Wisconsin parade crash case an issue in Supreme Court race

Nov 30, 2022, 7:58 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2022, 1:37 pm
FILE - Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow addresses Darrell Brooks during his trial...

FILE - Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow addresses Darrell Brooks during his trial in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Oct. 25, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis. Dorow, the judge who oversaw the trial of a man convicted of killing six people when he drove his SUV through a Christmas parade last year, says national exposure and encouragement she got for her handling of the case is not why she is running for a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court seat. But Dan Kelly, one of her challengers and a fellow conservative, said Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, that the case is the only reason Dorow got in the race. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

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

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The judge who oversaw the trial of a man convicted of killing six people when he drove his SUV through a Christmas parade last year says national exposure and encouragement she got for her handling of the case is not why she is running for a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court seat.

But Dan Kelly, one of her challengers and a fellow conservative, said Thursday that the case is the only reason Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow got in the race.

“I’m struggling to think of any other reason that she would believe she would be a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court,” Kelly said.

This marks the first time since Wisconsin Supreme Court races became highly partisan that more than one conservative is running. Dorow and Kelly are the two conservative candidates.

Two liberal candidates, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell, are also vying for the open seat. Voters will narrow the field to two candidate in the Feb. 21 primary with the winner elected April 4.

The winner will determine whether conservatives maintain their majority on the Supreme Court or liberals take control headed into the 2024 presidential election. The deeply partisan court has had the final say on upholding several Republican priorities for the past decade-plus, including heavily gerrymandered legislative maps and a law effectively ending collective bargaining rights for public workers.

Dorow was flooded with fan mail and gifts for how she dealt with the oftentimes unruly defendant, Darrell Brooks, who represented himself during the livestreamed trial. The jury convicted Brooks and Dorow sentenced him to life in prison without a chance for release.

Dorow, in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, said she had to weigh many factors when deciding whether to run, including whether she could mount a winnable campaign.

“No doubt the exposure helps with that,” she said in reference to the Brooks trial. “But I am not running for Supreme Court because of the Brooks case. I’m running because I believe I’m the best candidate to do the job.”

Still, she said the Brooks case gave voters “a unique opportunity to see me in action, and I think that is a snapshot in time of what I’m capable of doing and what I will do going forward.”

But Kelly, who has been in the race since September, said normally candidates for the court have a “track record of a scholastic and a serious approach to the law” that can be examined.

“She doesn’t have any of that,” Kelly said. “She has the Brooks trial. I don’t know of anything else she brings to the table other than the Brooks trial.”

Dorow, in an email to AP sent in response to Kelly’s comments, said, “I’ll gladly compare my background and credentials to any of the candidates, including Dan, who was never a trial judge and never a prosecutor.”

Democrats went even farther in criticizing Dorow, with state party executive director Devin Remiker accusing Dorow of trying to “capitalize on a tragedy.”

“We hope that throughout the campaign, she refrains from commenting any further about the Brooks trial so she does not put the outcome in jeopardy,” he said.

Dorow launched her run for Supreme Court on Wednesday, exactly two weeks after sentencing Brooks and nearly three months after Kelly got in. This is her first statewide race.

Both Dorow, 52, and Kelly, 58, were appointed to the bench by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. He appointed Dorow as a Waukesha County circuit judge in 2011 and Kelly to the state Supreme Court in 2016. Dorow won election unopposed twice in the GOP stronghold of Waukesha County, a Milwaukee suburb, while Kelly lost in the 2020 election in his run for a full 10-year term on the bench.

Dorow said her 11 years of judicial experience is a critical asset she would bring to the court, in addition to her past private practice experience as a criminal defense attorney and prosecutor. Kelly had not served as a judge before Walker appointed him to the Supreme Court. Both of the liberal candidates are judges.

Kelly argued that conservatives know what they’re getting with him given his years spent on the Supreme Court, but they don’t with Dorow.

“I don’t think they’re in a mood to gamble with who would the next Supreme Court justice is going to be,” Kelly said.

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

AP

A migrant from Michoacan, Mexico, uses the CBPOne app Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico. A...
Associated Press

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Hours before sunrise, migrants at one of Mexico’s largest shelters wake up and go online, hoping to secure an appointment to try to seek asylum in the U.S. The daily ritual resembles a race for concert tickets when online sales begin for a major act, as about 100 people glide their […]
1 day ago
FILE- Members of the Independent Higher Authority for Elections count the votes one day after the p...
Associated Press

Challenge for Tunisian democracy: Getting voters to show up

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia was once the Arab world’s hope for a new era of democracy. Now it’s in the midst of an election that’s more of an embarrassment than a model. Barely 11% of voters turned out in the first round of parliamentary elections last month, boycotted by opposition Islamists and ignored by […]
1 day ago
Extinction Rebellion activists and sympathisers block a busy road in The Hague, Netherlands, Saturd...
Associated Press

Climate activists block main road into The Hague

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Hundreds of climate activists blocked one of the main roads into The Hague on Saturday, defying attempts to prevent their protest that have sparked concerns about restrictions on the right to demonstrate in the Netherlands. The protesters, many waving colored flags with the symbol of environmental group Extinction Rebellion and […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Philippines probes labor abuses in Kuwait after new killing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government said Saturday it will take steps to assess and prevent abuses including rape and maltreatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait, after a housemaid was killed and dumped in a desert in the oil-rich emirate. The remains of Jullebee Ranara were flown home Friday night from Kuwait, where the […]
1 day ago
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni departs Algiers after a two day official visit in Algeria, Mo...
Associated Press

Italy’s premier visits Libya for talks on energy, migration

CAIRO (AP) — Italy’s prime minister visited Libya for talks Saturday with officials from the country’s west-based government focusing on energy and migration, top issues for Italy and the European Union. Libya is the third North African country Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited over the last two weeks as she seeks to secure new supplies […]
1 day ago
FILE  - A view of a Flybe flight departing from Manchester Airport, Manchester, England, Jan. 13, 2...
Associated Press

Flights canceled as UK airline Flybe sinks into bankruptcy

LONDON (AP) — Struggling U.K. regional airline Flybe collapsed for the second time in three years Saturday, putting jobs on the line and leaving passengers stranded. The airline initially slumped into bankruptcy in March 2020, shedding 2,400 jobs, as coronavirus restrictions decimated the travel industry. It relaunched in April last year, flying many of the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Wisconsin parade crash case an issue in Supreme Court race