Judge Kicks Out Defendant in Parade Deaths on First Day

After interruptions, Darrell Brooks is warned he could lose his right to defend himself at trial
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 6:20 PM CDT
Judge Kicks Out Defendant in Parade Deaths on First Day
Darrell Brooks sits in a proceeding Monday before being removed from Waukesha County Circuit Court by the judge.   (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

The Wisconsin judge presiding over Darrell Brooks' homicide trial decided last week to let him represent himself, after cautioning that he'd find being his own attorney difficult against educated and experienced prosecutors. That could change, after the first day of the proceeding Monday didn't go well. Brooks, who faces first-degree homicide and dozens of other charges in the attack on last year's Waukesha Christmas parade, was removed from the courtroom after disrupting jury selection. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow had Brooks brought back at times, only to send him away again after another outburst, WITI reports.

The first recess occurred five minutes into the hearing, when Durow sent Brooks to another room to watch on video. Brooks told Durow he "doesn't recognize" the name "Darrell Brooks" and demanded prosecutors prove Darrell Brooks is a US citizen. He repeatedly interrupted the judge. Between 8:30am and noon, Durow stopped the hearing six times, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in addition to pauses for Brooks' removal. The judge, who said last week that Brooks has a personality disorder but is mentally competent, told the defendant she could change her mind about allowing him to represent himself at any time. When he's in the nearby room, Durow can use a mute button to silence him.

Six people were killed and more than 60 injured when an SUV was driven through the parade. Prosecutors have levied more than 70 felony criminal charges against Brooks, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of hit-and-run involving death, and two counts of bail jumping. The jury pool consists of 315 people for the trial, which is scheduled to run through Oct. 28. (More Darrell Brooks stories.)

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