Anastasia Katz, American Renaissance, October 14, 2022
When day six of the trial began, Darrell Brooks stated, as he has many times before, that he is “a third party and does not identify as Darrell Brooks.” Judge Jennifer Dorow stated for the record that he is Darrell Brooks, and that he has never provided any other name. The judge said, “I am going to continue referring to you as Mr. Brooks . . . . It’s not a disrespectful thing; it’s out of respect for these proceedings.”
The judge told Mr. Brooks that a document he had given her had no basis in law, and she cited the statute that explains how motions are filed. He told her that he had filed other documents with her before, and she had not rejected them. Apparently, the judge gave him some leeway at first, since he is representing himself, but she can’t keep that up for the whole trial.
The first witness was Laura Thein, who marched in the parade with the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. She said there were nine women in the group, who met once a week to practice routines. They performed at about 27 parades every year. “We were a sisterhood,” she said.
At the Christmas parade, Mrs. Thein was the last dancer in the formation. The music vehicle was right behind her, so she heard nothing strange, but she suddenly saw a streak of red go by her. She realized it was a red car and screamed, “What is he doing?! Where’s he going?!”
She added, “He was going to be hurting a lot of people. He wasn’t going slow; he was going at a good clip.”
Mrs. Thein saw bodies on the ground. “I thought I was in a war, because there were so many.” She said two of the Grannies died instantly. She went to each, to see if she could help. Spectators also ran into the road, trying to help. Some brought blankets to keep the victims warm. Only four members of the Dancing Grannies were not hurt. “We were all that was left standing,” Mrs. Thein said.
The witness had to watch video evidence she had not seen before. This was hard for her and she reacted with horror.
Mr. Brooks asked during cross examination how she knew some of the women had died instantly, when she hadn’t seen the vehicle hit them. Mrs. Thein told him she could see the police using defibrillators without success. “They had the heart machine on Ginny. Blood was pouring out of her mouth and I knew she was gone. There was no doubt about it.”
Mr. Brooks asked, “Did you see anything in the videos today that you didn’t see at the time of the incident?”
Mrs. Thein replied, “Yeah, the people being hit and flying!”
Then Mr. Brooks returned to the bizarre questions he had been asking every witness. He asked, “Are you aware what a plaintiff is?”
The state objected and the judge sustained, but Mr. Brooks kept pushing, insisting that the jury has the right to know who the plaintiff is. Judge Dorow said she would end questioning if he did not move on. He persisted, so the judge dismissed the witness and asked the jury to leave the courtroom.
Judge Dorow told Mr. Brooks to stop constantly saying “grounds,” asking her to explain her rulings. She firmly told him she is not obligated to explain rulings, and that if he thinks she is making an error, he can bring it up on appeal. She told him many of his objections are baseless, such as his frequent hearsay objections when the testimony is not hearsay. Then she told him that she has a duty to fulfill Statute 90611, which says the judge must:
- Make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth.
- Avoid needless consumption of time.
- Protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
She advised him that he is violating that statute.
Mr. Brooks then accused Judge Dorow of “judicial misconduct” because she “is not allowing the jury who deserves to hear certain aspects of testimony.”
He complained he has the right to face his accuser, and “the plaintiff has yet to show their face.”
Mr. Brooks pointed out that Mrs. Thein testified that some of the Dancing Grannies were not injured; he asked the judge to dismiss the charges associated with those women. (They are reckless endangerment charges.)
There was a break, but Mr. Brooks got even weirder when things resumed. He asked the judge, “Do you have the full judicial power of the state, or is this military power?”
The judge was taken aback and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you’re asking me, sir.”
Then Mr. Brooks began a long rant. The judge stayed silent and let him speak uninterrupted for 50 minutes. Here are some of the things he brought up:
- He asked for an affidavit that the judge has no bias, no conflict of interest, and no interest in the outcome of the case.
- He claimed that bias has been shown because he hadn’t been getting copies of documents he requested.
- He claimed he asked for a certified copy of the judge’s oath of office and said she would not give it to him.
- He said he never got the criminal complaint against him. (He has a few boxes of discovery documents at the defendant’s table that he has admitted he didn’t have time to go through.)
- He said he “still doesn’t understand the nature and cause of the charges.”
- He said, “I move for this case to be dismissed for failure to appear by the plaintiff.”
- He said the prosecutors haven’t proven they are licensed to practice law in Wisconsin.
- He said the judge should recuse herself because she is violating the Constitution.
- He said, “I have the right to face my accuser. Where’s the injured party?” and “There is no injured party in this matter.”
- He complained that he only had three days to prepare for the trial.
- He said that when he doesn’t understand, his questions are taken as disrespect, and he is then “shut down.”
- He said his right to a speedy trial was denied.
- He said the venue should have been changed because everyone in Waukesha County knows about the case.
- He said his face was used in many political ads.
- He said the judge stated that she had once worked with the father of someone who was injured (although he thinks there is no injured party).
- He said court documents put his name in all capital letters, and that is not his name, and he won’t consent to being called that name.
- He accused the judge of treason for not upholding her oath of office.
- He said he has a right to “assistance of counsel” and he should have been awarded standby counsel.
- He said he can’t always “access the law liberry” (sic) in jail.
- He said he has been getting hate mail from people in the city of Waukesha.
- He said “insensitive and nasty things” are said about him in Court TV’s comments sections, and in Facebook groups.
- He complained that people have accused him of “terrorism” and called what he did an “attack,” and that’s “unfair” and “insensitive.”
- He said his children are being bullied.
When he finally stopped, Judge Dorow gave the state a chance to respond. DA Susan Opper cited precedent showing that “incomprehensible jargon and cut-and-paste legal mumbo jumbo, sovereign citizen theories are frivolous and wholly without merit.”
Mr. Brooks tried to interrupt DA Opper, but she continued:
Your Honor, the record is very clear that Mr. Brooks knowingly, willingly, voluntarily, intelligently, insisted on representing himself in this trial. He has no constitutional right to standby counsel, none whatsoever. The court patiently . . . advised him of many of the things he’s complaining about today . . . and his words to this court were, ‘It don’t make me flinch one bit.’ That’s what he told this court two weeks ago.
DA Opper said the accusation of “treason” was offensive, and Mr. Brooks had more than three days to prepare for the trial. She said he effectively used the notes the public defender gave him. “He is not going into this blind . . . . They did all the homework, and then he is simply sitting here, reading their notes, reading their cross-examination questions . . . and then going on to his ridiculous questions having to do with his belief in the sovereign citizen movement.”
She said Mr. Brooks contradicted himself, first asking for more time to prepare and then demanding a speedy trial. She said he has a tablet and computer in the jail. DA Opper concluded: “He has an agenda here. It’s to stall, delay, disrupt, intimidate, and it’s not going to work!”
Mr. Brooks said, “That’s a load of crap,” and then called DA Opper “disrespectful.”
Judge Dorow decided that everything Mr. Brooks said in his rant has already been addressed. Regarding his change of venue requests, she stressed that measures were taken to find an impartial jury. There was an unusually large panel to select from and the jurors filled in a questionnaire about exposure to political advertisements. Mr. Brooks had the opportunity to strike jurors for cause.
The judge said his complaints have no basis in law. He does not understand that the right to free speech is not unfettered in a court of law. She said his military question was frivolous, as were his many repeated questions about subject matter jurisdiction.
The judge said he never made a written motion to dismiss the case, nor did he make a proper oral request. She said her familiarity with the father of a victim has been dealt with, and there is a time limit that has passed to object. She urged him to accept her rulings and move forward, which is proper decorum.
She then decided to continue with witnesses.
Hope Evans-Jansen was the first witness after the rant. She attended the parade with her family. Her 10-year-old daughter recorded the whole parade on an iPhone as she sat on her father’s lap. Her video captured the Dancing Grannies being run over, and they gave the video to the police. Mrs. Evans-Jansen winced as she watched it.
Mr. Brooks asked her if she heard a car horn, and she said she did not, although she was close enough to have heard one. (He has asked all the witnesses if they heard a car horn. He is apparently trying to make a case that he was trying to warn them to get out of the way.)
Michael Smith with the Wisconsin State Patrol testified that according to his analysis, Mr. Brooks had been driving an average of 32 miles per hour through the parade route.
Two different medical examiners testified, Dr. Amy Sheil and Dr. Lynda Biedrzycki. Each performed three autopsies. The doctors explained that the six deaths were all from multiple blunt force trauma consistent with being hit by a 3,300-pound vehicle. Dr. Amy Sheil cried on the stand as she described the fatal injuries to 8-year-old Jackson Sparks. The impact had separated his skull from his spine, and the bruises to his brain had been so severe that surgeons tried to save him by removing a portion of his skull to relieve pressure from brain swelling.
Mr. Brooks asked if any of the deceased had a natural disease. Dr. Beidrzycki told him that a woman had a benign tumor and a man had heart disease and a pacemaker, which was functioning properly when he was brought to the hospital. Deputy DA Lesli Boese had the doctor clarify on redirect that natural illness did not cause the death of any of the victims.
Later in the afternoon, Pastor Matthew Widder with Catholic Community of Waukesha testified about watching the parade and visiting many wounded congregants in the hospital afterwards. About 50 people marched with the Catholic group, and although Mr. Brooks did not kill any of them, the group had the largest number injured. Many are still not healed from their injuries nearly a year later.
Court resumes today.