Judge rules Waukesha Christmas parade suspect can represent himself at trial

NOW: Judge rules Waukesha Christmas parade suspect can represent himself at trial


Updated: 2:49 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2022

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Waukesha Christmas Parade suspect will represent himself going forward.

Judge Jennifer Dorow granted a motion to allow attorneys Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees to withdraw from the case on Wednesday.

"He is voluntarily and freely waiving the right to be represented by counsel and is making a deliberate choice to proceed without counsel," Dorow said.

The ruling was made after two days of questioning Brooks to judge his competency and ability to defend himself.

Brooks will be responsible for everything an attorney would do, including jury selection, opening and closing statements, examining witnesses and presenting evidence, among other things.

The court warns this can be difficult for someone without legal education and experience to do.

"I don't see them as challenges," Brooks said. 

Dorow said it is not impossible for Brooks to change his mind and request attorney representation down the line, although it would be a challenge.

"Once waived, the sixth amendment to counsel is no longer absolute," Dorow said.

The judge made it clear trial would not be delayed.

Trial begins with jury selection on Monday. 

This is a developing story. Stick with CBS 58 for updates on-air and online.

Published: 8:40 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2022

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The suspect in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack filed a waiver of attorney form on Wednesday, according to online court records.

Judge Jennifer Dorow gave Darrell Brooks the blank form during a motion hearing on Tuesday afternoon, with a deadline to sign and file it by 9 a.m. the following day if he wished to waive his right to attorney.

The court is expected to schedule a hearing on Wednesday to continue conversation on a motion filed by the defense to release attorneys Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees from the case.

Brooks verbally told the court he wants to waive his right to an attorney and represent himself.

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

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.

Dorow is expected to rule on the motion at the next hearing.

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

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