×

Teen charged in Kenosha shootings fights extradition

Matt Muchowski, Vance Wyatt and Donald Blake hold signs with the names of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber outside the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Ill. during Kyle Rittenhouse's second extradition hearing Friday morning, Sept. 25, 2020. Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting Rosenbaum and Huber and injuring another during a protest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. The 17-year-old on Friday fought his return to Wisconsin to face homicide charges that could put him in prison for life.(Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — The 17-year-old charged in the shooting deaths of two protesters in Wisconsin is fighting his extradition from Illinois, but his attorneys didn’t outline their strategy during a brief hearing on Friday and legal experts say there isn’t much the teen can do to stop it.

Kyle Rittenhouse surrendered to police in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, a day after prosecutors say he shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third on the streets of Kenosha on Aug. 25. If convicted of one of the most serious charges he faces, he would be sentenced to life in prison.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys have said he acted in self-defense and have portrayed him as a courageous patriot who was exercising his right to bear arms during a night of unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black. And his arrest has become a rallying point for some on right, with a legal defense fund that has attracted millions in donations. But others see Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist whose presence with a rifle incited the protesters.

Rittenhouse appeared via video for a hearing in a Lake County, Illinois, court on Friday, where his attorney asked for more time to prepare his arguments against extradition, without detailing what they would be. Rittenhouse, wearing a face mask, said only “Good morning, your honor” during a hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.

One of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, John Pierce, made clear that he is opposing Rittenhouse’s return to Wisconsin to face the charges. Pierce asked for a month to prepare arguments challenging extradition that he said involve “issues of some complexity, frankly that have not arisen in the country for some time.”

Judge Paul Novak gave the defense 14 days to review papers and file pleadings ahead of an Oct. 9 hearing — the second such delay that has been granted to Rittenhouse. Whatever the judge rules can be appealed.

Mike Nerheim, the Lake County state’s attorney, said after the hearing that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker had signed a warrant to return Rittenhouse to Wisconsin after a request from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a fellow Democrat. Pierce asked for a chance to review the warrant, which Nerheim said he had received Friday morning.

Nerheim said in his 20 years as an attorney, he’s never seen anyone fight extradition after the governor signed a warrant for it. Nerheim said he didn’t know on what basis Rittenhouse would challenge extradition.

“We’re ready to proceed,” he said.

Extradition cases are rarely fought, but when they are the defendant has to do it through a habeas corpus proceeding, said Cecelia Klingele, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. That means Rittenhouse would have to argue that he is being illegally detained, she said.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
   

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today