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Why Is the Waukesha Judge Being Lenient Toward the Parade Attacker?

Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool

Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow has been dealt an interesting case with the Darrell Brooks trial. At nearly every turn, Brooks has disrupted, filibustered, and been combative with Dorow regarding her rulings or court proceedings.

Brooks' outbursts have sometimes occurred in the presence of the jury, forcing Dorow to make them leave the room so she can admonish Brooks for his behavior. To ensure she gets Brooks' cooperation, Dorow has had to threaten Brooks with being removed from the courtroom and participating in the trial next door via a video camera where she has the ability to mute him if he continues acting out. Brooks has been kicked out of the courtroom twice since the official start of the trial, once on the very first day and once this week.

This case is unique because Brooks' guilt is not in doubt due to the scale of the attack, the number of witnesses, and the video and photo evidence. The fact Brooks is representing himself and doesn't identify by the name "Darrell Brooks" adds to the rarity of the trial.

Despite the threats from Dorow, Brooks has had verbal spats with her on a daily basis. At one point, Brooks ranted for almost an hour, complaining about everything from his First Amendment rights supposedly being violated to how his trial should've been moved to another county. This has left some viewers of the trial asking why Dorow isn't being more forceful in shutting down Brooks' antics.

While we can't say with 100 percent certainty what Dorow's reasoning is for being lenient toward Brooks' behavior, the leading theory is Dorow is allowing Brooks to dig himself into a deeper hole. Brooks continues to question witnesses about mundane things that are irrelevant to the trial. He frequently makes a fool of himself in front of the jury, despite Dorow's attempts to keep it out of their view.

All of this is to say that it appears Dorow is allowing much of it to play out to ensure Brooks can't say he was not given a chance to represent himself should he be found guilty and try to appeal the verdict. Even with being removed from the actual courtroom, he can still participate in the proceedings. It seems that every opportunity is being given to get Brooks' actions on the record, to lay out how, in the face of all that leniency, he still refused to cooperate throughout much of the trial.

As they say with trials, it's not over until it's over, so it remains to be seen how Brooks will act after the prosecution rests its case.


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