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It pays to brief your own side properly

Some time in the early 1990s I was a witness to a brief exchange in the House of Commons that went unnoticed at the time but would go on to change the world.*

The scene was an ill-attended debate on Legal Aid Fees – the fees paid to lawyers by the state for representing those of slender means, as the White Paper setting up the Legal Aid scheme in 1949 put it. At the time, I was a very junior civil servant, sent to sit in the Visitors’ Gallery as a minor jolly and to give me some idea of how Parliamentary Questions played out in real life.

Speaking for the Lord Chancellor’s Department – none of yer new-fangled “Ministry of Justice” rubbish then – was a Tory MP I will call My Guy. It was him I sometimes got to write whole paragraphs of briefing papers for. Speaking for the Opposition was a Labour bloke whom I will call Labour Bloke. Up pops Labour Bloke, newly briefed by the Law Society (the “professional association” for UK lawyers, like a trade union but less honest) on how the wicked Tories were driving legal folk to penury and leaving the poor without representation as a result. “What is the Minister going to do,” he said, or words to that effect, “about the savage and unjustified cuts to Legal Aid fees?”

My Guy – a lawyer himself but now poacher turned gamekeeper – smiles and says, “There have been no cuts to Legal Aid Fees”. Labour Bloke visibly checks the papers in his hand but restrains himself from saying the words “But it says here”. He did manage to stammer out something, to which My Guy, who was a bit of a snot but in the right here and knew it, merely responded with the same words again: “There have been no cuts to Legal Aid Fees”.

There followed some bandying of figures, but Labour Bloke never recovered his momentum. The reason the poor chap had been so sure there had been cuts was that the Law Society had made the mistake of feeding him the same guff they put out to the Guardian, which was cleverly worded to make the fact that fees had gone up by less than inflation sound like they had been cut. I could tell Labour had taken their line straight from the Law Society by the familiarity of the words and figures used. I remember thinking how foolish Labour had been to rely so much on one source, and even more strongly, how damning it was that a bunch of barristers [Edit: solicitors, not barristers, according to commenter “llamas”], professional arguers by all that’s holy, had failed to appreciate the folly in both law and politics of not telling their own advocate the whole story.

I was reminded of that exchange by seeing two things on the internet about the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, which, please bear in mind, is not over.

One was this Guardian article, “Jury watches drone footage of Kyle Rittenhouse shooting man dead.” I do not say it contains any lies, but if that were your only source you would never know, you would never guess, you would never imagine, the existence of this video clip.

Imagine, dear reader, that you are a committed progressive. Imagine that you go online to argue against Rittenhouse, armed, if you will forgive the phrase, only with that Guardian article. How would it go? The mainstream media has passed a milestone in its decline to irrelevance when someone who wants to successfully argue for the same things the MSM argues for must use other sources besides the MSM.

*OK, the change concerned was that a quarter of a century later it would inspire me to write this Samizdata post, but that is undeniably part of the world and the world will have changed from not including my musings to including them once I press “Publish”, which I am doing now.

53 comments to It pays to brief your own side properly

  • I’m confused. The basic facts are what? That three folks attacked a militiaman who shot a number of them. The militiaman is in trial for murder. The second video reveals, amid noisy applause, that the last of the three triggered the shooting by raising his weapon?

    So you’re saying basically that all the shots fired, and resulting deaths, were caused by the witness in the second video and the murder charges should be dropped, as the killing was defensive? Also also that the Guardian failed to present those facts?

    There was no drone footage on any of the links when I visited, so it’s hard to say how reckless the Guardian may have been.

  • Paul Marks

    The “mainstream” media smeared Kyle Rittenhouse. As they smear everyone who is not on the left.

    He was in his fight for his life against many opponents, some of whom had firearms, and all of whom were totally vicious. They wanted to burn stores, blow up gas stations, and kill anyone who got in their way – they were Marxists, BLM and Antifa supporters.

    Whatever has happened since that night (and I know about the drinking, the hanging out with the some dodgy people, and the wearing of distasteful shirts), on that night Kyle Rittenhouse did what he had to do.

    I doubt many of us would have had the presence of mind (yes the COURAGE, the plain old fashioned grit) to get out of that situation alive.

  • Paul Marks

    Simon – it was a rather more than three attackers.

    And shots had been fired earlier that night.

    As for Kyle Rittenhouse.

    His main concern earlier that day was for his medical kit (making sure it was correctly stocked) – and he also asked for nonlethal weapons, but was given none. No taser – nothing.

    He was interviewed in daylight (when he still thought the police would do their jobs – would be allowed to do their jobs), but then the night started….

    In the end the only thing he could rely upon was his rifle.

    It should NOT have been that way.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Simon Gibbs writes, “So you’re saying basically that all the shots fired, and resulting deaths, were caused by the witness in the second video and the murder charges should be dropped, as the killing was defensive?”

    I don’t know how you arrived at that interpretation from what I said. What I did say was far less dramatic: that the Guardian account leaves out so much that anyone who use it as their only source of information would be dumbfounded by seeing any presentation of the defence case. That wouldn’t have been the case five or ten years ago, back when the Guardian allowed readers to comment on nearly every opinion piece and news story. From seeing the debate in the comments below the line it would not have come as a complete surprise to most of them in 2012 when George Zimmerman was acquitted of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a case which was as passionately debated then as the Rittenhouse case is now. The existence of the comments also kept the writers above the line in contact with opposing views.

    Obviously, I am using the Guardian‘s coverage of Rittenhouse’s trial as but one example of a wider trend.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Obviously, I am using the Guardian‘s coverage of Rittenhouse’s trial as but one example of a wider trend.

    Indeed. And what a trend it is.

  • llamas

    Hey, hey, hey, just a God-damned minute! The Law Society is (was) the professional body representing solicitors – not barristers. And at that time, IIRC, the benighted move of allowing solicitors to get on their feet in court had not yet come about – so solicitors were not then (and, I would argue, are still not) ‘professional arguers’. What they were/are is professional paper-pushers – legal program managers. No wonder their u7nion did such a poor job of prep.

    Biased? Moi? Pas du tout. The fact that I trained for a barrister has absolutely nothing to do with it 😉.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    My bad, llegal llamas. It was a long time ago and the mental twitter feed that popped the memory up into my head again today works in mysterious ways. I think I remember thinking “barristers” at the time, but I may have been ignorant then, or I may have remembered wrong now.

    I’ve added an edit to the post to reflect your comment, but speaking as the daughter of a solicitor, I’m leaving the description “professional arguers” in place. Solicitors are meant to know how to brief barristers with the arguments the latter will use in court in their job as professional actors.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Simon Gibbs – November 9, 2021 at 10:44 pm:

    I’m confused. The basic facts are what? That three folks attacked a militiaman…

    Mr. Rittenhouse was not a “militiaman”. He had no association whatever with any paramilitary group. The claim that he was such is part of the Left campaign of slander against him.

  • The Pedant-General

    Simon,
    You’re only confused because you appear only to have a very limited grasp of what has been going on.
    I strongly recommend reading Andrew Branca’s write ups of the trial so far. (Try here for example: https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/11/rittenhouse-trial-day-5-alleged-victim-gaige-grosskreutz-implodes-admits-had-glock-pointed-at-kyle-when-shot-lied-to-police-about-it/)

    The prosecution has been handed its arse by not only by its own witnesses but actually during direct questioning (before defence ripped them a whole new one on cross). It’s been lamentable. Prosecution rested earlier today without even attempting to disprove any element of reasonable self defence on any count. Seriously, If you didn’t know better, you would think their own witnesses were called by the defence. Every single one of them has confirmed that KR’s actions were peaceable and non-confrontational that evening, backing away from aggressors and only firing when attacked and cornered and under absolutely imminent threat. Literally textbook self-defence.

    His sang froid is astonishing. We know he was very very shaken following the first shooting – Rosenbaum – then on his way to surrender to the police was chased by a large mob yelling such pleasantries as “Cranium that dude”.

    Two delightful chaps (Huber and “jump kick man”) then proceed to try to do exactly that. Mere seconds after shooting Huber (when KR was on his back on the ground and Huber was above him in the act of using his skateboard to smash his head in) another guy runs up. When he is just feet away, KR points his rifle at him, the guy stops up smart and raises his hands – KR DOES NOT SHOOT. He’s that compos mentis. He’s extermely vulnerable, with a mob closing in on him fast, he’s just been kicked and smacked in the head with a skateboard, but he still manages to make the split second judgement to hold fire when the putative attacker pulls back at the last moment. Extraordinary self-control.

    Indeed, your surprise is rather the point of Natalie’s post. If you aren’t actually watching the livestream, you would know aboslutely none of this. Had this been the other way round, with a Republican DA maliciously prosecuting a BLM member or somesuch, this trainwreck would be headline news “Evil Republicans in political prosecution” etc etc.

    Natalie,

    One quibble. Your title is “It Pays to brief your side properly”. The MSM is quite deliberately NOT briefing its side properly because it wants to foment riots if the – wholly correct and necessary – Not Guilty verdict is returned.

  • Phil B

    You can watch this video clip taken by the “mostly peaceful protesters”. It shows him running away from the mob, being struck from behind and then three men running up to him with guns and a skateboard to use as a club against him:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iryQSpxSlrg

    As soon as they back off, he stops shooting and continues to try to escape. watch it full screen at half speed for the details.

    There are plenty more if you care to search for them (DON’T use Google).

    I suppose that Simon Gibbs would have preferred that he be beaten until crippled, brain damaged and likely shot to death in reference to defending his own life? No, this is a clear and utterly justified case of self defence in the face of imminent danger and potential death.

    The USA prosecutors are refusing to charge many criminals for serious crimes (up to and including murder) provided they are the correct ethnicity and/or political persuasion. How many “mostly peaceful” Antifa and BLM rioters who HAVE killed people have been as relentlessly prosecuted as Kyle Rittenhouse?

  • The prosecutors have an enormous amount of gaul even bringing these charges to trial, but then again, this is a political show trial as much as anything else.

    That two men died and one was delivered a lifelong injury by young Kyle Rittenhouse is not small beans, but in all fairness every single one of the dead or injured either directly assaulted the kid, tried to disarm him or pointed a loaded weapon at him and we’re caught on multiple video cameras doing so.

    Prosecution witnesses including (“bicep guy” Gaige Grosskreutz) have attempted to twist the truth about the events, but when pointed out their “errors of testimony” (i.e. attempts to lie on the stand) and shown the video and photographic evidence, they’ve acknowledge the reality and essentially confirmed that the matter was one of self-defence.

    Pretty sure that Gaige Grosskreutz would have gotten away with his lies if the video evidence of him pointing a gun at Kyle Rittenhouse hadn’t been both clear and unequivical. No wonder the prosecutors were seen burying their heads in their hands after the admission that Kyle only shot him after he pointed a gun at the kid.

    Grosskreutz has denied saying “He wanted to kill Kyle” (as alleged by his room mate), but these are not smart people and when said roommate turned up in court to see the proceedings he was immediately subpoenaed by the defence.

    The whole trial has been a farce from start to finish and the only thing greater than the vindictiveness of the prosecution has been their incompetence.

  • bobby b

    “The whole trial has been a farce from start to finish and the only thing greater than the vindictiveness of the prosecution has been their incompetence.”

    I dissent.

    This case had to be tried. The self-defense defense is so subjective, and this case is so fraught with good-guy/bad-guy overtones, that no decent prosecutor could simply make the decision. This way, the jurors see all of the evidence. More importantly, so do we. Trials serve several purposes, and this one seems to be serving them well.

    The prosecutors are working guys/gals, doing their job day in and day out. They do this stuff every day of the week. They’re not being vindictive – this case isn’t cut and dried at all (and I’m a huge fan of shooting people who are trying to hurt you and yours, so I’m not just defending my buddies here.) This is what we pay them to do.

    And, incompetent? Nah. Witnesses aren’t programmable. Sometimes they do the wackiest things. Sometimes they make you want to crawl into a hole and disappear. And sometimes you get assigned cases that aren’t simple and clear, and stuff goes south on you. But you still have to try the case.

    As to Ms. Solent’s point, I’ve commented about the trial to several people today – I’m in Minnesota today, so they’ve all been wokesters – and they are happy that the prosecution is going so well. They have no idea what’s happening, because of how it’s being reported (or not reported.)

    But are they in for a surprise? I thought everyone would be surprised when Chauvin was acquitted. Didn’t work that way in spite of the evidence. I’m fairly sure that, once again, there are several jurors very committed, as of Day One, to convicting the D, and who worked very hard to hide that in voir dire. Look for juror controversy as this progresses.

    (They just this week released all the names of the Chauvin jurors, and people are now finding out surprising things about them – meaning, quite a few lied about not having made up their minds ahead of time. Quite a few are committed lefties. Look for more info there, also.)

  • Shlomo Maistre

    bobby b,

    But you still have to try the case.

    Why, exactly?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The USA prosecutors are refusing to charge many criminals for serious crimes (up to and including murder) provided they are the correct ethnicity and/or political persuasion.

    This cannot be said often enough. Everyone should remind themselves of this every fucking day.

  • bobby b

    “Why, exactly?”

    Because you’re a work-a-daddy lawyer who needs his job, and decisions about dropping charges in a case of national scrutiny when the trial days get tough are way above your pay grade.

    Even if Grosskreutz’s testimony nailed the D’s self-defense defense for Grosskreutz’s injury, Rittenhouse still faces seven or eight other serious charges involving the two dead guys, and also involving his basic possession of an AR that night, away from his home state, as a minor, knowingly traveling to a riot. Grosskreutz’s testimony had nothing to do with those charges. The judge maybe could direct a verdict for the D on the one charge (and one charge only) at this point. You don’t bail just because you’ve clearly lost on one out of eight counts, involving the least serious interaction. And, even if D is acquitted of all “murder” charges, he could still end up in prison for basic weapons charges.

    (I wouldn’t be surprised if the D-atty and the P aren’t talking about some sort of plea deal right now, involving some or all of those eight other charges. That’s the other reason you don’t quit. Leverage.)

  • bobby b

    “This cannot be said often enough. Everyone should remind themselves of this every fucking day.”

    Lots of Chesa Boudins out there – lefty defense lawyers who campaigned for the woke voters to elect them to not prosecute crimes. The voters chose them, knowing that that meant that criminal prosecution would essentially cease for certain favored groups.

    So, these aren’t corrupt prosecutors. They’re doing exactly what they promised voters they’d do. The voters in those cities are fucking idiots and deserve what they get.

  • staghounds

    In short, because in some cases the public, a jury, has to be seen to be making the decision. Not lawyers in a back room.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that dramatic depictions of trials and investigations almost always present the essential question as identity- “Who did this awful thing?”

    Whereas in real life, the identity of the criminal is clear, and the question presented is “Is this thing really so awful?”, or “Is the person who did this really so awful?”. My office has probably dealt with 1100 homicide prosecutions in my career, and I have never once seen an identity defence presented to a jury in one of them. “I lacked sufficient premeditation” isn’t very dramatic, nor is “The dead man was a really crummy person too”.

    And almost always in violent crime cases the question a jury has to decide is what was the criminal’s intent at the time he did the thing.

    So jurors and news consumers are conditioned to think that DNA or fingerprints or ballistics or video prove guilt, but they often prove something that everyone, including the defendant, agrees on.

    In the Guardianverse, shooting three people is ALWAYS an evil murder by someone who is obviously bad because he had a gun, Q.E.D.*. In the real world, that he shot three people is only the beginning.

    *Except in certain hot climates.

  • John

    I sense an over-riding confidence in many comments that because the evidence of Mr Rittenhouse acting with commendable restraint in clear self-defence appears incontrovertible he will be acquitted.

    The anonymity of the jurors has already been compromised. Their faith in the police and judiciary to apply the law equally (I have read that various firearm offences apply equally to one of his attackers yet the other man faces no charges) and to ensure the necessary post-trial protection for themselves their families and their properties must be in tatters by now. They will need to be extraordinarily brave to make the right decision – something the Derek Chauvin jurors singularly failed to do.

    The facts may all be on Mr Rittenhouse’s side but I fear for him.

  • James Hargrave

    The Law Society was also, in its day, the regulatory body for solicitors. Let us just say that it wasn’t very good at that and its leadership was commonly as unrepresentative of the bulk of the soliciting business as the BMA is of old-style GPs. Capture by the metropolitan grudge-bearers who have time for this sort of things, an increasing (and I imagine increasingly ‘woke’) central office, mulcting its members (membership compulsory) for ever large fees. In effect, a typical modern organisation: rotten to teh core.

  • APL

    Natalie Solent (Essex) “I was a very junior civil servant … “

    Oh! my god! My mental image of Natalie has been dashed on the rock of réalité. That is a tradegy, folks!

    I must admit though, the spectacle of the public and surgical disembowlement of the liar Gaige Grosskreutz, the image of the prosecutor** sitting in court with his head in his hands as Grosskreutz destroyed his own case, and any chance of winning the $10,000,000 suit Grosskreutz had brought against Kinosha city authority, evaporating.

    That spectacle was, as they say, Priceless.

    **Who apparently will hereafter be known as ‘facepalmman’.

  • The Pedant-General

    Bobby,

    “Rittenhouse still faces seven or eight other serious charges involving the two dead guys, and also involving his basic possession of an AR that night, away from his home state, as a minor, knowingly traveling to a riot. ”

    down to 6 now, 5 of which are to do with the dead guys which fall on the (valid, obviously true) claim of self-defence. As to being away from his home state: HE FUCKING WORKED IN KENOSHA.

    On the possession of an AR – the statutes are not at all clear. What we DO know is that concealed carry is illegal and that the _STATE’S_ star witness was concealed carrying (then lied about it).

    “Knowingly travelling to a riot.” He was clearing up grafitti all day. He was not a rioter: it’s in the record that he was putting out the fires that the rioters were starting. THAT WAS WHY HE WAS CHASED AND ATTACKED.

    john,
    “I sense an over-riding confidence in many comments that because the evidence of Mr Rittenhouse acting with commendable restraint in clear self-defence appears incontrovertible he will be acquitted.”

    Not in the slightest.

    There is incontrovertible evidence, not only that he _should_ be acquitted, but that the judge should have thrown this out when the state rested as they have signally failed to provide anything that counters the self-defence claim.

    But I sure as hell know that the jury will fear for their lives if they do acquit. The defence needs to make this point – next time there’s a mob (and if you acquit, the mobs will get bigger, more violent and more frequent) and they come for your business, you have ZERO chance of anyone coming to help you. And if you try to defend yourself, guess what will happen to you.

  • bobby b

    FYI, I think I’ve now seen trial testimony that was even better than the “oops, yeah he was defending himself” stuff.

    https://twitter.com/Cubanoman/status/1458193002111946766

  • bobby b

    TP-G:

    I made those points only to show that there remain controversies in the trial that have not been addressed by recent testimony, and so the trial must continue, to settle those controversies in full public view.

    As it happens, I agree with you about how those controversies ought to be settled.

    But, as Staghounds points out, we’ve really had enough of courts taking shortcuts and avoiding full public airing-out of controversies lately. Sometimes the State needs to shut up and sit down and let a citizen jury decide.

  • tfourier

    bobby b:

    WI is not a stand your ground state which I suspect is the only reason for the trial. That, and politics. In states like Washington the law is pretty clear and supported by case law. Rittenhouse would have no changes against him in a stand your ground state.

    As for the County Prosecutors Office. Given that this is the highest profile case in decades in the city why is the Assistant DA not the DA the lead prosecutor? The county DA seems to have no public political profile but the Assistant DA ran for elected office as a Democrat. And failed. An odd move. But good (sneaky) office politics by the DA.

    As for Boudin. The recall is on. He only squeaked in last time (Soros money bought the margin) and given how out of control crime is on SF streets (multiple armed muggings in daylight on Upper Haight St the last few days with people shot, the rest of the City is MadMax land) I see Boudin being forced out. Given how many people have died because of Boudins failure to enforce even basic laws, at least 20, I think there is a good change of at least getting him in front of the Civil Grand Jury to answer for his crimes. Starting with the negligent manslaughter of the baby Synciere Williams. Who died because Boudin refuses to prosecute serious domestic violence. The baby was beaten to death by a thug after Boudin had him released for the second time after multiply vicious domestic violence attacks.

    Thats how “criminal justice reform” and “equity” plays out in the real world. With defenseless babies beaten to death.

  • Lee Moore

    As APL says, the glory of that second clip was not the one word answer “Correct” – it was the chubby prosecutor with his head in his hands.

  • The Pedant-General

    Bobby,

    Possibly, but the prosecution should have been able to see that there is absolutely no realistic chance of a conviction – there was no just way they could concoct a case that could disprove self-defence. They should have looked at their best case before coming to court and have said “we have literally nothing”.

    Their only chance was to bamboozle a frightened jury. That’s all they had and it’s been going downhill ever since. They have presented no case. You’re quite right that they should settle controversies in public view, but the “high water mark” (or grubby mark round a toilet as Branca has it) was when they rested.

    Judge should have dismissed at that point – they had utterly failed even to make a coherent case in their favour, let alone disprove the defence’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Rittenhouse is going to be convicted, just like Chauvin was, and for the same reason. The judge and jury are going to look out the window, see the gathered crowd, and fear them.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    bobby b,

    Because you’re a work-a-daddy lawyer who needs his job, and decisions about dropping charges in a case of national scrutiny when the trial days get tough are way above your pay grade.

    Ok so lets forget about “when the trial days get tough”.

    2 questions please about before any trial days at all:

    1. Who is typically the person who decides whether or not a case is prosecuted?
    2. In the Kyle Rittenhouse case who is the person who decided that the case be prosecuted?

    If the answer(s) to these questions is/are not clear cut… then that really just lends further support to my view that the system functions in such a way so as to prevent blame from being assigned to anybody at all when a) malicious prosecutions happen (regardless of whether Rittenhouse is such a case) and b) when curious decisions are made to not prosecute people who are clearly guilty of serious crimes.

  • Paul Marks

    I think there is a divide between people who rely on what historians call “Primary Sources” and “Secondary Sources”.

    I have watched a lot of the Primary material – the films of Mr Rittenhouse and others, and like most people who rely on the Primary material I believe him to be innocent. Other people concentrate on Secondary Sources (say what the Guardian newspaper or the BBC say about the case) they tend to think that Mr Rittenhouse is guilty.

    It was the same with the 2020 American Presidential Election – via the wonders of the internet and mobile phones I could watch (and did watch) Republican poll watchers being removed from some vote counting centres or not being allowed in at all.

    Most people who rely on such Primary Sources, what they see with their own eyes, believe the 2020 American Presidential Election to have been rigged.

    However, many people still reply on Secondary Sources – what the “mainstream” media tell them happened. They tend to think that the 2020 American Presidential Election was NOT rigged.

    It is very hard to understand why someone would rely on Secondary Sources (what the media say) in something like the “Rittenhouse Case” when they can see for themselves, but some people (a lot of people) still rely on Secondary Sources, even when Primary Sources (seeing for themselves) are available.

  • OT, but even after watching many episodes of Rumpole of Old Bailey the distinction between Barrister and Solicitor seems rather arbitrary to me (one talks in court, one prepares the papers?). I am no scholar on UK legal systems. Hell, I didn’t think the UK still used juries until a kind poster here corrected me. I thought it was all a judge (or three) in Olde Timey Wigs rendering their verdict, occasionally adding a black handkerchief upon said wig when rendering capitol punishments.

    AS for the Rittenhouse trial the prosecution knew it would have to have a big showy trial but both prosecution and defense knew that the case for conviction was weak. However the verdict is in the hands of a jury. If they convict the grounds for a mistrial are substantial – jury tampering, threats to the jury, “contamination of evidence” AKA the jury watches the news, etc.

    IANAL, but I am part of the Justice system – mostly identifying people, or their corpses (career criminals, please keep tattooing yourselves, it makes my job easier). The DA had to bring a case to trail due to public demand. Now we see how corrupt the courts are in Kenosha.

  • Paul Marks

    Now the examination and cross examination of Mr Rittenhouse is over, I feel even more strongly that such a young man should not have been in battle. “Young men are always the chief victims of war” – yes, but old men like me still do not like it.

    The decision in 2020 by so many towns and cities to let the vicious-Marxist-mobs (for that is what they were and are) loot and burn at will, was wrong. Horribly wrong.

    The defence of civilisation should not have been left to such a young man – and he should certainly not have been left alone to face so many enemies. The POLICE should have crushed the Marxist mob as soon as they appeared.

  • Alan Peakall

    Paul, I find it hard to credit that the locution Reliable Sourcery gets only one hit from Google search and that is eight years old.

  • Phil B

    @The Pedant-General

    (B)ut the prosecution should have been able to see that there is absolutely no realistic chance of a conviction

    As it has been said, many times before, the process is the punishment.

    The State reserves the monopoly of violence for itself and anyone usurping that right WILL be punished. Prosecutors hate self defence for various reasons (political, revealing that the State cannot provide basic law and order, vindictiveness, making a name for themselves and being re-elected etc.).

    Rittenhouse will face massive legal bills and his pre trial imprisonment combined will, regardless of the verdict, be punishment that will affect his life for a long, long time. It sends a clear message to anyone with enough sense to come in out of the rain. The process is the punishment, remember?

  • Paul Marks

    Alan Peakall – as Mrs Thatcher used to say (for example after the lady was betrayed by a collection of despicable men) “it is a funny old world”. We can update that – as Google is even “funnier”.

    By the way…..

    Simon Gibbs – I am very sorry indeed to have missed you when you visited Northamptonshire.

    If you ever the county again, please telephone me.

  • Paul Marks

    Phil B.

    I think the boy that Mr Rittenhouse was has gone – the clean cut boy that his mother so loved.

    Indeed I think I spotted signs of PTSD at one point in the man’s (for he is a man now) testimony, he broke down at one point.

    It was a very hard night (a grim struggle to survive against a mob of utterly evil men) – and the year since then has also been very grim.

    Even if he “walks” – he will never be boy again, his youth is gone.

    And who is going to employ someone the left has marked for destruction?

    Remember “Cancel Culture” – the left (including those creatures of Hell that make up the Biden/Harris Administration) will come after any employer.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    The woke mob is going to work on the jury. Everybody knows that. The question is whether their threats will be effective. In addition, if the jury does have a spine, will the inevitable doxing and destruction of the jury’s lives and families be punished?

    We already know from the riots that created the terrible situation that Rittenhouse found himself in that the powers-that-be don’t care as long as the targets aren’t on their side.

    It’s times like this that I think the abolishment of jury trials in Singapore was a good idea, exactly as how LKY argued it. Of course, there’ll be railroading, but at least the judges will be upfront and accountability is a lot easier to assign, making it easier to decide who to vote for when it comes to voting for political parties.

  • Phil B

    Paul Marks, November 10, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Paul,

    I fully agree. The financial costs will be a terrible burden on him but the psychological costs will be even worse. I would liken him to the soldiers that were called up and sent to war. They may have been boys when they went but combat alters them in a way that no one that has not seen combat can appreciate. The soldiers are hindered in explaining themselves because the civilians do not have the vocabulary to understand the explanation. His mental state must be viewed in those terms to even come close to understanding what he has suffered.

  • @Phil B

    I suppose that Simon Gibbs would have preferred that he be beaten until crippled, brain damaged and likely shot to death in reference to defending his own life?

    Clearly, we have never met!

    @Natalie it is hard to digest a story contrasting two newspaper articles without having much of the picture in advance, as I personally didn’t having had Other Things To Do. As a point of feedback a link to a primary source, such as drone footage, would have been helpful.

    @Paul Marks I have a feeling we will be in the same place next week. I am keen to collar you and Perry (preferably simultaneously).

    On primary vs secondary sources. The value of secondary sources is that they usually summarise. Some people do have Other Things To Do.

    @Rich I wouldn’t have had a problem if he was militia, although I don’t know much about what militia are active in 2021. Is being a militiaman an effective smear or a compliment? Again, I don’t personally know that – OTTD – but I am interested and I suspect other members of the silent audience know similar amounts to myself, and are also interested.

  • Lots of Chesa Boudins out there – lefty defense lawyers who campaigned for the woke voters to elect them to not prosecute crimes. The voters chose them, … The voters in those cities are fucking idiots and deserve what they get. (bobby b, November 10, 2021 at 3:51 am)

    Many voters – but as to exactly how many, well, it may indeed be that a majority of the city’s legal voters chose Chesa Boudin, but on the other hand I think vote fraud is another of those crimes Chesa is not eager to prosecute.

    Generally, your comments above have been doing what Natalie advised (helping us be more fully briefed), for which my thanks.

  • bobby b

    Shlomo Maistre
    November 10, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    “1. Who is typically the person who decides whether or not a case is prosecuted?
    2. In the Kyle Rittenhouse case who is the person who decided that the case be prosecuted?”

    1. Differs jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but within each jurisdiction the answer is usually clear. Cops investigate, and pass their charge recommendation on to the city/county attorney’s office. Depending on the size of that office, a charging group of lawyers (or the actual city/county attorney in a small office) will make a decision on charging.

    2. I don’t know, but not because the knowledge is occulted, but because I don’t know that jurisdiction. One of the above scenarios. In any event, rather easily discoverable.

    Obviously, politics has its way with all government processes including this one. The head prosecutor is typically an elected position. So, yeah, there are no completely pure nonpolitical processes in any government. But the charging process isn’t particularly shady.

  • The Pedant-General

    Simon,

    “On primary vs secondary sources. The value of secondary sources is that they usually summarise. Some people do have Other Things To Do”

    Oddly enough, this is the exact point of Natalie’s post. Unfortunately, our secondary sources are now failing t do that. They are NOT summarising – they are presenting a very very flawed and partial version.

    The real problem is that all the people doing good work in the world – yourself included – do indeed have Other Things To Do – and are now being seriously misinformed about what is going on around them. This is not a good thing.

  • bobby b

    I need to add to the end of my last comment up above:

    ” . . . except for in those jurisdictions run by the Chesa Boudins/Kim Foxes of the new world disorder.

  • Phil B

    An 11 minute explanation of the incident is here:

    https://youtu.be/v2Rqv2tIg4E

    And, in response to the posters who believe that the prosecutor in this case waited an investigation by the Police and based his decision on the evidence, it appears that he did not but decided to raise six charges two days after the incident. As noted, none of the people that assaulted Rittenhouse, including felons in possession of firearms, has been charged with anything.

  • bobby b

    “And, in response to the posters who believe that the prosecutor in this case waited an investigation by the Police and based his decision on the evidence, it appears that he did not but decided to raise six charges two days after the incident.”

    He had to bring charges in this case very quickly. Rittenhouse turned himself in to the police in his own state – Illinois – and the interstate extradition process needed to begin, and that process requires charges being filed in the requesting state – Wisconsin. Other choice was to go through the normal process and risk the Illinois police declining to hold him any longer. They’re not going to keep someone detained (for long) without charges having been filed.

    The ABA Standards has a few entries that pertain here.

    Standard 3-4.2 Decisions to Charge Are the Prosecutor’s

    (a) While the decision to arrest is often the responsibility of law enforcement personnel, the decision to institute formal criminal proceedings is the responsibility of the prosecutor. Where the law permits a law enforcement officer or other person to initiate proceedings by complaining directly to a judicial officer or the grand jury, the complainant should be required to present the complaint for prior review by the prosecutor, and the prosecutor’s recommendation regarding the complaint should be communicated to the judicial officer or grand jury.

    and

    Standard 3-4.3 Minimum Requirements for Filing and Maintaining Criminal Charges

    (a) A prosecutor should seek or file criminal charges only if the prosecutor reasonably believes that the charges are supported by probable cause, that admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the decision to charge is in the interests of justice.

    I see a prosecutorial decision here that was possibly wrong, in the sense that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden wasn’t met in the end. I don’t see any indication that it rose to a “malicious” level of wrong – unless every charge that eventually loses at trial can be termed to be malicious.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Paul Marks,

    And who is going to employ someone the left has marked for destruction?

    Ben Shapiro.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    bobby b,

    Shlomo Maistre
    November 10, 2021 at 5:42 pm
    “1. Who is typically the person who decides whether or not a case is prosecuted?
    2. In the Kyle Rittenhouse case who is the person who decided that the case be prosecuted?”

    1. Differs jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but within each jurisdiction the answer is usually clear. Cops investigate, and pass their charge recommendation on to the city/county attorney’s office. Depending on the size of that office, a charging group of lawyers (or the actual city/county attorney in a small office) will make a decision on charging.

    2. I don’t know, but not because the knowledge is occulted, but because I don’t know that jurisdiction. One of the above scenarios. In any event, rather easily discoverable.

    Ok thanks for the information. It’s helpful.

    Obviously, politics has its way with all government processes including this one. The head prosecutor is typically an elected position. So, yeah, there are no completely pure nonpolitical processes in any government. But the charging process isn’t particularly shady.

    I did not say the charging process is shady.

    I said, and I still believe, that the system functions in such a way so as to prevent blame from being assigned to anybody at all when malicious prosecutions happen (regardless of whether Rittenhouse is such a case) and the system functions in such a way so as to prevent blame from being assigned to anybody at all when curious decisions are made to not prosecute people who are clearly guilty of serious crimes.

    Although probably 90% (or more) of charging decisions are fairly inconspicuous and justified, the above statement is still quite clearly true: the system functions in such a way so as to prevent blame from being assigned to anybody at all when malicious prosecutions happen and when curious decisions are made to not prosecute people who are clearly guilty of serious crimes.

    And those 5% or 10% of charging decisions that are conspicuous (whether the decision is to charge or not to charge) almost uniformly follow a peculiar pattern.

    What is the peculiar pattern?

    I’ll give you a hint: this peculiar pattern is not over-prosecution of minorities or Democrats; nor is that peculiar pattern under-prosecution of whites or Republicans.

  • bobby b

    “What is the peculiar pattern?”

    Could be that I’m hung up on the technical definition of “malicious prosecution”, while you’re employing it in a wider sense. I’m thinking we’re agreeing on the essence.

    Let’s say that Jerry – a member of the ruling group – does something clearly proscribed by law. Let’s say that I – a non-member of that group – commit that same act.

    I am prosecuted. Jerry is not.

    That’s the situation that I think is at issue here. But I would not call my prosecution a malicious prosecution. I broke the law.

    So did Jerry, but Jerry gets away with it.

    Wrong? Corrupt? I agree, yes. Not “malicious prosecution”, though. Maybe I’m just being overly technical and label-oriented – but my ex-profession is technical and label-oriented.

  • I would not call my prosecution a malicious prosecution. I broke the law. So did Jerry, but Jerry gets away with it. (bobby b, November 13, 2021 at 6:44 pm)

    Though genuinely malicious prosecutions also figure, malicious refusals to prosecute seem to be the modal strategy of the Chesas of this world. So what do we call this?

    – If the guy who beat up Jerry is prosecuted but the guy who beat up you is not, you could speak of your being denied the equal protection of the laws.

    – If you and Jerry beat up a third party, and you get prosecuted for it but Jerry does not, the third party gets unequal protection, but you and Jerry experience unequal subjection to the laws.

    In both cases, the laws are unequally enforced. I suppose one could just speak of Soros’ prosecutors f***ing the 14th.

  • bobby b

    “So what do we call this?”

    In my (again, overly technical legal-definitional world), I’d call it “abuse of discretion.” Prosecutors are given discretion in charging decisions, provided those decisions “serve justice.” When they no longer do so, that discretion has been abused.

    In the nomenclature of the legal world, “malicious prosecution” has an exact, narrowly-defined meaning. In popular usage, it seems to mean something else. Sometimes I forget that I’m no longer living in that first world.

  • […] Facebook. After reviewing how, uh, ‘well’ qualified the fact-checkers were, he follows Natalie’s wise advice to brief his side properly, giving the fact-checkers a tick or half-mark wherever he can, before […]

  • Natalie Solent (Essex) “I was a very junior civil servant … “

    Oh! my god! My mental image of Natalie has been dashed on the rock of réalité. That is a tradegy, folks! (APL, November 10, 2021 at 8:17 am)

    The second and third paragraphs of this old comment may restore your mental image a bit.

  • Of course, lying to your supporters does not only mean they may then lose arguments with your opponents. It also risks that, every now and then, one of the woke might wake up.

    Self-described progressive Sarah Beth Burwick also took to the Twitter machine last week … :

    I am highly educated and reasonably perceptive, and it was only today that I learned the Kyle Rittenhouse victims were white.

    My progressive bubble made this seem like a very different case than it is.

    (via Legal Insurrection, h/t instapundit).

  • […] Another update: Glenn Greenwald tweets, “Just look at how many people were radically deceived about this case – and still are! – including people paid to follow and “report on” these matters for a living” and illustrates his point with a hilarious screenshot of the Independent‘s front page of a few minutes ago. Somebody must have told them, they’ve since corrected it. But, really, imagine the Independent‘s reporters relying on the Independent as a source. […]

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