On Monday morning, the judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial ruled to dismiss a weapons charge, moving in favor of the defense’s request.
As Breitbart News reported, Judge Schroeder appeared skeptical of the weapons charge, saying that the Wisconsin statute was unclear about exceptions for those over 16 years old but under 18 years old if the gun were a long-barreled rifle on Friday.
Because he could not remember if Rittenhouse’s rifle-length had been introduced into evidence, the judge did not throw it out at that time.
On Monday, as lawyers for the prosecution and the defense argued over the final draft of the jury instructions, the defense again raised the issue of the weapons charge, noting that the gun had been measured in court and that the police detective on the witness stand had confirmed that it was not short-barreled.
“If the barrel length is less than 16 inches, or an overall less than 26 inches, then I’ll deny the [defense] motion; if it does not meet those specifications, then the defense motion will be granted,” the judge said after indicating it ought to be measured. “We are not disputing that the barrel length is appropriate,” prosecutor James Kraus noted, in a defeated tone, effectively admitting the rifle was not a short barrel.
Judge Schroeder dismissed the charge; the remaining charges concern murder and attempted murder. Critics have put forward Rittenhouse’s self-defense argument would defeat those charges; the weapons charge posted the only serious chance of conviction – if the statute applied.