Social media users were dumbstruck after the judge for the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse allowed the young defendant to have a role in selecting the final 12 jurors who will ultimately decide his fate.
Rittenhouse was 17-years-old when he crossed state lines armed with an illegally-obtained AR-15 assault weapon—a charge the Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed in court on Monday—and fatally shot two people, and seriously injured another at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
He faces multiple criminal counts—including first-degree intentional homicide and attempted homicide.
Schroeder, who is overseeing the trial, had already been in hot water for his questionable methods and conduct before the trial even began.
During a pretrial hearing, the 75-year-old judge issued a ruling that allowed Rittenhouse's defense team to refer to the people the Illinois teen shot as "rioters," "looters," or "arsonists" instead of "victim."
Trial watchers were also stunned over Schroeder's public verbal attacks at prosecutors, and he was slammed for making a racially-charged joke about Asian cuisine.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported on Rittenhouse being allowed to choose the final jurors through a raffle system at the direction of the Circuit Judge.
"Rittenhouse's attorney placed slips of paper into a raffle drum with the numbers of each of the 18 jurors on it who sat through the two-week trial."
"The drum had been sitting on a window ledge throughout the trial but was placed in front of Rittenhouse at the defense table Tuesday."
"Rittenhouse then selected six pieces of paper from the drum, who a court official then read aloud to be dismissed: 11, 58, 14, 45, 9 and 52."
Portage County Assistant District Attorney Robert Jambois said he's never "heard of a defendant pulling the names."
"That's done by a member of the court."
Former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Julius Kim also commented on the unorthodox jury selection approach.
"I've never seen a judge allow a defendant to draw those names. That might be a little unconventional but there's nothing wrong with it that I could really see."
Milwaukee-based defense attorney Tom Grieve was nonplussed.
He also said he hasn't seen a defendant do that before in the courtroom, "but it's a shoulder shrug for me."
"I don't really care. The point is they have some system to arrive at 12 jurors. It's certainly unusual but I don't see anything wrong with it."
Social media uses, however, were stunned.
Rittenhouse was arrested last year after fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and gravely injuring Gaige Grosskreutz—all of whom were unarmed—during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty and his attorneys said their client shot in self-defense.
The unnamed jurors who were dismissed after Rittenhouse made his random selections were not among the final 12 deliberating the case, but they were asked by the defense to remain in the courtroom until the jury returned with the verdict.