Could Governor fire DA Chisholm over Brooks' bail?

Days before the Waukesha Christmas parade attack, Darrell Brooks was arrested and accused of trying to run over his child's mother. He was let go in Milwaukee County on $1,000 bail.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is facing tough questions regarding his office's handling of the case involving Brooks, and some are urging his ouster.

Former Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan said John Chisholm should resign. 

Calls for removal are already playing out in the race for governor; Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, who is running against Democrat Gov. Tony Evers in next year's race, pledged on Newsmax: "I would fire John Chisholm. Hands down, I would fire John Chisholm. The lawlessness and catch-and-release treatment for violent criminals with rap sheets a mile long has to stop."

Wisconsin allows for several ways to remove a district attorney:

  • Impeachment for corrupt conduct in office or for crimes and misdemeanors
  • Recall
  • Removal by the governor

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm

According to Wisconsin state law, "a district attorney may be removed by the governor, for cause," but it requires a formal complaint by a taxpayer of that jurisdiction. A complaint "may be made only upon written verified charges brought by a resident taxpayer of the governmental unit of which the person against whom the charges are filed is an officer."

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

There was a formal petition made against Chisholm while former Gov. Scott Walker's administration was in office, but that governor did not act.

"I don’t know if we’ve received any formal complaint. I don’t think so," Evers said.

Evers spoke in Milwaukee on Thursday, where he announced a $110 million investment of federal COVID-19 relief money for students and schools.

At the end of the press conference and questions on that investment, there was one question about Waukesha, which was hard to hear through the microphone.

"He should not have been out on bail. He has a violent past," Evers said. "We are working with the county’s district attorney to investigate what’s happening.

"I caution people just to jump to conclusions. But there is one conclusion that’s obvious, is that this gentleman was violent, and he should not have been in the place that he was."

Gov. Evers said he is looking forward to the conclusion of the district attorney's investigation into the bail set for Brooks – the man charged of homicide in the deadly Waukesha parade attacks.

Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers

FOX6 News tried to follow up if the governor planned to take action regarding Chisholm, but a staff member of the governor stopped the question before it could be asked and said the governor had to "head out." Following up outside, FOX6 asked the governor if he planned to fire Chisholm or ask him to resign. The governor's staff said Evers "doesn't have any time" and had to "get going."

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm

Chisholm defended himself on Thursday, placing blame for the Brooks' bail on an assistant district attorney (ADA). "You had a young ADA trying to do the very best she could under difficult circumstances, and she made a mistake."

In a press conference on Thursday, Chisholm was asked if he'd resign. He said quitting in the face of fire is not the right approach.  He said he's held accountable in every election.

Chisholm, a Democrat, ran unopposed his most recent elections and won 97% of the vote in both 2016 and 2020. Since 1969, only two men have held the post of Milwaukee County District Attorney.

Darrell Brooks' jail letters seek '1 last shot'

Two letters written by Darrell Brooks from behind bars offer insight into the mindset of the man who faces life in prison for killing six people and injuring more than 60 at the Waukesha Christmas parade.

Jackson Sparks funeral: Waukesha parade attack victim mourned

A memorial and funeral for Jackson Sparks, the boy killed in the Waukesha parade attack, was held Thursday at Brooklife Church in Mukwonago.