Darrell Brooks trial: Jury selected, more disruptions from defendant
WAUKESHA, Wis. - The process to select a jury for the Darrell Brooks trial began again Tuesday morning, Oct. 4 in Waukesha County. The jury selection process was expected to resume at 8:45 a.m., but almost immediately, there were disruptions and delays from Brooks, picking up right where we left off on Monday. Brooks was again moved to a separate courtroom for the voir dire.
Brooks began interrupting Tuesday's proceedings before 9 a.m. "I lost count after six interruptions," Judge Jennifer Dorow said, stopping Brooks.
The defendant kept asking the judge to state her name on the record, asking, "Do you have a claim against me?" The judge told Brooks he could not continue these disruptions. She indicated after the next interruption, he would be removed from the courtroom.
Around 9 a.m., Judge Dorow stopped the proceedings after about a dozen interruptions, telling Brooks minutes before, "You haven't let me get in one sentence. It is only 8:57."
"You have flagrantly disregarded elementary standards of proper conduct. That conduct will not be tolerated," the judge said. "You stating things even in a mild-mannered tone of voice does not change the fact that we have had a dozen or more interruptions by you."
Judge Jennifer Dorow
Brooks was then placed in an adjacent courtroom; Tuesday starting much like Monday did.
Brooks trial: Day 2 Timeline
Below is a timeline of events from the second day of Brooks' trial, per court records and FOX6's observations in the courtroom:
8:21 a.m.: Brooks in main courtroom
Brooks refuses to state his name for the record; asks for Dorow's name
Brooks asks if Dorow "has a claim" against him
Dorow warns Brooks about interruptions
10 jurors were released
Brooks moved to adjourn; Dorow denied it
Dorow "lost count after six interruptions" in the first 12 minutes
8:44 a.m.: Recess to bring up prospective jurors
8:54 a.m.: Court resumes
Brooks asks for Dorow's name
Dorow says Brooks hasn't let her "get out one sentence"
9 a.m.: Brooks ordered to adjacent courtroom
9:07 a.m.: Brooks in adjacent courtroom
9:19 a.m.: Prospective jurors enter for voir dire
Brooks rips up jury chart he's given -- throws it in trash
9:38 a.m.: Voir dire begins
Brooks stands with a book in his hand
11:22 a.m.: Prospective jurors released for lunch
Brooks asked if he wants to return to main courtroom -- doesn't want to
Six jurors stricken
Brooks calls Tuesday's group of potential jurors more "alarming" than Monday's -- moves to strike them all -- Dorow denied it
11:33 a.m.: Court recesses for lunch
12:30 p.m.: Brooks in main courtroom
Dorow again admonishes Brooks regarding his repeated interruptions
12:39 p.m.: Potential jurors brought in
Brooks talks over proceedings
12:40 p.m.: Recess -- prospective jurors leave
12:41 p.m.: Brooks moved to adjacent courtroom
12:51 p.m.: Potential jurors re-enter, voir dire continues
1:06 p.m.: Prospective jurors dismissed so the court could address legal issues
Court grants state's request that list of potential witnesses be read to potential jurors
Brooks claims to have trouble hearing in the adjacent courtroom -- Dorow says it's the first time she's learning of hearing problems; gives Brooks a headset
Brooks says he won't call his mother, Dawn Woods
Brooks says he doesn't know anything about the accident reconstructionist his former attorneys planned to call
1:34 p.m.: Brooks says he doesn't want to go back to the main courtroom
1:37 p.m.: Recess, Brooks brought back into the courtroom
1:44 p.m.: Brooks present in main courtroom, judge lays out how rest of voir dire will take place
1:47 p.m.: Brooks says he doesn't understand the charges against him
1:51 p.m.: Brooks moved again to the adjacent courtroom
1:58 p.m.: Brooks' microphone turned off due to interruptions
2:14 p.m.: Prospective jurors re-enter for continued voir dire
Potential juror dismissed for cause
Brooks requests any juror with a sequestration concern be stricken; denied by the judge
3:05 p.m.: Brooks declines to come back into the main courtroom
3:10 p.m.: All remaining jurors enter
Judge reads witnesses submitted to the court to the prospective jurors
One juror is stricken for cause
Brooks again moves to strike the entire jury panel; denied by the judge
4:33 p.m.: First 36 potential jurors remaining enter
Brooks is not cooperative with peremptory strike process
Of the 10 peremptory strikes for each side, Brooks made two; otherwise, he crossed out the numbers of every potential juror on the page, and the clerk had to use a tumbler to make a random selection on his behalf for the other eight strikes
Brooks again declined to return to the main courtroom
After 6:30 p.m.: All 16 jurors selected for the panel are sworn in -- ordered to return Thursday morning for opening statements
Shortly after 9 a.m., when the cameras to the courtroom were allowed back on, the judge clearly explained why Brooks was placed in the other courtroom. Dorow indicated Brooks was muted in the proceedings, and she noted he appeared to be yelling in the secondary courtroom.
Judge Dorow proceeded with the jury selection process until around 11:20 a.m. when there was another break. At that point, the judge asked if Brooks wanted to come back into the main courtroom.
"I know he’s been seated for quite some time. He appears to be from my perspective diligently taking notes," Judge Dorow said. "So I would offer him, if he can abide by the rules of decorum and civility, he is welcome back to this courtroom."
Brooks said he did not want to come back, and prosecutors noted Brooks never asked to come back. He was present when the jury pool was brought back in after lunch. It took less than 10 minutes for him to cause a disruption, which happened as jurors entered. As soon as the jurors were seated, they were asked to leave, and Brooks was moved to the adjacent courtroom again.
At one point, Brooks said he wanted all potential jurors stricken. Heading into the afternoon, more than 20 prospective jurors had been stricken.
Judge Dorow asked Brooks shortly after 1:30 p.m. if he wanted to come back to the main courtroom, and Brooks refused. He later stated he had difficulty hearing in one ear, and Judge Dorow noted it was the first the court knew of any hearing problem. The judge issued him a headset to wear.
As the proceedings continued Tuesday afternoon, Brooks also informed the court that he does not plan to call Dawn Woods, his mother, as a witness. Woods was on the defense's original witness list.
Less than 10 minutes after he was brought back into the main courtroom, Brooks asked to return to the adjacent courtroom around 2 p.m. The judge also gave Brooks permission to retrieve his witness list from his cell, but Brooks refused.
"He is continuing with his disruptive behavior," said Judge Dorow during the exchange in which Brooks refused to go to his cell for the witness list. "It is his choice to do that."
Dorow again warned Brooks he would be removed from the courtroom if he continued with his disruptions.
"Remove me. Remove me," said Brooks.
"You’re requesting to go to the other courtroom?" asked Judge Dorow.
"Remove me," said Brooks. "I told you that before I even came over here. It was pointless for me to come over here. You can smile all you want."
"Sir, my preference is for you to be here," Dorow said as Brooks yelled. "You have yet to answer one question that I asked you."
Brooks, continuing to shout, was taken to the adjacent courtroom shortly before 2 p.m.
Around 3 p.m., the court was in recess, preparing to bring in all prospective jurors who had taken part in questioning Monday or Tuesday.
Brooks told the court he wished to call the State of Wisconsin to the stand. Dorow denied the request, telling Brooks he cannot call an entity to the stand; he must call a person.
"I don't identify as a person, either," said Brooks. "I'm a human being."
The judge also denied Brooks' earlier request to strike all potential jurors for cause.
Brooks also moved to dismiss the case again.
As of 5:30 p.m., Brooks declined to conduct his peremptory strikes of potential jurors. From a pool of 36, each side, state and defense, got 10 strikes, done in succession, to get the pool down to 16 jurors. The state marked one number off and then handed a clipboard to the bailiff to bring to Brooks in the adjacent courtroom. Instead of crossing off one number, he crossed off every potential juror -- in line with his request to strike all prospective jurors for cause.
This is not permitted during peremptory strikes, so instead, a provision in state statute allowed Clerk of Court Monica Paz to pick one name by lot from a tumbler with each of the 36 jurors' assigned numbers for the "defense pick."
The judge allowed Brooks the chance to strike a potential juror each time, and each time, he continued to cross off all of the numbers.
After declining his first eight peremptory strikes, Brooks did make his final two. Afterward, he said he still doesn’t "accept the jury," maintaining that the entire jury should be stricken for cause, despite not offering specific proof or statute to back it up. He accused the judge of bias toward him again. Dorow responded by saying the jury had been empaneled.
This process took nearly two hours.
The 16-member jury was selected after 6:30 p.m.; 10 men, six women, all white.
The jury was ordered to return at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for opening statements.
Now that the jury is selected, we can tell you they were asked more than 100 questions, including: Do you accept Brooks is innocent until proven guilty, do you have bias for or against Brooks because of his race and have you seen, heard or read any news coverage on the case.
On Wednesday, the court will handle final housekeeping issues before the start of the trial itself, including how objections will be handled, the plan for opening statements, logistics of where Brooks will be, etc.
Christmas parade attack
Prosecutors say Brooks drove a red SUV through the parade route on Nov. 21, 2021, killing six and injuring more than 60 others.
On Nov. 21, 2021, according to prosecutors, Brooks met up with his ex-girlfriend in Frame Park, the same woman he is accused of running over with his red SUV earlier in November 2021. She told police they argued in his SUV before he started driving, and he "was driving around with one hand and striking her in the face with his other hand." She eventually got out and called her friends for help.
Waukesha parade attack victims identified
Soon after that, according to prosecutors, Brooks drove that red SUV through the parade route, killing Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. More than 60 others were hurt.
Brooks was arrested the night of the attack, soon after telling a Waukesha resident that he was homeless and waiting for an Uber. The man was unaware of the events that had occurred and let Brooks into his home.
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Brooks entered an insanity plea in June after initially pleading not guilty to the charges in February, a move that could have resulted in him being sentenced to a mental institution rather than prison if convicted. He later dropped the insanity plea on Sept. 9.
Darrell Brooks faces 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment. Each homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence.