‘Everything is getting scrutinized’: Judge in Rittenhouse trial taking center stage for several viral, controversial moments

KENOSHA, Wis. – Many people may not have known the name Bruce Schroeder until a couple of weeks ago.

Now, the judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial has become a household name.

On Thursday, Schroeder made an off-color joke regarding Asian food as the trial went on lunch break. 

It was just the latest in a series of attention-grabbing moments the judge has had in the trial of Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen facing several homicide charges for shooting three people, two fatally, during a protest in Kenosha last summer.

Schroeder started making headlines last month nationally when he stood by his long-time rule of not allowing the two men killed during the protests to be referred to as victims in court.

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There were also several heated exchanges between Schroeder and the prosecution.

While some people may be shocked by what they have seen play out in court, Ion Meyn, an assistant law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said most of it is not surprising. 

“Judges have different philosophies. This judge is a little more talk down, cam and central kind of approach. You get a sense that it’s HIS courtroom,” Meyn explained. “It’s easy, I think, for people to forget that judges are people too. There are a lot of emotions in these cases and I think you can look at social media and it’s on fire. There are just a lot of deeply-felt emotions and the judge is on national TV every day. Everything is getting scrutinized.”  

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Kristen Barbaresi, a reporter for Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT-TV who has been covering the case from inside the courtroom, shared her perspective.

“Do I think I know personally how the judge feels about this case and his thoughts on guilt or innocence? Yeah, I think some of that has shown, but has it shown in a way that it is going to impact what the jury decides? I don’t think so.”

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Barbaresi said for the most part, Schroeder has been consistent throughout the trial in his law-making decisions.

Most of Schroeder’s actions that are in question have come when the jury was not present, she added.