Defendant in Christmas parade attack represents himself and is already causing a scene


WAKESHA, Wisconsin — Six people were killed last year after ramming an SUV into a crowd at a Christmas parade, police say represent yourself in courtexperts say, the move could delay nearly every step in the process and cause chaos in court for victims who are still grieving.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 40, 76 crime counts, Includes six counts of first degree intentional murder. The Tragedy of the Waukesha Christmas Parade November 2021.

Jury selection began Monday after near-constant interruptions from Brooks, who has no legal training.Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorough repeatedly ejected Brooks from court And warned him that if the hiatus continued, he would appoint a lawyer on his behalf to keep the trial on track.

“If your intent is to interfere with these proceedings…or to mock this Court, I will not tolerate it,” Drew told Brooks during a series of interruptions.

Darrell Brooks reads the Bible during jury selection on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Darrell Brooks reads the Bible during jury selection on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Brooks’ agent request and his decision weeks ago withdraw his insanity defense It raised questions about Brooks’ strategy and whether he intended to delay the trial.

“It’s going to be a really tough trial for the witnesses,” said Tom Grieve, Madison’s criminal defense attorney. “We have a defendant who feels he has nothing to lose.

Things to know: Trial begins in Waukesha Christmas parade attack that killed six

About Darrell Brooks: Suspect has been charged with the crime 10 times since 1999

Brooks could lead to delays on his own behalf

Proceedings have already been delayed by Brooks’ many outbursts. At a hearing in August, He fell asleep on the defensive table, woke up and rioted and quarreled with the bailiffs. At the hearing last week, he repeatedly interrupted his Dorow talk. Dorow got very frustrated and put it off until the next day.

Darrell Brooks looks up during jury elections on Monday, October 3, 2022. Appears via video from an adjacent courtroom for continuously obstructing Judge Jennifer Dorough in Waukesha County Circuit Court during jury selection in Waukesha.

Darrell Brooks looks up during jury elections on Monday, October 3, 2022. Appears via video from an adjacent courtroom for continuously obstructing Judge Jennifer Dorough in Waukesha County Circuit Court during jury selection in Waukesha.

According to Phil Turner, a Chicago-based defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, if Brooks gets out of hand and the cross-examination breaks down, Dorough could simply end the interrogation. It would give Brooks a basis for appeal, he said, “but there will be an appeal no matter what.”

There is no indication of how long it will take for Brooks to argue his defense. I got

Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper previously said she expected prosecutors to take five to seven days to file the case.

A defendant representing himself would not be unprecedented and would have certain legal implications, said Waukesha attorney Anthony Cotton, who was not involved in the case.Brooks was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Defending yourself and turning the trial into a chaotic circus might be a decent strategy, as it is almost certain that you will be.

Judges generally disdain having a non-lawyer represent themselves in a trial. Cotton argued that Judge Drew had scrutinized Brooks’ request to find that Brooks was competent and that the request was not merely an attempt to delay the trial or force a false trial when it began. I was hoping for confirmation.

However, denying defendants the right to represent themselves can also backfire.

In a high-profile case in Waukesha in 2006, a judge denied Sean M. Young’s claim that he was tried without an attorney. The attorney was Cotton. The judge allowed Young to proceed with Cotton as backup defense counsel, but later decided that this approach was not working and denied Young’s request for active participation and his own closing argument.

Young, who eventually stopped communicating with Cotton during the trial, was found guilty.Subsequent Court of Appeal gave young a new challenge He had been falsely denied his constitutional right to represent himself.

Former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Butcher warned that the trial would be painful for victims and other witnesses who would have to interact with Brooks during cross-examination.

“He’s playing games and I think he enjoys it,” Butcher said. “…it will be terrifying for victims and witnesses.”

Darrell Brooks was sued by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy in an adjacent courtroom after being continuously suspended in Waukesha County Circuit Court during jury selection on Monday, October 3, 2022.

Darrell Brooks was sued by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Deputy in an adjacent courtroom after being continuously suspended in Waukesha County Circuit Court during jury selection on Monday, October 3, 2022.

The judge in the Brooks case rejected many of his demands

In addition to the long list of accusations to defend, Brooks Recent decisions by Dorow.

Brooks was originally charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide on November 23, 2021. But soon after, dozens more charges were added. Most notably, 61 incidents of recklessly endangering safety by tying dangerous weapons to injured people along the route of the parade.

Since the criminal complaint was amended in January, in litigation in various courts, Brooks and his attorneys have sought: To suppress statements made to investigators after the incident. dismiss the case completely Due to a prison search they claimed had violated the privileges of his attorney and client.and proficiency test to support his special plea Not guilty on grounds of mental illness or deficiency.

Dorow denied most of these key points in another decision. The sealed reports of his three doctors who examined Brooks for psychic abilities may have contributed to his decision to withdraw his defense of insanity.

Contributed by Associated Press

Contact Jim Riccioli on Twitter. @Jarichori.

This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Darrell Brooks represents himself at the Waukesha Christmas Parade trial