Judge Storms Out of Courtroom
(UnitedVoice.com) – On November 21, 2021, the residents of Waukesha, Wisconsin, were hosting their annual Christmas parade when tragedy struck. A man driving an SUV plowed into the event, killing six and injuring 62. Police arrested Darrell E. Brooks for the accident and later charged him with almost 80 charges, including six counts of homicide.
Brooks pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. In 2022, he withdrew the insanity plea before his scheduled trial. Recently, he went to court to ask the judge to allow him to represent himself. At a recent hearing on the issue, the judge grew visibly frustrated.
Judge Walks Out
At a Tuesday, September 27, hearing, Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow tried to determine Brooks’ capacity to represent himself. He’d requested it, claiming he is a “sovereign citizen.” She asked the defendant questions, but he repeatedly stated he didn’t understand “the nature and cause for the charges,” local ABC 12 reported.
Dorow gave the defendant copies of filings his attorneys had submitted, telling him he would need the important documents to understand the nature of the proceedings against him. She added she couldn’t rule on whether he could defend himself because he didn’t seem to understand what the prosecutors had charged him with nor the trial procedure. Brooks tried to interrupt the judge, but she wouldn’t allow it. Dorow said she would not debate his status as a “sovereign citizen” with him.
After reading Brooks the riot act and handing his attorneys the paperwork she’d discussed, Dorow dismissed the defendant and walked out of the courtroom.
What Is a Sovereign Citizen?
The defendant has claimed he is part of the sovereign citizen movement. People who belong to the movement essentially believe they are not subject to laws and regulations imposed by the state or federal government.
Sovereign citizens have committed a number of violent crimes over the years. In 2010, police officers stopped a white minivan in West Memphis, Arkansas, with Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son, Joe. The father and son, known sovereign citizens, jumped out of their vehicle and opened fire on the officers, killing them. Members of the movement also took over a wildlife refuge in 2016, leading to one acolyte’s death.
The day after the contentious hearing, the judge granted the 40-year-old the right to defend himself. Brooks tried to interrupt again, and Dorow told him if he does that during the trial, she would admonish him in front of the jury.
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