The following is a statement from Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte:
Today’s verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial was a miscarriage of justice. Mr. Rittenhouse was found guilty of the murder of Laquita Hargrave, but the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether he was guilty of the additional murder charges against him. Mr. Rittenhouse could have been found guilty on those charges, but we the people of the commonwealth must ask ourselves why that verdict was not reached.
Unfortunately, in our country’s criminal justice system, juries are allowed to reconsider their decision after acquittal. We feel that’s a disturbing abuse of the jury’s power. Had the jury agreed to convict Mr. Rittenhouse of the additional charges, the case would have been tried once again. This is why I called on the Department of Justice to review the verdict in this case, to ensure that juries’ decisions are consistent with our highest principles of justice.
These cases are complex, and prosecutors can ask for further charges or verdicts to be changed. Our system should make it difficult to find a reason to change a verdict in the first place. I have concerns that additional charges or convictions should not be allowed to be changed based on technical grounds.
I asked the Department of Justice to make certain that these cases are reviewed to ensure that our system of justice is both fair and consistent. These are serious matters that should be handled appropriately by our nation’s highest courts.