biographical data

Bruce Schroeder biography: 13 things about Wisconsin judge, Marquette University alum

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Bruce Edward Schroeder is a white man from Wisconsin, United States. He was the longest serving active judge in the state’s trial courts when he presided over the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, USA.

On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse shot Joseph D. Rosenbaum, Anthony M. Huber and Gaige Paul Grosskreutz in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rosenbaum and Huber died while Grosskreutz survived.

Schroeder and his wife Donna Schroeder have a daughter. Here are 13 more things about him:

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  1. In 1967, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, a private Jesuit research university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1970, he earned his Juris Doctor from the same university.
  2. In 1971, he joined the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney. 
  3. In 1972, he became a district attorney.
  4. From 1997 to 1983, he worked in private practice. 
  5. In 1983, 41st Wisconsin governor Anthony Earl appointed him to the court.
  6. In 1984, he was elected to a full six-year term.
  7. In 1987, he required AIDS tests for convicted prostitutes as a condition of their probation.
  8. He presided over the trial of Wisconsin man Mark Jensen, who was charged in the 1991 fatal anti-freeze poisoning of his wife Julie Jensen. The jury found Mark guilty of murder. On February 27, 2008, he sentenced Mark to life in prison with no chance of parole. Mark’s conviction was overturned by a federal judge on December 19, 2013 and reinstated by Kenosha Circuit Judge Chad Kierkman on September 1, 2017. Kierkman’s verdict was reversed by Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals, District II on September 1, 2017.
  9. Between August 2006 and November 2006, about 250 defendants requested to switch judges rather than face him.
  10. He was unopposed in the general election when he ran for re-election to the Kenosha County Circuit Court on April 1, 2008, on April 1, 2014 and on April 7, 2020.
  11. In 2018, he ordered public shaming as part of the supervision for a woman, then 28, convicted of felony retail shopping theft, requiring the woman to tell management about her criminal past before entering a store. The ruling was overturned in 2021.
  12. On February 11, 2021, he denied two requests by prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant and raise the bail of Rittenhouse. He was 75 years old when he presided Rittenhouse’s trial, which started in Kenosha on November 1, 2021. On November 11, 2021, as the court was preparing to take a lunch break, he said inside the courtroom, “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming, isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor.” After Rittenhouse was acquitted on November 19, 2021, he praised the jurors, saying he “couldn’t have asked for a better jury.”
  13. His term as a judge of the Kenosha County Circuit Court in Wisconsin will end in 2026.
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