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Rittenhouse case raises question: What makes a fair trial?

At one point, the 18-year-old murder defendant stood behind the seated, black-robed judge and peered over him to review evidence. At another, on Veterans Day, the judge led the jury and others in the courtroom in applause for veterans just as a defense witness who had served in the Army was about to testify.

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Which side did better in Rittenhouse closings?

A defense lawyer angrily accused the prosecution at Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial of lying. The lead prosecutor struck a measured tone, even as he raised the accused's rifle at one point and sighted at a courtroom wall.

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Could jury weigh lesser charges for Rittenhouse?

Prosecutors in Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial could ask the jury to consider lesser charges when it gets the case, a move that could secure a conviction for some crime but take a possible life sentence off the table.

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There should be no ties in litigation

There is a saying in sports that a tie is like kissing your sister. For an appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, however, a tie would be like kissing your sister after having paid her a lot of money.

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EXPLAINER: Prosecutors play up Rittenhouse inexperience

Prosecutors trying to convict Kyle Rittenhouse of murder have been working to paint him as an inexperienced teenager who misrepresented his age and medical training to other armed civilians in his group on the night he shot three men during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin last year. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger has drawn out testimony during the ...

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Political theater is not law

A friend of mine, who was a federal prosecutor, told me once that the problem with special prosecutors being appointed to investigate potential crimes was that they have an incentive to find a reason to issue charges.

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The high conflict divorce

My late partner, Leonard Loeb, used to say that every lawyer has at least one case which they think is the cause of most of their headaches and lost sleep. The lawyer thinks “as soon as that case is completed, my life will be so much easier.” But, naturally, as soon as that case does wrap up, there is another one with the same effect on the lawyer.

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Hidden cameras don’t belong in schools

It’s not uncommon for the rest of the state to look at Madison and react by wondering, “What were they thinking?” But the reaction is usually prompted by the antics of state government, not a school district putting hidden cameras in a high school locker room.

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Century-old racist US Supreme Court cases still rule over millions of Americans

The 4 million inhabitants of five U.S. territories – Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Marianas Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands – do not have the full protection of the Constitution, because of a series of Supreme Court cases dating back to 1901 that are based on archaic, often racist language and reasoning. No U.S. citizen living in any ...

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Sentence in huffing case doesn’t feel like justice

It’s hard to know exactly how to feel about the sentencing of John Stender last week. He wasn’t behind the wheel on Nov. 3, 2018, when Colten Treu drove his truck through a group of Girl Scouts cleaning up litter along the side of Highway P. But he certainly bore considerable responsibility.

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Fee recovery is key to transparency

Many states, including Wisconsin, have public records laws. But that doesn’t mean requesters always get the records they seek, or even that the laws are followed.

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Kaul vs. Prehn is a battle financed by the taxpayers

If any normal person took a massive stack of $100 bills, poured gas on it and set it on fire, we would all think they were — well — insane. When our Legislature does it, we just shake our heads a bit and say, “Oh well, that’s Madison for you.”

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ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM: Sometimes, in-person is better

In a previous column, I commented that one of the few silver linings of the dark, dark cloud called Covid-19 is that it has led to an increased use of technology, such as Zoom, and the resulting avoidance of unnecessary costs.

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Biden Administration limits non-compete agreements

On July 9, President Joe Biden issued an executive order entitled Promoting Competition in the American Economy to combat high prices due to “lack of competition” and low wages resulting from “barriers to competition.” To achieve its broad goal of promoting competition, the EO directs federal agencies to implement 72 initiatives aimed at promoting competition to benefit American workers and ...

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