Legal experts for man accused of killing 6 at Christmas parade representing himself

  • Darrell Brooks is accused of killing six people at a Wisconsin Christmas parade last year.
  • A referee had to call stoppages at least 11 times due to disruptions caused by Brooks.
  • Legal experts say Brooks – who is defending himself – may be trying to cause an injustice.

On the first day of jury selection in Darrell Brooks’ trial, the judge had to call for recess at least 11 times after a series of outbursts from the defendant – before kicking him out of the courtroom entirely.

During Monday’s hearings, Brooks interrupted the judge by saying he “doesn’t recognize” his name as “Darrell Brooks,” objected to the jury selection process and called himself a “sovereign citizen,” Fox 6 Milwaukee reported.

On Tuesday, Brooks continued his disruptions, which included failing to pay attention during proceedings and reading Bible verses via Zoom, after the judge became so frustrated with the frequent interruptions that he was sent to another courtroom to participate in jury selection while in silence.

Brooks is accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more on November 23, 2021, after driving into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He faces six counts of first-degree murder – each of which could carry a life sentence – and 71 other criminal charges, ranging from battery to 61 counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.

Brooks, who is defending himself, has caused a stir in court in the past. Last week, during hearings on his self-representation, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow was forced to suspend the ruling after Brooks repeatedly spoke over her.

“Can’t win with conventional evidence”

Susan Opper, the district attorney who was building a list of witnesses against Brooks, told the judge last week that “there will be no doubt in the mind of this jury what happened, who was driving, how these people were injured or killed.” . the Associated Press reported.

Legal experts told Insider that the mess may be Brooks’ attempt to be strategic — especially considering the evidence is stacked against him.

By challenging the court proceedings, Brooks could try to cause injustice or build an appellate case to demand a retrial of his case.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider that these types of outbursts are common among sovereign citizens, who claim to be outside the law’s jurisdiction.

Rahmani said the judge should ensure Brooks’ rights as a lawyer and as a defendant are respected in court, despite his frequent interruptions.

“The last thing you want to do is go through this whole process and have it overturned on appeal because you didn’t get Brooks’ due process rights,” Rahmani said.

Brooks’ lack of experience in court proceedings will likely make the trial longer and much more difficult for everyone involved, Rahmani added. Brooks has already shown that he lacks basic knowledge of courtroom rules, including those that prevent attorneys from directly addressing jurors.

Brooks’ mother, Dawn Woods, told Milwaukee station WDJT that she expected Brooks’ behavior, saying it was a result of his bipolar disorder and lack of access to medication. He had previously pleaded with Dorow not to allow Brooks to represent himself.

Woods warned that he may continue to break down in court, telling WDJT that he saw him in that state before “yelling, acting… throwing chairs.”

“I can see the storm coming,” Woods told WDJT.

Ed Bull, an attorney with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office in Iowa, told Insider that Brooks’ outbursts will make the prosecutor’s job more difficult as the possibility of a mistrial becomes more likely.

“Most people in the public don’t realize that as prosecutors, we’re responsible for making sure the defendant is treated fairly in the system,” Bull said. “And we want nothing more than a competent attorney on the other side…I think sometimes people are surprised when I say I really want the defendant to have a very good attorney.”

Thomas Grieve, a defense attorney from Waukesha, told Insider that he expected Brooks’ outbursts, noting that he probably feels he has “nothing to lose.”

“He can’t win on conventional evidence … So if you can’t beat the evidence, try to change the conversation, which is what he’s doing by talking about dominant citizenship,” Grieve said. “And he’s going to try to claim he didn’t get a fair trial at the end of the day.”

Grieve added, “Or he’s just doing it out of malice.”

The Insider reached out to the Wakeusha Sherriff’s Department in an attempt to reach Brooks for comment. Opper declined to comment to Insider.

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