NewsKyle Rittenhouse Trial


Comparing costs of high profile cases: How much Kenosha County taxpayers could pay for Rittenhouse trial

Kyle Rittenhouse
Derek Chauvin
Posted at 6:09 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 11:22:28-05

KENOSHA, Wis. — The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is now well into its third week and is likely to leave a hefty bill for taxpayers.

No costs have been released yet, however, if it follows other high profile cases, the bill could be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Derek Chauvin
In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, discusses motions before the court as defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, and Nelson's assistant Amy Voss, back, listen, Monday, April 12, 2021, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV, via AP, Pool)

The case has drawn attention from around the county, bringing media and protesters to southeast Wisconsin, but that attention comes with a cost. This is something David Hutchinson, the sheriff of Hennepin County in Minnesota, is very familiar with.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse listens as the attorneys and the judge talk about jury instructions at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

"Nonstop we had a perimeter around the justice center where our court proceedings were. We made sure the jurors were safe (and) the attorneys were safe,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is referring to the security at the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota Police Officer convicted of killing George Floyd.

“We transported the jurors from a secret location to the courthouse,” said Hutchinson.

Derek Chauvin

The Chauvin trial costed Hennepin County a total of $3.7 million dollars, according to the Star Tribune. Compare that to the George Zimmerman trial, the Florida man who claimed self defense after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, which costed Seminole County, Florida residents $902,000, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

file photo, George Zimmerman

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, file photo, George Zimmerman, acquitted in the high-profile killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, listens in court, in Sanford, Fla., during his hearing. The pistol former neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman used in the fatal shooting of Martin is going up for auction online. The auction begins Thursday, May 12, 2016, at 11 a.m. EDT and the bidding starts at $5,000. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)

In both of those trials, it was the county and not the city that bore the brunt of the costs.

"We don't want to use taxpayer money when we don't have to, but we are going to do whatever we need to do to keep people safe. We will figure that out in the end,” said Hutchinson.

When you break down the costs of both of those trials, security was the biggest cost.

Chauvin vs Zimmerman costs
Chauvin vs Zimmerman trial costs

Although the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office would not give specific numbers as to how much they are spending on security, Sheriff David Beth says they are prepared.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth

Kenosha County Sheriff, David Beth, brings cookies, coffee to hand out at courthouse.

"We have been working on this for a few months and there are all kinds of plans in place. We have plenty of resources on standby if we need them, but I am not hearing that we are going to need them,” said Beth.

Kenosha leaders did respond to TMJ4 requests for information on costs of the trial. They referred us to Kenosha County, saying they are responsible for the cost of security and the trial. We reached out to the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors for a number, but did not hear back.

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