AP

Judge delays ruling on parade suspect’s self-representation

Sep 27, 2022, 2:33 AM | Updated: 2:49 pm

FILE - Darrell Brooks Jr. appears in Waukesha County Court on Aug. 25, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis. Broo...

FILE - Darrell Brooks Jr. appears in Waukesha County Court on Aug. 25, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis. Brooks is accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he drove an SUV through a suburban Christmas parade. A Wisconsin judge deferred a decision Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, on whether Brooks can represent himself at trial, after the suspect said he doesn't understand the charges against him or how the state can prosecute him. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

(Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge deferred a decision Tuesday on whether a man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he allegedly drove his SUV through a Christmas parade can represent himself at trial, after the suspect said he doesn’t understand the charges against him or how the state can prosecute him.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow gave Darrell Brooks until Wednesday morning to decide whether he still wants to represent himself. If he does, she promised to schedule another hearing later in the day.

Brooks’ trial is set to begin Monday. It’s unclear if Dorow would delay the proceedings if Brooks is allowed to represent himself. District Attorney Susan Opper filed a brief Monday urging her not to push the trial back, arguing that the trial date was set back in March and that a delay would inconvenience the hundreds of witnesses she might call and extend the parade victims’ emotional turmoil.

Prosecutors say Brooks drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21. He faces 77 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment. Any potential motive remains unclear.

Brooks, 40, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but withdrew that plea earlier this month. His attorneys, Anna Kees and Jeremy Perri, last week filed a motion to withdraw from the case because Brooks wants to represent himself.

Brooks told Dorow that he wants to represent himself because Kees and Perri haven’t explained the “nature and cause” of the charges. He did not explain what that meant.

Dorow asked Brooks if he understood what he was doing, if he understood the seriousness of the charges and if he understood that he could face life in prison if he’s convicted on the homicide counts. She also asked if he understood if he waived his right to an attorney he would be on his own against a prosecutorial team with a combined 66 years of courtroom experience.

“Doesn’t make me flinch a bit,” Brooks said.

But he also told Dorow he didn’t understand the charges, the penalties or how legal documents are captioned, and that he didn’t know Opper represents the state, even though she has been at all of his previous court appearances and identified herself as the district attorney.

He finally refused to continue until the judge explained to him how the state has the legal power to prosecute him when the state wasn’t injured.

An exasperated Dorow warned Brooks not to play games with her.

“Sir, this is a legitimate case,” she said. “I’m not going to make a mockery (of it) by letting you ask this question.”

She finally called a recess. When court reconvened she gave Brooks a packet of documents outlining trial administration.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at...

Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker and Jake Offenhartz, The Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Trump tried to illegally influence the 2016 election by preventing damaging stories about himself from becoming public, a prosecutor said.

2 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump and his lawyer Todd Blanche appear at Manhattan criminal in Ne...

Associated Press

Police to review security outside courthouse hosting Trump trial after man sets himself on fire

Crews rushed away a person after fire was extinguished outside where jury selection was taking place in the Donald Trump criminal trial.

5 days ago

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn-in before the House Committee on Hom...

the MyNorthwest Staff with wire reports

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate dismissed impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as Republicans pushed to remove him.

7 days ago

idaho gender-affirming care...

Associated Press

Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

The Supreme Court is allowing Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth while lawsuits over the law proceed.

8 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

8 days ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

9 days ago

Judge delays ruling on parade suspect’s self-representation