Kenosha, WI – A judge declined during a virtual hearing on Thursday to issue a new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse or raise the 18 year old’s $2 million bail as a penalty for failing to register his new address with the court.
Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s criminal defense attorney, argued that his client had to be moved to a “safe house” after he was released on bail because he had received so many threats, KTVU reported.
Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder ordered Rittenhouse’s attorney to turn over his client’s physical address under seal, the Associated Press reported.
But Schroeder told prosecutors that he would keep the address sealed to the public and only he and the sheriff’s office would have access to it.
“It is of concern to the defense that any information regarding Kyle’s location being publicly available would result in immediate harm to the Rittenhouse family,” Richards wrote in a court filing.
He offered to give Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger a physical address for Rittenhouse as long as the prosecutor didn’t release it to the public, KTVU reported.
But Binger wouldn’t agree to that stipulation, claiming there was a strong reason for the public to know exactly where Rittenhouse was, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“He is, after all, charged with murdering two people and severely injuring a third,” the prosecutor wrote in his response.
Binger said it was “completely unacceptable” that victims, their families, and witnesses could live nearby Rittenhouse without knowing it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
But the judge did not agree, the Associated Press reported.
Schroeder shocked prosecutors by refusing to allow them to have Rittenhouse’s new address and said it was because he didn’t want to see more violence in Kenosha.
“I hope you’re not suggesting sharing this with our office would lead to further violence,” Binger said. “We are not the public. We are the prosecuting agency. I have never heard of a situation where the information has been withheld from my office.”
But the judge refused to cave to the prosecutor, the Associated Press reported.
Schroeder told Binger that the sheriff would handle any further bail violations.
Binger argued that Rittenhouse doesn’t live in Kenosha County so the sheriff didn’t have jurisdiction, the Associated Press reported.
The judge was not impressed with that argument and ended the hearing, cutting Binger off in mid-sentence.
Schroeder had already denied the prosecutor’s request to issue a new arrest warrant for the 18 year old and hike his bail up by an additional $200,000 as punishment for having failed to update his address, the Associated Press reported.
The judge told an angry Binger that lots of defendants failed to update their address information and weren’t arrested for it.
Rittenhouse was released on bond in November of 2020 on a $2 million cash bail that was raised by supporters, WISN reported.
Before that, the teen spent three months in jail, accused of fatally shooting two men who attacked him during the Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha in August of 2020.
Rittenhouse is facing five felony charges including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, WISN reported.
He is facing life in prison if he is convicted.
Prosecutors filed a motion with the court on Feb. 3 that said they had been unable to deliver a hearing notice to Rittenhouse because he no longer lived at the address he had listed on his release paperwork, WISN reported.
The notice was returned with a note that the addressee did not reside at that address.
So police detectives were sent to Rittenhouse’s address to deliver the notice, according to the motion filed with the court.
The man who lived at the address told detectives that he had moved in on Dec. 15, 2020 and Rittenhouse had moved out before then, WISN reported.
Prosecutors said that when Rittenhouse signed a document with the court on Jan. 22, he failed to update his address.
The conditions of Rittenhouse’s release required that he notify the District Attorney’s Office within 48 hours if he moved, WISN reported.