Now THAT’S An Incompetent Judge!

Darrell Brooks, accused as the killer in the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre (yes, he did it), has been defiant and combative throughout his trial, in which he is serving as his own defense attorney. This time, he slammed his fist on the table and stared menacingly at Judge Jennifer Dorow. As Count Floyd (Joe Flaherty), the cheesy host of Monster Chiller Horror Theater in a recurring SCTV skit used to say, “Ooooh! Scary!” So the judge fled the courtroom.

“I need to take a break,” Judge Dorow said. “This man right now is having a staredown with me. It’s very disrespectful, he pounded his fist, frankly, it makes me scared and we’re taking a break.”

It made her “scared’! As the judge, she has all of the power, and the criminal defendant has none. Judges have faced evil glares from maniacs, murderers, cannibals, rapists and the worst dregs of humanity for centuries, but I’ve never heard of one being so tender and faint-hearted that she couldn’t take the metaphorical heat and had to hide.

Dorow’s weenie act is a straight-up breach of the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct. It says that “A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining and enforcing high standards of conduct and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be preserved.” It commands that judges “shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” It requires judges to “maintain professional competence” and “require order and decorum in proceedings.”

What a disgrace. Running from the scary man making faces at her denigrates the court system, judges, and women in authority. It also may prejudice the trial and give Brooks a basis for an appeal. Judge Dorow has made it clear that she doesn’t have the fortitude to do her job in this trial, and should recuse herself. I would recommend that a judicial panel seriously consider whether she should remain a judge at all.

14 thoughts on “Now THAT’S An Incompetent Judge!

  1. Jack wrote, “Judge Dorow has made it clear that she doesn’t have the fortitude to do her job in this trial, and should recuse herself.”

    I’ve thought the same thing for a while. The Judge has allowed this wackadoodle to make a public circus of the proceedings, this particular incident is just the proverbial straw.

  2. What a culture we’ve lionized. Victims are sacrosanct heroes, people should run away from (or even better, society should remove) anything that makes them nervous or scared, and if you’re a narcissistic jerk who needs to be the center of attention, then you be you and everyone else needs to be okay with you being true to yourself.

    • “Does she jump up on a table when she sees a mouse, too?”

      Yes, and also when certain cartoon characters unexpectedly appear on the small screen.

      Fourth wave feminism, coming full circle…Not good.

  3. My husband has been an attorney for 40 years now (most of them as a partner or solo practitioner at the same law firm), and he was amazed that a judge would confess to feeling scared in her own courtroom. Her Honor should probably not have felony murder cases on her docket!

    • Catherine McClarey wrote, “Her Honor should probably not have felony murder cases on her docket!”


      I think the Judge has set the foundation for what’s happening in the courtroom, and in my opinion, the public circus is out of control. What’s happening in the court room is setting up a successful appeal to over turn the trial and that can’t happen! Judge Dorow should see the writing on the wall and declare a mistrial, step down from her position, and allow another Judge to begin a completely new trial so the defendant gets a fair trial and the public gets a fair verdict that will stick.

  4. Not qualified to be a judge. Clearly, she is affected adversely by things judges must not allow to affect them.

    She should resign posthaste, ideally. Failing that, on motion from the defense, she should declare a mistrial and take herself off the case. As you point out, Jack, her statement creates a rebuttable presumption of bias.

  5. I remember a line from “The Screwtape Letters” where Screwtape says the devils have succeeded in making every vice look admirable in some way, except cowardice, which they were still working on promoting. I’d say now they finally succeeded.

  6. The Judge has created her own problem. She let this guy run the show and now she is paying the price. At the first sign of disrespect, she should have lowered the proverbial boom on his head, even if it meant hauling him off in shackles. Yet, that is his plan. He is making a mess of the record and, even if he is convicted, he will send the next 10 to 15 years filing stupid things. After all, he won’t have to work while in prison so he will be able to attend law school, get a law degree, probably pass the bar, and in some weird concept of social justice, he will get admitted to practice law and has a whole cadre of clients just waiting for that lawyer who knows how to deliver justice.

    Yeah, we’re toast.


    • The judge in the Rittenhouse trial seemed to do a decent job of reining in the attorneys from both sides; don’t know if he’d be in the same judicial circuit to be able to hear the Waukesha case after a mistrial with the original judge, though.

  7. It astounds me that any judge, whether in a criminal or a civil proceeding, would react in such a cowardly manner to a defendant’s behavior. As a career deputy sheriff, I worked a few stints as a court security officer and later as a supervisor, and all our court security officers were trained to begin moving immediately to control any defendant who was being disruptive, and our judges knew that as soon as they said the word, such defendants would be removed post-haste. Our criminal courtrooms in the last facility where I worked had adjacent secure spaces which were virtually soundproof but with audiovisual links to the courtroom where the removed defendants could monitor the proceedings as they continued in the courtroom without their physical presence. There were some judges I personally liked more than others, but I always admired that none I worked with brooked any foolishness in their courts.

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