One-on-one with Waukesha County Chief Judge Jennifer Dorow
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After sentencing Darrell Brooks to life in prison without parole, Judge Jennifer Dorow has become a household name.
As the chief judge of Waukesha County considers a run for state Supreme Court, she sat down with our Michele Fiore to talk life on and off the bench.
Judge Dorow says she starts each day in prayer, reading the Bible and expressing gratitude.
"Who knows what the future has in store for me, but I'm just really grateful for where I'm at right now," said Waukesha County Chief Judge Jennifer Dorow.
Judge Dorow talked both work and play.
"I have to see and hear some pretty horrific things, right?" said Dorow.
"Like anyone, we watch Stranger Things and I love the series The Crown," Dorow said.
She detaches with crime shows like NCIS.
"I might throw things at the TV saying, 'that's not right, you can't say that,'" said Dorow.
Dorow allowed us into her home to see the personal side of the judge who sentenced Brooks to life in prison without parole -- including kids and dogs.
It's a busy life balancing kids ages 12, 18 and 19, their activities and her work schedule.
"Chick-fil-A is our friend. Thank God they have salads and things you can eat on the go that aren't horrible," said Dorow.
Time in the car, allowing time to pass on advice she got from her own role model.
"She's my hero, yeah," said Dorow. That's Jennifer with her grandma who got divorced in a time that was unheard of, then worked to put her brothers through law school.
"She always encouraged me to just shoot for the stars and never to be held back. I mean I tell my daughter all the time, you can be whatever you want to be. Find what you love to do and pursue it," said Dorow.
Republican Governor Scott Walker appointed Dorow to the bench in 2011 -- a position that continues to be male-dominated.
"I think being a mom is really helpful to the job of being a judge. Certainly patience and you know, dealing with whatever may come my way," said Dorow.
With Brooks' repeated outbursts, Judge Dorow's now known for her patience. Messages continue to fill Facebook fan pages, with one common question.
We asked, "Question about the glasses. Everybody wants to know -- where are the glasses from?"
"So little secret, I don't actually need the glasses to see far, but I do need them for reading and the computer, and so I have good glasses because the lenses really matter with all that computer light and overhead light. And so, my eye doctor at the eye group, these are I think Lilly Pulitzer, and so there ya go," said Dorow.
Those glasses, a useful tool when Dorow is finally able to read her fan mail once all litigation in the case is over.
"I wanted to make sure that I only do that at the right time," said Dorow.
Dorow can't comment on the Waukesha trial right now, but she did talk about Brooks being released on a low bail from Milwaukee County days before the Christmas parade attack.
"People even in victim impact statements were mentioning the fact that had there been a stronger bail, he would not have had the opportunity to be at the Christmas parade that fateful day," said Dorow.
"So, I don't want to touch upon, right, anything specific with Mr. Brooks or the case because of a pending nature, but what I can say is this. Our bail laws in Wisconsin go back to 1980 and it was amended in both our constitution and in our statute in a way that does not allow judges to consider community protection when setting bail, and that's a flaw in our system that needs to change," Dorow said.
Dorow admits she's had aspirations for the Supreme Court, but says timing was never right. The Wisconsin Republican Party's been fielding calls, pressing them to recruit Judge Dorow for the spring primary.
"I think I owe it though, to the citizens of Wisconsin, to really think about this seriously and then make a decision on what I want to do. It certainly would be a tremendous honor," said Dorow.
The filing deadline for the spring primary is Jan. 3.
Watch the full interview below: