Local trial attorney says judge in Darrell Brooks case is 'walking a tightrope'

Testy exchanges between the judge and Darrell Brooks — the murder suspect acting as his own attorney in the Waukesha parade attack — have been the hallmark of the trial.

"I still don't have to answer!" Brooks shouted at Judge Jennifer Dorow during one exchange. "I still don't have to answer, whether I'm in this courtroom or not!"

At one point during the trial, prosecutors criticized Dorow for allowing Brooks to prolong the trial through erratic behavior, calling on her to control him more.


"She has every right in the world to cut him off," said Richard Kling, Kent College of Law Professor. "[But] He's got a Constitutional right to a trial and if she pulls him back too much, he's going to contend on appeal if he loses with 'my rights were violated,' 'I didn't have a right to cross-examine' — all of those things, and she has to protect against that."

Kling said allowing some of the behavior prevents Brooks from trying to reverse it by arguing that the judge violated his rights.

Kling referred to her job in this trial as "walking a tightrope." He also explains why holding Brooks in contempt doesn't accomplish a lot with the kind of sentence he's facing.

"The client knows he's controlling the situation to an extent. She's going to hold him in contempt? So what. She's going to give him more time in the murder if he gets convicted? That's not going to do anything," said Kling.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.