Judge Bruce Schroeder has been getting a lot of criticism for refusing to allow prosecutors to call those shot by Kyle Rittenhouse "victims" during the guilt phase of his trial. We believe that Schroeder made the right decision because prosecutors should never be allowed to call anyone a "victim" during the guilt phase of a criminal trial unless a court has already reached a verdict in support of such a label in a prior proceeding (ex: calling people "victims" that a defendant was previously convicted of victimizing). We believe this is necessary due to the prejudicial effect that the word "victim" has on the jury. We also support allowing the defense to call the alleged "victims" other things because it is necessary to level the playing field in an injustice system that so heavily favors the government that people are essentially guilty until proven innocent.
When a government official is allowed to call someone a "victim" before the jury has a chance to make up their minds it can give jurors the impression that some official determination has been made that the defendant is in fact guilty because the word "victim" implies guilt when in fact the government is merely alleging that someone is a "victim." That said, if the government is allowed to use the word "victim" at all they should only be allowed to use it in conjunction with the word "alleged" or words of similar meaning (ex: "the defendant killed the alleged victim in cold blood."). The phrase "alleged victim" sure doesn't have the same ring to it does it? Under such circumstances the government is better off simply referring to the alleged "victim" by name without using the word "alleged" at all (ex: "the defendant killed Mr. Rosenbaum in cold blood."). Remember that the average juror is typically not smart enough to get out of doing jury duty let alone truly understand the law beyond grasping basic concepts such as what "guilt" and "not guilty" mean. There are also few checks and balances in place to stop jurors from prioritizing their own personal feelings, political views, etc. over legal technicalities. That is especially true of jurors with average to below average IQs. It is bad enough that seeing someone in a defendant's chair makes too many jurors automatically think that they wouldn't be there if they didn't do something.
Judge Schroeder however has also banned use of the phrase "alleged victim" from the trial. We think that may go a little too far because we think the phrase "alleged victim" accurately describes the deceased in this case while at the same time acknowledging that their status as victims is merely alleged. Still we think that too is a step in the right direction because it further limits the state's arsenal. The fewer weapons the state has at their disposal the less likely the jury is to reach a biased result in the state's favor.
Schroeder has decided to allow the defense to call the alleged "victims" several things like "looters, rioters, or arsonists" which has drawn a lot of criticism from those that feel it stacks the deck in favor of the defense. The deck should always be stacked in favor of the defense because the state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The defense has no burden to meet and therefore should be allowed to call alleged "victims" whatever they wish without any proof. Despite that Judge Schroeder is requiring the defense to provide evidence that the alleged "victims" were involved in looting, rioting, or arson in order to call them looters, rioters, or arsonists. That is inappropriate. The defense should never be required to ask a court for permission before calling an alleged "victim" anything. If they want to dehumanize Joseph Rosenbaum by calling him stuff like child molester, sex offender, sexer, rapo, chomo, etc. they should not need the court's permission. Joseph Rosenbaum was a convicted sex offender whose prior offense was a sex crime against a minor (https://copblaster.com/blast/25931/so-called-kenosha-victim-joseph-rosenbaum-was-a-sex-offender).
The defense should also be allowed to argue that as a minor Rittenhouse had every reason to fear getting raped by Rosenbaum even if they can't provide proof that he had any way of knowing that Rosenbaum was a chomo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chomo). Likewise they should be allowed to argue that Rittenhouse did society a favor by killing a chomo and the jury should reward him with a verdict of not guilty with regards to Rosenbaum by reason of putting in good work. The state of course should be allowed to point out that the law does not permit the systematic killing of chomos, but ultimately the jury should be allowed to decide for themselves if nullification is warranted with regards to Rosenbaum due to his chomo status.
In the case of the other alleged "victims" the defense should be free to call them anything as long as the state has the opportunity to argue that the defense might be applying inaccurate labels. Defense lawyers already have incentives against making false accusations against alleged "victims" because if they are shown to be inaccurate it hurts their credibility and ultimately their client's case. Lawyers also have conflicts of interest which can prevent them from zealously representing their client by presenting false information or causing witnesses emotional distress out of fear that they could be charged or face disciplinary action from the bar. Such conflicts are typically enough to motivate defense lawyers not to apply labels to alleged "victims" that might be disproven.
We think that groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa should support Schroeder's decisions because they are more likely to benefit people of color down the road. Everyone knows that people of color are disproportionately persecuted by the injustice system, so they should benefit more than others from legal precedents that prevent prosecutors from labeling people as "victims" before the arguments are presented. Likewise people of color should benefit from being able to apply whatever label they wish to those supporting the government's cases. For instance, if a black man is being prosecuted by racist government officials he should be able to call them racist in front of the jury even if he doesn't have proof of them actually being racist beyond his own personal opinion.