Judge delays decision regarding Waukesha parade suspect's representation

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WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Waukesha County judge issued an ultimatum to the suspect in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack after failing to determine if he is capable of representing himself in his upcoming trial.

Darrell Brooks has until 9 a.m. on Wednesday to file a waiver of attorney form after the defense filed a motion to release attorneys Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees from the case. 

The form was not filed before the courthouse closed at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to online court records.

If the form is filed before the deadline, a new hearing will be scheduled on Wednesday.

If the form is not filed before the deadline, Perri and Kees will remain attorneys on the case.

"I'm going to give you time to consider this request. Talk with your attorneys more, because they still represent you. They have not been discharged in this case," Dorow said.

Brooks told the court that he wants to represent himself.

"I would like to waive that right to counsel," Brooks said. "I would like to represent myself pro per."

He told the court that he wants to establish that he is a sovereign citizen. 

Oxford Languages defines sovereign citizen as "a member of a political movement of people who oppose taxation, question the legitimacy of government, and believe that they are not subject to the law."

In order to grant the request, Dorow needs to find that Brooks is waiving his right to an attorney knowingly, intelligently, voluntarily and deliberately. 

Dorow tried questioning Brooks on his understanding of the charges against him, the penalties they carry, and the pros and cons of having attorney representation.

The defendant failed to say he understood almost anything about the case, instead he used phrases like "I'm aware."

"At this point, sir, I cannot grant the request, because I cannot make a finding that you understand what's going on, but that has been done because of the, frankly, the word game that you are employing with me," Dorow said.

The "word game" that ultimately ended Tuesday's hearing.

Brooks said he did not understand why the state of Wisconsin is the plaintiff in the case. Dorow told him the court could not answer that question.

Brooks refused to answer any questions going forward. 

"This is a legitimate case and I'm not going to make a mockery by you asking that question," Dorow said.

Brooks laughed during parts of questioning and rolled his eyes at the judge.

The defendant didn't elaborate on his reasoning for the request for new representation other than telling the court he did not have an understanding of all actions taken in past proceedings.

"I agree that they have worked tirelessly on a lot of the things in this case, and I credit them with that. I'm appreciative of that," Brooks said. "This was not just something that sprung up out of the blue, and I feel that as my attorneys, that it would be essentially their job to make me aware of things I do not understand."

Perri and Kees were not given an opportunity to respond to that statement.

"I think I will probably be better served representing myself," Brooks said.

If the request is granted, Dorow said the trial will continue under the same legal rules that apply to attorneys.

"Because you are not trained in the law, this will make it hard for you to challenge the evidence presented by the state and hard for you to present any evidence that you want to present," Dorow said.

Both the prosecutors and defense attorneys shared information about their experience in the courtroom.

"I don't understand where we're going with this," Brooks said.

Dorow responded, "I just want you to understand the resources that you're up against when you represent yourself."

"Doesn't make me flinch one bit," Brooks said.

The courthouse opens at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, giving Brooks one hour to file his form if he chooses.

Trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 3.

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