Legal expert explains what the Brooks trial could look like now that he's representing himself

NOW: Legal expert explains what the Brooks trial could look like now that he’s representing himself


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After Darrell Brooks was allowed to represent himself in his upcoming trial, we connected with legal experts and trauma experts to get a sense of what the trial will look like, and how victims could be affected once it begins.

Now that the motion to represent himself has been granted, it's all but assured Brooks will speak directly with his alleged victims and their families when they take the stand to testify.

An expert on trauma recommends people prepare to be taken back to the moments at the parade.

And a legal expert says it will be a tall order for the judge to maintain the record.

Julius Kim, a legal expert and practicing attorney with Kim & LaVoy, said, "It usually doesn't go that well for the defendant, quite honestly."

Kim says a person representing themselves usually lacks the basic legal knowledge attorneys have honed through years of training. "It's a skill you have to develop. You have to know the rules, you have to understand some nuances in the courtroom."

Kim says theoretically Darrell Brooks will be held to the same standards as other a typical attorney, but adds Judge Dorow will likely make some accommodations when Brooks strays from procedure.

Kim doesn't think Brooks representing himself is a delay tactic, but a general distrust of the legal system. Kim said, "Maybe in the back of his mind he's thinking he'll go down in a ball of flames, anyway, so he wants to do it his own way."

But a significant consequence: Brooks has the right to question some of his alleged victims face-to-face when they take the stand.

Dimitri Topitzes is the co-founder and director of clinical services at the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. He said, "Be aware that this is a potentially significant trauma trigger."

And that could be traumatic for anyone directly or indirectly involved.

Topitzes urges people to prepare themselves for what they may feel if those moments are brought up. He said, "Time is quite relative. Just because it's been a year, someone might have just started to embark on that process."

Kim says the judge will have to rein in Brooks, if necessary, to ensure he doesn't intimidate any witnesses, and to ensure a fair trial. He said she'll be "Safeguarding Mr. Brooks' rights, and at the same time giving the state a fair trial. It's a delicate balance."

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