Legal experts sounded off on the potential that Joe Biden’s Justice Department could file civil rights lawsuits against Kyle Rittenhouse, who was recently acquitted of two counts of murder and other felonies related to shootings in Kenosha, Wis., last year during riots.
Last week a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty for killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, Anthony Huber, 28, and wounding Gaige Greusskruetz as they alternately chased, threatened, and struck the teen, finding that he acted in self-defense.
But there has been speculation that civil lawsuits and other cases could be filed against Rittenhouse, though experts don’t think that most of them would be successful, per the Washington Examiner:
The verdict prompted a condemning response from the likes of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who tweeted Nov. 19 that the full acquittal was a “miscarriage of justice” that “justifies federal review” by the Department of Justice . However, legal analyst and Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson told the Washington Examiner the self-defense evidence in Rittenhouse’s criminal case “will be just as overwhelming in a civil case.”
“There is no obvious basis for a civil rights prosecution against Rittenhouse,” said Jacobson, also the founder of the Legal Insurrection blog who followed the trial daily.
“The videos are the videos, and the testimony already is under oath from witnesses and alleged victim Gaige Grosskreutz. A civil case will fail even by a preponderance of the evidence,” Jacobson added.
Separately, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley wrote last week that the Justice Department does not have an office for the prosecution of “miscarriages of justice,” adding it would also be a “dangerous precedent” to investigate a jury’s decision just because DoJ officials may disagree with the trial’s outcome.
Rittenhouse was acquitted on state charges by a state jury. Moreover, while some have called for reducing self-defense protections, the jury applied the law as it currently appears on the books,” Turley wrote in a Fox News piece. “It is not allowed to simply ignore the law to seek our own criminal justice rules.”
The Rittenhouse jury faithfully applied the Wisconsin law and came to a well-founded verdict of acquittal. It is a dangerous precedent to investigate jury decisions simply because you disagree with their decisions.
There is also no clear basis for a civil rights prosecution. Rittenhouse is White and shot three White men. He was not accused of a hate crime. Moreover, he is not a member of law enforcement or government agency, so he did not deprive anyone of their civil rights under federal law.
This is an excerpt from Conservative Brief.
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