Juror 54 in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has emerged as a focal point of feverish online discussion and speculation after she sent several juror notes to the judge.
People on Twitter are calling her a “Karen” and a “rogue juror” and speculating that she’s a holdout who is for conviction and preventing the jury from reaching a verdict. However, this is all wild speculation, and there is no evidence for any of that.
Update: A verdict has been reached, Kenosha police told law enforcement in an email at 10:55 a.m. Rittenhouse was found not guilty. Thus, the trashing of juror 54 as a supposed holdout for conviction ended up being completely wrong and becomes yet another parable about the dangers of social media mobs and Internet guesswork.
To be clear, the only thing known for sure about juror 54 is that she is a woman and signed the notes, as well as a few details from jury selection outlined below. That may be because she was selected as the jury foreperson and was merely sending the notes on behalf of all of the jurors. It’s also impossible to read anything for sure into the notes; for example, jurors wanted to scrutinize a series of videos in the case, but it’s not clear why. That hasn’t stopped people on Twitter from creating memes about juror 54 and speculating about her.
Others tried to tamp down the speculation, saying that she seemed “neutral” in jury selection.
Her identity isn’t known, and Heavy will not be publishing any identifying characteristics about this juror beyond what she said in public jury selection. The judge has banned publication of identifying information relating to Rittenhouse jurors, such as their names.
The jury hadn’t reached a verdict as it went into its fourth day of deliberations on November 19, 2021.
According to WISN-TV, defense attorney Mark Richards said, “I thought the jury was 6-6 split,” as he left the courthouse on November 18, 2021, after the jury couldn’t reach a verdict following the third day of deliberations, but the site said he was speculating.
You can read the jury instructions in full here.
Here’s what you need to know:
Juror 54 Answered Some Questions in Jury Selection
Juror 54 was one of the jurors who said in jury selection that she had seen the damage to Kenosha.
“I drove down to the area…two or three days after,” she said in court when jurors were asked about seeing the damage caused by arson fires and so forth in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake (the local DA later cleared the police officer in that shooting). The Rittenhouse shootings occurred during that aftermath.
The defense attorney asked if she had any difficulty separating what that made her feel from her job here. She indicated it did not.
She said that she shot a gun twice for targets, and that her son goes hunting and her husband’s family grew up hunting, so he has a gun collection.
Juror 54 Sent Several Notes to the Judge
Juror 54 seems to be taking a leadership position on the jury, at least as evidenced by the fact juror notes sent to the judge were in the handwriting of a female juror known as “juror 54.”
One note asked for the drone video and a series of other pieces of evidence that may indicate they are scrutinizing the provocation argument closely. They also asked for an FBI infrared video that was shown in court.
Other notes showed jurors wanted to see video relating to the shooting of Grosskreutz, who testified that he pointed a gun at Rittenhouse while advancing toward him at close distance because he believed he was an active shooter.
People are parsing the wording in the jury notes but that is speculative also.
The jury was selected from Kenosha County. There have been several incidents involving the jurors. The judge previously revealed in court that a person was accused of trying to videotape jurors as they got on a bus, and he kicked MSNBC out of the courtroom for an incident relating to the jury bus as well.
The Jury Went Into the Fourth Day of Deliberations Without Reaching a Verdict
The jury has not reached a verdict after three days deliberating. They headed into day four on November 19, 2021. On the third day, a Thursday, a female juror asked the judge if the jurors could take jury instructions home. She was wearing a mask, as do two other female jurors. That caused some of the speculation that they might be opposed to acquitting Rittenhouse due to political leanings. But this, too, is wild speculation with no basis in known fact. It is not clear whether the juror who requested to take home jury instructions was juror 54. It’s also not clear whether she was making the request for herself only or for other or all the jurors. The judge allowed the jury instructions to be taken home.
If the jury deadlocks, meaning they can’t agree on a guilty or not guilty verdict, the prosecution could retry Rittenhouse, 18.
It’s also possible that Rittenhouse could be convicted or acquitted on only SOME charges, but the jury could hang on others. Then, the state could choose to retry him on the deadlocked counts, although they don’t have retry him in either case.
He’s charged in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, in the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, and for recklessly endangering the safety of two other men. A charge for illegal firearm possession was previously dismissed by the judge, who cited the wording in state law. A curfew ticket was also previously tossed by the judge.
There’s another possibility: A mistrial with prejudice, which would prevent the state from retrying the case. A defense motion seeking one is still on the table.
The pool reporter in the courtroom on November 19, 2021, said there aren’t many updates to report. “Judge Bruce Schroeder’s clerk told reporters here in court that she hasn’t heard anything about jurors declining to order lunch,” Michael Tarm, of the Associated Press, wrote in an email to media outlets in the pool.
He added: “A court official confirms jurors are in. They are presumed deliberating. Judge Bruce Schroeder walked in a few minutes ago, lugging a six pack of Pepsi. He just sat on the bench for a previously schedule court call. No sign Rittenhouse lawyers or prosecutors. No buzz in the courtroom that anything is immediately afoot on Rittenhouse’s case.”