Any civil rights lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse 'will fail,' legal analysts say
Following the jury's acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse , the teenager who beat felony homicide charges over the deaths of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin , legal analysts contend any follow-up civil rights case "will fail" if prosecutors push for one.
The verdict prompted a condemning response from the likes of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who tweeted Nov. 19 that the full acquittal was a "miscarriage of justice" that "justifies federal review" by the Department of Justice . However, legal analyst and Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson told the Washington Examiner the self-defense evidence in Rittenhouse's criminal case "will be just as overwhelming in a civil case."
"There is no obvious basis for a civil rights prosecution against Rittenhouse," said Jacobson, who is also the founder of the Legal Insurrection blog and followed the trial daily.
"The videos are the videos, and the testimony already is under oath from witnesses and alleged victim Gaige Grosskreutz. A civil case will fail even by a preponderance of the evidence," Jacobson added.
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley wrote Sunday that the DOJ does not possess an office for the prosecution of "miscarriages of justice" and furthered it would be a "dangerous precedent" to probe a jury's decision based on a disagreement with the verdict.
"Rittenhouse was acquitted on state charges by a state jury. Moreover, while some have called for reducing self-defense protections, the jury applied the law as it currently appears on the books," Turley opined in a Fox News article. "It is not allowed to simply ignore the law to seek our own criminal justice rules."
Turley also claimed federal prosecutors would have no grounds to stand on for a civil rights prosecution. "Rittenhouse is white and shot three white men. He was not accused of a hate crime," the law professor added, noting Rittenhouse was not a law enforcement member and "did not deprive anyone of their civil rights under federal law."
The families of the deceased protesters, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, might have an actionable case for a civil liability case, some experts have noted, pointing to the families of Ron Goldman and Denise Brown who filed a civil lawsuit against O.J. Simpson after a jury cleared the former athlete of double murder charges. A civil panel found Simpson liable for Goldman's and Brown's deaths, and he was forced to pay a sum of the $33.5 million judgment.
Some legal analysts say the burden of proof by a preponderance of evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt could prove advantageous to prosecution if a civil case was brought against Rittenhouse.
University of California Hastings College of Law professor Rory Little said the federal government is likely to investigate to determine whether or not a criminal civil rights violation happened against the deceased parties, according to NBC News.
"In a civil case, you can broaden the field," Little said Friday. He contended that while authorities can bring such charges, they likely won't due to the burden of proof remaining the same as state criminal court.
The Washington Examiner contacted the Justice Department but did not receive a response.
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