Breaking down the Kyle Rittenhouse jury and why there was a lottery

Morning In America

 (NewsNation Now) — Eighteen jurors listened to all of the testimony in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, but only a dozen will actually be deliberating.

The other six were removed from the jury in what appears to be an unconventional procedure. It’s something that may look more familiar in a bingo hall than a courtroom, but it’s a very real and completely legal process because of a very specific Wisconsin state statute.

Wisconsin Code 805.08(2) says the court may order that additional jurors be selected. In that case, if the number of jurors remains more than required at the time of the final submission of the case, the court will determine by lottery which jurors will not initially participate in deliberations.

In this case, the six people whose numbers were removed from that hopper Tuesday will still serve as alternates should they have to replace a jury during the deliberation process.

Overseating a jury and this lottery process are both common practices in Wisconsin. But multiple lawyers said they had never heard of a defendant pulling the numbers themselves, as Rittenhouse did Tuesday. It’s usually done by a bailiff or court clerk.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 16: Kyle Rittenhouse pulls numbers of jurors out of a tumbler during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The jurors selected through this process will not participate in deliberations. Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a night of unrest that erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back while being arrested in August 2020. Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, was 17 at the time of the shooting and armed with an assault rifle. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

So who’s left on that 12-person jury?

It’s a breakdown of seven women and five men. Just one of the 12 — a man, is a person of color.

Nearly 150 people made up the initial prospective jury pool, that’s more than two and a half times the number most clerks summon to be jurors. And now, in the final days, it’s down to the final 12.

The jury deliberated for a full day Tuesday without reaching a decision. The jury is set to begin the second day of deliberations on Wednesday.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison if convicted as charged for using an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and wound a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. 

Criminal defense attorney Matt Fakhoury weighs in on the trial on “Morning in America.” You can watch the full interview in the player below.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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