The Associated Press has been paying close attention to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and they canโ€™t help but be struck by something:

Amy Forliti, Gene Johnson, and Todd Richmond write:

If nothing else, the discussion about the judgeโ€™s conduct has underlined the importance of how the judicial system is perceived โ€” especially in a high-profile case where the outcome can exacerbate societal tensions around issues like race, guns, protests, vigilantism, and law and order.

โ€œOur hope is that the court system and our judges, while human, will uphold this role of a neutral arbiter so that everybody gets a fair trial โ€” the defendant and the people โ€” and that we can arrive at a decision that we can all agree on was legitimate,โ€ saidย Mary D. Fan,ย a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of Washington Law School.

โ€œWhen people have doubts about that impartiality,โ€ Fan said, โ€œit undermines our trust in the justice of the verdict.โ€

What about when media are fueling doubts about that impartiality? What then?

More:

Itโ€™s primarily the defendant, not prosecutors, whose rights are protected under the law, and judges must guard them carefully. Schroeder has done so appropriately in some instances, legal experts said, such as when he scolded prosecutor Thomas Binger for asking Rittenhouse why he had not discussed the shootings before taking the witness stand. Defendants have a right to remain silent.

Is that wrong? Should the judge not do that?

If the AP is genuinely surprised that Judge Bruce Schroeder is treating Kyle Rittenhouse like a defendant in a murder trial, well, AP, weโ€™ve got some news for you.

Unless we put a stop to it.

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