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Tipsheet

Judge Dismisses Another Charge Against Kyle Rittenhouse

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge of possession of a dangerous weapon against 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse Monday as prosecutors and defense attorneys make their final arguments in his trial. 

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"Count six is dismissed," Schroeder declared after asking questions about the barrel length and legality of the rifle. 

Count six was the "possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18." 

The Judge dropped the charge after interpreting Wisconsin law, which allows for a person under 18 to possess a rifle that does not have a short barrel. 

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley explains:

The problem with the Wisconsin statute is not a problem of pluralization but definition. It is not clear that the statute actually bars possession by Rittenhouse. Indeed, it may come down to the length of Rittenhouse’s weapon and the prosecutors never bothered to measure it and place it into evidence.

In Wisconsin, minors cannot possess short-barreled rifles under Section 941.28. Putting aside the failure to put evidence into the record to claim such a short length, it does not appear to be the case here. Rittenhouse used a Smith & Wesson MP-15 with an advertised barrel length of 16 inches and the overall length is 36.9 inches. That is not a short barrel.

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Closing arguments in the case are expected to finish Monday. The jury will then deliberate on the remaining five charges of first-degree reckless homicide (two counts), first-degree recklessly endangering safety (two counts) and attempted-first degree homicide. Early in the trial, a charge related to the violation of a government curfew was also thrown out. 

Throughout the trial, which you can find extensive coverage of here, defense attorneys for Rittenhouse have argued the teenager was acting in self-defense when he shot three men who violently attacked him. Two of them were killed, all three had criminal records. 

Rittenhouse, who was 17-years-old at the time of the incident last summer, testified in his own defense and argued the same. 

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