Kyle Rittenhouse picks numbers at random to determine his jury

Kyle Rittenhouse picks numbers in court.
(Image credit: Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

Kyle Rittenhouse on Tuesday played a part in selecting the jurors who will decide his fate.

They are being tasked with determining whether Rittenhouse is criminally responsible for killing two men he shot during an anti-policy brutality protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. At the time, Rittenhouse was 17, and left his home in Illinois to join other armed people stationed in front of businesses in Kenosha. Rittenhouse has claimed he acted in self defense.

There were 18 potential jurors who listened to testimony and arguments in the case, and when it came time for them to start deliberating, Rittenhouse was directed by Judge Bruce Schroeder to choose six slips of paper out of a tumbler. Each piece of paper had a number on it, which corresponded to one of the jurors. The six people whose numbers were selected were dropped from the panel, and the remaining 12 — seven women and five men — were sent to deliberations.

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In Wisconsin, it's not unusual for there to be a large pool of potential jurors to choose from at the end of arguments. NBC News spoke with several lawyers who said they have only seen judges, bailiffs, or courtroom clerks pick the numbers, and University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Ion Meyn said it's "a random selection," but there are still "concerns" over Rittenhouse being involved. "To me, from the optics side, it doesn't make sense," Meyn said. "I don't think it was a good idea."

John P. Gross, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Public Defender Project, said "it's completely random, and whoever is picking is picking. It was an interesting piece of theater having the judge inviting the defendant to make the draw." Schroeder has been making headlines throughout the trial, by admonishing prosecutors, saying the people who were shot could not be referred to as "victims," and making eyebrow-raising comments about lunch. Gross said there is no "legal significance" to Rittenhouse making the draw, but "for this case, with this judge, is it a fitting final note? Yes."

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