Recently, I’ve found myself watching a lot of court proceedings on YouTube. I can’t seem to help myself. I grew up at a time when there were a lot of dramatized court shows on TV. Then came Court TV, which I never had time to watch. Nowadays, you don’t even need cable TV to see these things unfold, almost in real time. I never thought there’d be a day when I could watch actual court cases progress on my computer, or that I would one day have a “smart” TV that could “talk” to my computer and beam these proceedings into my bedroom, as is the case in our current home.
YouTube shows me videos based on things I tend to watch. Although I’m no fan of Fox News at all, Fox News does show court proceedings. So that’s how I came to see the bizarre case of Darrell Brooks. Mr. Brooks, if you don’t know, is responsible for the Waukesha Christmas Parade Attack, which occurred November 21, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. On October 26, 2022, Mr. Brooks was convicted of six counts of first degree intentional homicide and 70 other counts related to the crimes that occurred on that terrible day.
On what was supposed to be a happy, fun, festive day last year, an eight year old boy died, as well as five members of the “Dancing Grannies” group. Sixty-eight other people were wounded as Brooks drove a red SUV through the crowd, allegedly reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Two weeks prior to his disastrous actions at the Christmas parade, Brooks was released from jail on a $1000 bond. He had been in jail on a domestic violence charge, and prosecutors later admitted that the amount of his bond was “inappropriately low”.
I remember hearing something about Brooks last year, when the attack occurred. However, because I am in Germany, I don’t always pay attention to things that happen in the United States. Besides, in recent years, there’s been such a depressing overflow of violence from my homeland that I guess I kind of tune it out now. It seems like there have been so many cases of school shootings, violence at public events like marathons, church services, and concerts. Every day, there’s more news about someone’s life being senselessly snuffed out by a violent crime of some sort. So I guess I can see why Brooks’ heinous actions didn’t really reach my attention until now, when I stumbled across his court proceedings on YouTube. I also know that I passed the videos several times before I finally clicked on one. Below is the first video I watched:
I won’t lie. I love a good courtroom outburst, so that’s probably why I clicked. But after I clicked, I was hurtled down a massive rabbit hole. Darrell Brooks was facing very serious charges. And yet, he’s apparently such a narcissist that he felt qualified to defend himself in court. And folks, I gotta say, Darrell Brooks is no attorney. As I watched him try to use words he obviously doesn’t understand in an attempt to look educated, I couldn’t help but have great empathy for the endlessly patient and fair judge in this case, Jennifer Dorow. That woman is heroic on so many levels!
I noticed some of the comments on that first YouTube video. One person posted, “Judge’s smile at 3:13 says it all, sorry for everyone that had to deal with this psycho and hope the victims’ families get some peace.” Sure enough, at that mark, we can see Judge Dorow smile. Frankly, to me, she looks positively elated. I’m sure that smile comes from knowing that the case is about done, and she doesn’t have to tolerate the frustrations of dealing with Mr. Brooks anymore. Or maybe she’s just smiling at the jury, who have also patiently listened to and observed Brooks outrageously carrying on in the courtroom, when they could be at home, frosting their bushes.
I have read that a lot of people have been so impressed by this judge that they’ve sent her thank you letters, flowers, edible arrangements and other gifts, including wine. She even got a telegram from one of her many new fans. The gifts are currently being quarantined at the county clerk’s office, as it would not be appropriate for the judge to receive them while Darrell Brooks is waiting for his sentence, which is scheduled to be handed down on November 15th. In fact, according to the article I linked, “ethics rules for judges and state employees generally prohibit acceptance of most gifts.” But still, it’s really something that people were so impressed by this judge that they felt moved to send her thanks.
A few months ago, I got a little crush action going when I watched Judge Timothy Walmsley preside over the court case involving Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddy” Bryan in Georgia. He just seemed like such an even keeled person, and I was very impressed with his sensible approach.
I don’t have a crush on Judge Dorow, but I am very, very impressed with her. She somehow managed to maintain her composure as Darrell Brooks talked over her, interrupted her, snarled at her, and accused her of misconduct. I have to admit that it was rare for me to actually finish any of the videos I started watching of Brooks, because listening to him speak pissed me off so much. I’m not generally a brutal person, and I don’t condone violence, but there were some times when I sort of ached for someone to punch Brooks, hard, in the mouth. He really is infuriating.
I wasn’t going to watch any more of Brooks trying to play lawyer, but then he made disturbing comments about being forced to wear shackles that were shocking his ankles. I had never heard of that, so I wanted to know more. Judge Dorow made it very plain that the restraints Mr. Brooks wore in court were not shock devices, as she also explained that it’s not in the public’s interest to be able to see them, as that would potentially create security risks for the sheriff’s office. Brooks, of course, loudly and vehemently screamed at the judge that the shackles were shock devices. It’s complete bollocks, of course.
I’m not sure what’s up with the face mask. I don’t see anyone else wearing them in the courtroom, so I don’t know that they were required. Maybe he had to wear one because he was staying at the jail. Or maybe he saw wearing one as a form of power, since it hides some of his facial expressions. Either way, the mask makes me see Brooks as less human somehow, since it blocks his face and the non-verbal cues that come from one’s facial expressions.
The below video was probably the most frustrating for me to watch, since Darrell Brooks clearly doesn’t know anything about law. Listening to him is a waste of time, because his comments don’t go anywhere, and he constantly raises objections that are pointless, non-applicable, or just plain stupid. And yet, there’s Judge Dorow, gamely plugging along, overruling Mr. Brooks’ objections repeatedly, and never quite making it to her boiling point. I think if I had been the judge in this case, I would have blown my top many times.
I have never met Darrell Brooks. I don’t know anything about him, other than what I’ve seen in these videos. I know, having watched the videos, he’s not someone I would want to meet. I’m not a psychologist, but to me, it looks pretty certain that he’s some kind of sociopath or malignant narcissist. He doesn’t have any respect for the judge, or anyone else, whatsoever.
Below is a news piece about this case… and how so many onlookers had the same impressions I did about Judge Dorow. She really is a “freaking saint”. If you’re going to watch any of these videos, that’s the one to see, as it serves as a nice conglomerate of the outrageous behavior Judge Dorow has patiently tolerated from Darrell Brooks throughout these proceedings. Her composure and resolve to keep her cool are extremely commendable.
When I listen to Darrell Brooks speak and watch his facial expressions, I can’t help but realize that this is just a “civilized” version of what he must have been like in the free world. Imagine this man, enraged by something or someone, having the freedom to act in a physical way. Obviously, he’s capable, and that’s why he’s going to go to prison. Even with the face mask, we can see the rage in his eyes and furrowed brows, and hear the way he speaks to the judge. I’m sure the fact that she’s a woman is even more infuriating to Brooks, as it’s pretty obvious to me that he doesn’t respect women. And women who are powerful, like Judge Dorow, are especially likely to agitate him. I’m not especially big on prison, but some people really belong there. Darrell Brooks is obviously one of those people. He’s clearly very dangerous and has very poor control over his emotions and impulses. He’s belligerent and obstructive, and sadly, has just enough intelligence to be really infuriating. Like I said, I don’t condone violence, even in prison, but I suspect he’s going to repeatedly get the shit kicked out of him by other inmates. And he will probably really deserve it.
Anyway… much lauding and many kudos to Judge Dorow. She has clearly found her vocation in life. She deserves a vacation and a very happy holiday season for her good work. And while I don’t really want to see or hear Mr. Brooks speak again, I might tune in for his sentencing, as I watch Judge Dorow send his ass to prison for a much deserved terminal stay.