evidence Tuesday. Despite the slow start, Julius Kim says the deliberations are progressing as expected.

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