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  • Joseph A. Del Russo, JD

Professor Del Russo Reacts to Kyle Rittenhouse evidence legal arguments:

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, fatally shot two men and wounded another in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shootings occurred during the protests, riots, and civil unrest that followed the non-fatal shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer. Rittenhouse and the three men he shot were white. At trial, Rittenhouse used the affirmative defense of self-defense and was acquitted of all charges. Rittenhouse was armed with a semi-automatic, AR-15 style rifle, and had joined a group of armed men in Kenosha who stated that they were in Kenosha to protect businesses.

A legal issue arose about images that were utilized during the trial. When Kenosha County prosecutor Thomas Binger cross-examined murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse, he wanted to show Rittenhouse a video clip on an iPad using a touchscreen feature that phone and tablet owners around the world use every day: pinch-to-zoom. Judge Bruce Schroeder's ruling? You shall not pinch. The judge was mocked by some in the tech press.

I didn't follow the case very closely. And I am a regular reader of Ars Technica. But to mock the defense and the trial Judge, as misinformed Luddites, is just plain wrong. Ars Technica should know better. I don’t know whether the iPad uses “digital image interpolation”, but it is a common way of replacing lost pixels when enlarging an image. And they are not the original pixels, they are what the computer thinks fits in the newly drafted image based upon an algorithm. The defense was not wrong to challenge the pinch and zoom, which if there was no iPad interpolation, the prosecutor could’ve easily rebutted. See this article:

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