MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee County court administrator says she was not aware of a recording problem in a court commissioner’s hearing room until the FOX6 Investigators asked for a transcript.
Sixteen days before the Waukesha Christmas parade, Darrell Brooks was in court in Milwaukee County, accused of running over the mother of his child in his Ford Escape. Despite a pretrial risk assessment that said he was very high risk for committing a new crime, Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall set his bail at $1,000. When the FOX6 Investigators asked for a recording of the bail hearing, a court administrator told us, "There are no recordings" due to "technical issues."
Darrell Brooks initial appearance in Waukesha County court
That controversial bail hearing that allowed Brooks to go free just days before the Waukesha parade is among dozens for which recordings are not available.
The office that handles court reporting services blames either human error or a technical malfunction on the loss of recordings from Nov. 5, 7 and 8, but a spokesman for the Wisconsin Supreme Court says intake and bail hearings before court commissioners are not required to be recorded word-for-word.
While Milwaukee County does record them as a matter of routine, Supreme Court rules say it is optional.
Prosecutors say Brooks drove his SUV into the parade in Waukesha on Nov. 21. Witnesses said he was swerving and appeared to be intentionally trying to hit people. He was arrested minutes later as he stood on the porch of a nearby house asking the homeowner to help him call a ride. Police said he had fled the scene of a domestic disturbance when he turned into the parade, although officers were not pursuing him at the time. He’s been charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
In addition to the Milwaukee County case from Nov. 5 for which there is no record, Brooks is a defendant in another Milwaukee County case from 2020 in which he's charged with shooting at his nephew and another person.