Waukesha parade attack defendant Darrell Brooks has a history of being kicked out of court dating back to even before he fired his attorneys, but ever since he represented himself in his murder case, he has engaged in near constant back and forth with Judge Jennifer Dorow. On Wednesday, he was perhaps as strident as he’s been since jurors were first seated.
“Are you telling me to be quiet or are you asking me?” Brooks asked the judge at the top of a tense exchange.
“I’m asking you and advising you,” Dorow responded.
“Thank you for correcting that. Don’t nobody tell me what to do,” Brooks answered. “I don’t tell nobody else what to do. We’re all adults in here,” he said, talking over the judge. “I’ve never told you to do anything here at all.”
“Sir, I’d appreciate it if your tone of voice would change,” Dorow said.
“I would appreciate it if you would ask me. I’m a grown man with grown kids,” said Brooks, who is 40. “Ain’t nobody gonna talk to me like that. Nobody. I don’t have a problem with doing what you asked me to do. Not tell me. Just like when I asked you about subject matter jurisdiction that you have yet to prove on the record. But somehow I’m being intentionally disruptive — Come on, man. Stop. Just stop it.”
“Jury is coming out,” Dorow told the court.
“All rise for the jury,” a bailiff said.
“Not going to work,” Brooks said.
Brooks is charged as the driver who plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 21, 2021. Prosecutors say he was fleeing after abusing and harassing his ex-girlfriend Erika Patterson. He had a duty to stop after he struck the first of his many injured victims, but instead he kept going, even accelerating. Six people were killed: Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Leanna “Lee” Owen, 71, Virginia Sorenson, 79, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Brooks did not deliver an opening statement yet, waiting instead for the end of the state’s case. He also said he will not testify. Nonetheless, he is a self-professed “sovereign” and suggested the “state of Wisconsin” cannot bring charges against him in the first place because the state is not a flesh and blood person.
So-called sovereign citizens assert that the government holds no true, legal sway over them because they are the “sovereign.”
For example, Brooks has constantly challenged the case on grounds of “subject matter jurisdiction.” But subject matter jurisdiction is a question of whether a particular court has the power to hear a particular case or controversy. That is not an issue in this case. Here, Brooks is being tried in the proper venue before a Wisconsin circuit court judge in Waukesha County. Subject matter jurisdiction would be an issue if, for example, a plaintiff filed a trademark case in a local probate court. Trademark cases belong in federal court. Probate courts handle decedents’ estates.
Brooks has also objected to being called his name even by witnesses during testimony. Generally, sovereign citizens believe that their names on government documents, written in all capital letters, is in reference not to them, but a “corporate shell.”
“You don’t know what I’m trying to do,” Brooks said on Wednesday, denying that he’s trying to delay court.
“I’m not going to argue with you,” Dorow said.
“Then don’t,” he said. “Because I’m not arguing with you either. I’m stating facts.”
“You’re raising your voice, and—” the judge said, before Brooks talked over her.
“I’m tried of you always making a record — you’re making a record of me, trying to [make me] look bad,” the defendant insisted.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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