WAUKESHA – Darrell Brooks was removed from court several times and eventually placed into a separate courtroom entirely on the first day of jury selection in his trial.
Brooks is accused of driving an SUV through the Waukesha Christmas Parade route in November of 2021, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.
He’s facing more than 80 felonies related to the incident.
Last week, Judge Jennifer Dorow granted a motion filed by Brooks, dismissing his court-appointed attorneys. Brooks stated at that time that he wished to represent himself at trial.
That trial was supposed to begin with jury selection on Monday morning, but instead started with Brooks being removed from court and ordered back to his cell just seven minutes into the proceedings.
Brooks was brought back about 15 minutes later but he was kicked out several more times, with Judge Dorow declaring a recess six times before breaking for lunch at 12:30 p.m.
Less than four hours into jury selection we’ve had five recesses, Darrell Brooks has asked what jurisdiction this court has over him, DA wants Judge to review case law allowing for Brooks to be gagged in court and we still haven’t heard from a single potential juror. @620wtmj— Alex Crowe (@AlexCrowe38) October 3, 2022
Before sending him to a different courtroom entirely, Judge Dorow admonished Brooks for his behavior in court, calling it a “disruptive, recalcitrant diatribe.”
Brooks continued to object to the proceedings, saying that he wasn’t given adequate time to prepare. At one point he compared it to, “going into a gun fight with a butter-knife.”
Just before a recess was issued at 10:53 a.m., Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper asked Judge Dorow to consider referencing Illinois V. Allen, which set legal precedent for ordering a defendant gagged in the courtroom.
Judge Dorow came back from break and said that she considered Illinois V. Allen and did not want to use it just yet, but kept the option on the table. She also referenced other case law which she said would allow her to remove Brooks as his own attorney and re-assign him one for the remainder of the trial.
State asked Judge to review Supreme Court case Illinois V Allen, which would allow for Brooks to be gagged. Judge Dorrow says she will review it, dismisses Brooks’ motions and declares recess. 5th recess today. @620wtmj— Alex Crowe (@AlexCrowe38) October 3, 2022
All of this happened before Judge Dorow ordered a one-hour long break for lunch at 12:35 p.m.
Judge Dorrow breaking for lunch at 12:35 pm. Darrell Brooks was interviewing the jail administrator (she was put on the stand), saying he hasn’t been given adequate time to review discovery materials. Still haven’t heard from a single of the 300+ potential jurors. @620wtmj— Alex Crowe (@AlexCrowe38) October 3, 2022
Once the trial resumed, Brooks remained in the separate room with his microphone muted as potential jurors began being examined.
Judge Dorow previously said that more than 300 potential jurors would be brought in. The defense and prosecution need to agree on 16 jurors who can be seated before opening statements can begin.