WAUKESHA, Wis. — Despite her son signing a waiver of his right to an attorney, Dawn Woods, the mother of Darrell Brooks, asked the judge presiding over the case to not grant his request to represent himself.
What You Need To Know
- Darrell Brooks, the suspect in the attack on the Waukesha Christmas Parade, is asking to represent himself
- His attorneys have filed a motion to withdraw
- Brooks’ mother, Dawn Woods, is asking the court to not allow him to represent himself
- Woods claims Brooks is "becoming unstable"
Woods faxed an eight-page handwritten letter to Judge Jennifer Dorow after Tuesday’s initial hearing to determine whether Brooks’ request to represent himself would be granted. She said she was “deeply concerned about what happened in court.’”
In the letter, Woods said that as Brooks’ mother, she could tell he was “becoming unstable.”
“Even though he always says he’s okay, being his mother, I could tell. I don’t know if you’re a mom, but mom’s always know when something isn’t right,” she wrote.
She said she encouraged him to “pray and read the scriptures,” in hopes it would “settle his mind,” but said “I can see his mental health once again is taking over.”
In the letter, she said Brooks “doesn’t feel comfortable with his attornies [sic] way of how they want to present his case.”
Woods said she talks to her son every day, and said he should let his attorneys know he’s not comfortable, and “if possible, ask for different lawyers to represent him.”
But she said her son “wouldn’t listen to reason.”
“He is not stable mentally enough to fully understand the big mistake is making by wanting to represent himself,” Woods wrote. “He’s asking questions and saying he doesn’t understand. That alone should be enough to see he’s not capable of being his own attorney.”
In the letter, she urged Dorow to not allow Brooks to represent himself, and instead suggested he get new attorneys, or his attorneys change their approach to his case, saying they need to “let him have more say and input.” She also said they need to explain and communicate better to her son.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Dorow asked Brooks questions about his understanding of his charges, the nature of the case, and if he understood that by waiving his right to an attorney, he was losing years of valuable legal experience.
Dorow said she didn’t feel Brooks fully understood what was at stake, so she gave him until 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss it with his attorneys, Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees. If he still wanted to move forward with representing himself after that, Dorow said he could file a waiver of his right to an attorney.
Brooks filed that waiver just before the judge’s deadline. On the waiver, Brooks crossed out the word “understand” each time it was used, and replaced it with “I am informed.”
On the document, he also wrote, “I do not give up my right to assistance of counsel (will explain reason).”
He also asked for the judge to elaborate on a requirement listed on the waiver that stated he would “be required to follow all legal rules and procedures that an attorney would have to follow in court. It may be difficult for me to challenge evidence presented by the district attorney, even if my case goes to trial.”
He also asked for a notarized copy of Judge Dorow’s Oath of Office.
In an attached letter, attorneys Perri and Kees acknowledge that Brooks’ desire to represent himself and give up his constitutional right to have an attorney represent him, and his statement saying he does not give up his “right to an assistance of counsel,” appear to be inconsistent statements.
However, they cited case law from United States v. Banks, where a similar expression was made. In that case, Banks was “preoccupied with making his sovereign-citizen defense known to the court; he was not asking that replacement counsel be appointed.”
Brooks called himself a “sovereign citizen” multiple times during Tuesday’s hearing.
Perri and Kees went on to write, “we request that the Court grant the Motion to Withdraw.”
A hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The full trial is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 3.