'It makes me scared': Judge in Darrell Brooks' trial says she is disturbed by his outbursts
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN: In the trial of a man accused of ramming his automobile through a Wisconsin parade, the judge acknowledged that she was "scared" by the defendant's outbursts of crying, stripping, napping, and even staring her down. At several points during Darrell Brooks' trial on October 21, he was pulled out to virtually participate from a different courtroom and yelled that the court had "no integrity" after the jury was dismissed for the day.
Brooks is accused of ramming an SUV into the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21, 2021, killing six and injuring several. Although he decided to represent himself in his trial, the judge, Jennifer Dorow, has said she has been disturbed by his frequent interruptions, outbursts, and unpredictable conduct. "This man right now is having a stare-down with me. It's very disrespectful. He pounded his fist. Frankly, it makes me scared," she said, according to USAToday.
In addition to often muttering under his breath about how unfair the trial was, Brooks has occasionally refused to recognize his own name. He has also objected to nearly every question the prosecution has asked of the witnesses, typically to no effect. He put a laminated "objection" sign into the waistline of his orange prison garb at one point when the judge silenced his microphone so she could go uninterrupted with reading his 77 accusations.
Brooks frequently mentioned the amount of "suffering" the parade event caused, including his own, as he urged the jury earlier this week to keep in mind that there are always two sides to every story. He adamantly maintained that nothing that occurred during the attack on the parade in November was planned, and emotionally lamented the derogatory terms he had been referred to by in the media since his detention, such as "monster" and "devil."
Judge Dorow admitted that she had given him excerpts from a legal book on opening statements, as it "would be helpful to provide to Mr Brooks as he puts together his opening statement." His comments must be "based on the law and facts you believe is properly admissible," she continued.
Brooks earlier pleaded for the case to be dismissed on insanity grounds but withdrew the request at the beginning of last month without giving a reason. He started interrputing the judge barely a minute into the hearing. Shortly after, he got into an argument with her over his choice to dress in prison clothes during the hearing, and was dismissed from the courtroom.
Dorow has consistently refused to yield; after escorting Brooks to a different courtroom, she gave an explanation of why she wouldn't - despite his attempts to make a "mockery" of the proceedings.
"It's very clear to this court that everything that he has done as outlined by the state and as made evident the court of this proceeding that it is the sole intent of Mr Brooks to make mockery of this process," she said, as Brooks could be seen on a video feed with his shirtless back to the camera.
"It's important for the justice system to go forward with this proceeding. We are at the stage where we are at with Mr Brooks muted in another courtroom because of his defiant actions, no one else," she added.
The problems raised in court this week were not the first ones in this trial. In an appearance on August 26, Brooks repeatedly dozed off before ranting at Dorow, according to DailyMail. In another instance, Brooks informed Dorow that he preferred to be in his cell and didn't want to be there.
Milwaukee resident Brooks was arrested after being apprehended close to the attack's location on November 21. His victims' ages varied from 8 to 81, and more than 60 other individuals were hurt. At least 18 of them were children.
If found guilty of the most serious allegations, Brooks, who was out on bail from a domestic violence charge at the time of the incident, could spend the rest of his life in prison. He has a long criminal history that began with his initial arrest in 1999 for aggravated violence and carrying a concealed weapon.