Darrell Brooks seeks change of lawyer for Milwaukee County domestic violence, witness intimidation cases

NOW: Darrell Brooks seeks change of lawyer for Milwaukee County domestic violence, witness intimidation cases

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The man charged in the 2021 Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy appeared in court Thursday, July 28 for separate cases he is connected to in Milwaukee County.

Darrell Brooks made two court appearances Thursday for a pair of cases where he faces multiple charges, including recklessly endangering safety, domestic violence and witness intimidation.

The first stems from an incident in July of 2020 where he is accused of firing a weapon during an argument with a relative.

The second incident happened in November of 2021 when Brooks allegedly ran over the mother of his child with a vehicle, just weeks before the Christmas Parade tragedy in Waukesha. He is also charged with intimidating the woman so she would not testify against him.

But before the cases move forward, Brooks wants to change lawyers.

"After months of talking to my family about it we all feel that probably a paid attorney would be the best way to go," Brooks told the court in his first appearance. "We've been frustrated and unhappy for some time with how the case has been handled."

Judges in both cases said they do not want to delay the proceedings any longer.

"I want you to feel comfortable with the lawyer or lawyers that are representing you but also, I don't want to just fall into this crack where nothing is happening on your cases for months and months at a time," Judge David Feiss told Brooks.

"These matters have been pending since November of 2021 and they need to move along," Judge Michelle Havas said in the second hearing.

Feiss will handle the case where Brooks is accused of firing a weapon during an argument with a relative, while Havas will oversee the domestic violence and witness intimidation case.

Feiss also mentioned how the delay in Brooks' cases is part of a larger issue within the criminal justice system.

"It's just a fact of life that what happened as a result of the pandemic is we keep stuffing more cases into the system but our ability to get cases out at the other end was severely cut down," Feiss said.

A status of counsel conference is set for Aug. 18 where judges will learn if Brooks has been able to attain a new lawyer.

Regardless, a pre-trial date for the Milwaukee County cases is set for Nov. 17, with the jury trials scheduled for Dec. 12. It will be determined later which of the trials will be heard first.

Brooks' Waukesha County jury trial for the Christmas Parade tragedy is scheduled for October.

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