Parade attacker Darrell Brooks' competency could be grounds for appeal: expert

Waukesha Christmas parade attacker Darrell Brooks represented himself during his trial in fall of 2022. As of Jan. 6, Brooks has an attorney for a potential appeal.

FOX6 News had a telephone conversation with Attorney Michael Covey, based in Madison, on Monday, Jan. 9. He said he had not yet met with his client and declined an interview.

Days after he was sentenced to life in prison in late November, Brooks filed a handwritten notice of his intent to seek post-conviction relief, writing that "there are clear issues of the law and legal facts" in his case. He asked for representation from the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office for an appeal.  Brooks represented himself during his trial.

Darrell Brooks

"What are the grounds for an appeal in this case?" asked FOX6's Bret Lemoine. 

"The one thing that kind of stands out in my mind might be the notion of whether Darrell Brooks was competent – not to stand trial -- but competent to represent himself," said Julius Kim, defense attorney. 

Kim provided legal analysis for FOX6 during Brooks’ month-long trial.  A jury found Brooks guilty of killing six people and hurting dozens of others when he drove through Waukesha’s Christmas parade in November 2021.

"There aren’t a lot of attorneys in the state of Wisconsin that are qualified to take on these types of cases for appeal," said Kim. 

On Friday, Covey was appointed by the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office to represent Brooks during the appeal. He has been a criminal defense attorney for nearly two decades.

Darrell Brooks

"How does a private criminal defense attorney get appointed to a case like this?" asked FOX6's Bret Lemoine. 

"That’s a great question," said Kim. "There are lots of private criminal defense attorneys who take on cases through the public defender’s office – like a subcontract."

Kim said Covey will be paid at a lower, public defender rate.

Court documents show the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office requested all transcripts for Covey to review.  Kim said that process alone could take months.

Darrell Brooks

"There is a very expansive record in this case," said Kim. "There was a lot of talking, to be honest with you. There was a lot of stuff being recorded and that you have to go through carefully."

Brooks has an April restitution hearing scheduled in Waukesha County. He'll be back in Waukesha County courtrooms if he does appeal.

Brooks is being held at the Dodge County Correctional Institution in Waupun. 

Brooks was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of extended supervision after a jury convicted him on all 76 charges tied to the parade attack. Officially, Brooks was sentenced to serve six consecutive life sentences plus 766 years and three months in prison.