Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wisc. Judge Touts Handling of Waukesha Killer in High-Stakes Bid for Supreme Court

'Judge Jennifer Dorow ensured justice was served...'

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mistakenly named Tim Walz as Wisconsin governor. Walz, also a Democrat, is governor of Minnesota.

(Headline USA) A conservative candidate in a pivotal race for Wisconsin Supreme Court is using video images of an SUV that drove through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing six people, in her first television ad of the race released Thursday.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow gained national attention for presiding over the trial of Darrell Brooks, whom a jury convicted of six homicide counts. Dorow sentenced Brooks to life in prison with no chance of release and launched her candidacy for Supreme Court two weeks later.

A key storyline to emerge from the case was the fact that Brooks had long benefited from loopholes in the justice system that allowed him to remain at large, despite a long history of violent crime and red flags concerning his mental health.

John Chisholm, the leftist district attorney overseeing the region, notoriously let Brooks walk free on $1,000 bail just weeks before the massacre even though the crime was for running over the mother of his child with an SUV.

Dorow is one of four candidates—and one of two conservatives—in the race for an open state Supreme Court seat that will determine whether the court remains under conservative control.

Both sides see the race as crucial because of the court’s role as the final word in battleground Wisconsin, where the Legislature is controlled by Republicans and the governor, radical leftist Tony Evers, recently signed a law permitting abortion up until the moment of birth.

Whoever wins the April 4 election will determine majority control for the next two years. That period includes the 2024 presidential election.

The state Supreme Court ruled against former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit he brought after the 2020 election in which Trump tried to challenge the outcome while pointing to substantial evidence of vote fraud in Milwaukee and at least four other major cities.

A Feb. 21 primary will narrow the Supreme Court race to the top two vote-getters.

The contours of the court race, which is nonpartisan in name only, are shaping up much like the midterm elections. Conservative candidates are rallying around criminal justice issues, experience and backing from law enforcement while leftists are focusing on abortion and talking about issues like redistricting.

In her first ad released last week, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz promised to the state’s extreme abortion laws.

The state Supreme Court is expected to eventually decide a pending legal challenge to Wisconsin’s 1849 law banning abortions, which went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. That would leave Evers’s new pro-infanticide policy as the governing law.

The other two candidates are former conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and liberal Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell. Neither of them has released television ads with the primary less than three weeks away.

None of the other three candidates immediately responded to emails seeking comment on the Dorow ad.

Dorow’s spot begins with a video of Brooks’s red SUV driving into the path of a marching band during the Waukesha parade in November 2021. Her ad does not show the vehicle hitting people, but she does include video that shows the response as people run and police respond.

“Judge Jennifer Dorow ensured justice was served,” the narrator says over images of Dorow in the courtroom, Brooks starting at her and of him shirtless during a court hearing.

Brooks was often disruptive during the trial, and Dorow’s handling of his behavior during the nationally broadcast trial won her praise and her office was flooded with gifts and congratulatory emails.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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