I have been watching the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In the deliberation to determine jury instructions, much ado was made about a grainy video purportedly showing Kyle point his gun at Joshua Ziminski. The judge was about to deny the video, but the prosecution was able to argue for approximately an hour about it until eventually the judge allowed it. For most of the argument, the defense said almost nothing and just let it go. A panel of lawyers I was watching commentate on the hearing said it was a critical error and may have blown the case.

I'm not saying Kyle had the knowledge to do this, but could another defendant in a similar case realize the moment was critical and step in when his lawyers were dropping the ball?

1 Answer 1


Your lawyer must act in your best interests; not follow your directions

Lawyers are professionals and they are supposed to use professional judgement in how they run a case. While a client can suggest a course of action, the lawyer is not only not obliged to follow it, they would be committing malpractice if they unquestioningly did so. Just like a doctor would be if they unthinkingly implemented a patient suggested treatment plan.

A panel of lawyers I was watching commentate on the hearing said it was a critical error and may have blown the case.

So, a group of Monday-morning quarterbacks who weren’t chosen and don’t know all the facts would have done it differently?

Perhaps it was a mistake. Or, perhaps the lawyer judged that there was nothing he could say that would help and considered that sounding desperate about the video would elevate its import in the minds of the jury.

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    The jury wasn't in the room, this was during the jury instruction deliberations. The monday-morning quarterbacks have been commentating the whole trial, and one of them was on Kyle's legal team until just a few days before jury selection. The instruction is critical because the media has incessantly said for 14 months Kyle provoked things by just being there, so using the word "provocation" in the instructions unfairly biases the jury.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 21:11
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    The question, as I understand it, is not "what are the lawyer's responsibilities in this situation?", but rather "given that the defendant believes these responsibilities are not being met, what actions may the defendant take to remedy the situation?" Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 13:45

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