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I understand that sometimes arms have factual bearing on cases and have to be entered into evidence but how anyone managed to point a gun at a jury and not get rugby tackled by a bailiff is beyond me. Pointing a gun is in essence threatening someone to me. Should pointing a gun at a jury not be considered intimidation and hence then also be a chargeable offence? It is just incredible to me that such an act was allowed to happen

I'm also wondering what sort of effect this kind of stunt can have with your standing with the Bar. If this sort of thing can have a lawyer lose his license?

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    The title references Rittenhouse but the final paragraph talks about lawyers and the Bar which makes it unclear who you're talking about.
    – Rick
    Nov 21 '21 at 7:42
  • Yes, sorry the coverage made me think Rittenhouse was the name of the prosecutor. Will edit to improve question. Still think it can be salvaged.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 21 '21 at 7:48
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    The context here is that the weapon was cleared by at least one law enforcement officer immediately before ADA Thomas C. Binger pulled this stunt. It's tremendously poor form to point a gun at people with your finger on the trigger in any context, however. Everyone with even basic firearm competency knows that this violates a firearm cardinal rule. Given the context and that it was allowed by the judge, I believe he will not face any backlash, though it may technically violate a law. He probably has bigger things to worry about right now anyway.
    – acpilot
    Nov 22 '21 at 4:41
  • @acpilot that sounds like an answer. Could you post it as such? It completely answers my question. Would like to give it a upvote.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 22 '21 at 7:18
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    The rules: 1. A gun is always loaded. 2. You never point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy. 3. You never put your finger on the trigger unless you want to shoot. 4. You always know what you are aiming at and what's behind it.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 22 '21 at 15:22
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I think you're referring to this image: Attorney Thomas Binger holding an AR-15, pointing it at something out of frame - photo by Sean Krajacic - The Kenosha News pool

This is the prosecutor pointing the AR-15 at the jury.

Evidence, including guns, is allowed in the courtroom, but the prosecutor was widely criticized for his dramatic antics: pointing it directly at the jury, with his finger on the trigger (the rifle should have been checked for being empty, but not having your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot, no matter what, is elementary gun safety).

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  • This may be better to edit in my question. As it stands you answer does not answer the question. You may get some downvotes.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 21 '21 at 6:27
  • @NeilMeyer if you correct the question, I can update the answer. BTW, you should use this image so that readers who aren't familiar with the case know what you're referring to.
    – Eugene
    Nov 21 '21 at 6:32
  • I'm currently on the android app of SE, can not edit the picture just now.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 21 '21 at 7:52
  • I have made an edit.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 22 '21 at 7:20
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So it could be a crime if one of the jury presses the issue (specifically, pointing a gun at someone in a manner to intimidate them would be Assault with a Deadly Weapon, regardless of if the "weapon" was actually loaded, operable, or even a realistic toy. So long as the victim believes it was a real gun, it's Assault with Deadly. Given that it was done to 12 members of the jury, it can be Jury Intimidation or similar crimes). In all likelihood, the Prosecutor's office will likely exercise prosecutorial discretion and not bring charges for various reasons (If you want something innocuous, given the context of the situation, it might be harder to prove. If you want something more corrupt, Binger is the prosecutor... he and his office would likely not charge one of their own.).

The other recourse would be to file a complaint with the Bar Association which could result in Binger receiving fines, suspensions, or even disbarment. Given other problems with Binger's behavior in the trial, he could easily be facing Bar Association complaints as some of his behavior is highly questionable to downright unethical (Questioning Rittenhouse's invocation of the 5th to the police in front of a jury, introducing evidence the judge ruled inadmissible, questioning another witness's invocation of his sixth amendment right to counsel in front of the jury, and accusations of violating Brady disclosure rules). In all likelihood this is another log on the fire in any complaint to the Bar Association.

As stated in other comments, Binger at the least shows very very poor gun safety. You never treat a gun as if it was unloaded unless you checked yourself... and even then some experts advise under no exceptions just to be extra safe.

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  • Just for interest sake does disbarment in one state disqualify you from gaining bar status in another state? Would he have to give up his career completely or can he just move and do the Bar exam again? (Not like doing that again is easy)
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 22 '21 at 17:12
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    @NeilMeyer Not necessarily, but it can lead to it in other jurisdictions. As for giving up his career, that depends on the exact nature of the disbarment as they can allow one to reapply after a period of time OR be lifetime disbarment. As a clarifying statement, I don't think pointing the gun at the jury is that big of a deal from either a legal or ethical standpoint (you certainly should not do it) but more problematic behaviors and violation of Defense rights occurred that could cause him trouble and the lack of gun safety just adds to that scale.
    – hszmv
    Nov 22 '21 at 17:41

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