Experts in criminal justice enforcement say that attempts to reform criminal bail and release violent offenders, such as Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. on the streets at minimal or no cost are putting communities at risk.
Police in cities including Milwaukee, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are facing understaffing and low morale — in part due to such policies, according to Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant and spokesperson for the National Police Association.
She said, “These very liberal prosecutors want to talk about Restorative Justice. What that means is that we put the public at risk by giving these people too many chances to reoffend.” It’s extremely frustrating for law enforcement and dangerous for communities.
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She pointed to Milwaukee prosecutors’ decision earlier this month to request just $1,000 bail for Darrell Brooks Jr., who had a violent criminal history stretching back to 1999 and an active warrant for jumping bail on a sex crime charge in Nevada.
Brantner Smith acknowledged that high bail for minor and nonviolent offenses is unfair, but Brooks’ history is extreme: multiple firearms and battery convictions, strangulation, sex offenses and drug charges on a 50-page rap sheet that spans three states.
He allegedly drove through innocent crowds of people at a Waukesha Christmas Parade, injuring many others and killing six. According to the criminal complaint, one of his arresting officers saw him without emotion.
“When we arrest somebody, especially for a violent crime, and they’re out almost immediately and then they re-offend — that wears on the absolute soul of police officers,” Brantner Smith said.
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Progressive district attorneys from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, places Brantner Smith singled out, did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment on the Waukesha case, bail reform and the intersection of the two. A half-dozen additional prosecutors did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
John Chisholm (left-wing DA in Milwaukee) announced Tuesday that his department was conducting an internal investigation into Brooks’ bail recommendation earlier this month. The assistant district attorney on the case requested a $1,000 sum despite Brooks’ staggering criminal past and an outstanding warrant in Nevada for bail jumping. The court approved it.
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“The state’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” Chisholm’s office said in a statement announcing the investigation. “The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime.”
Earlier this year, another judge had to release Brooks for just $500 due to court scheduling backlogs that would have violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial, Chisholm’s office said Monday.
Chisholm’s counterpart in nearby Waukesha took a different approach in her bail request against Brooks Tuesday, making good on her pledge to seek something so high he would have no chance of paying it.
She sought and received $5 million bail on five charges of first-degree intentional homicide, Wisconsin’s equivalent of first-degree murder. A conviction on each count would mean that the felon will be sentenced to five life terms. The death of a second victim is being investigated. This time it was a young child who was admitted to the hospital after two days.
The five victims of Sunday’s shooting were identified by police as Virginia Sorenson (79), LeAnna Owen (71), Tamara Durand (52) and Jane Kulich (52) respectively. Wilhelm Hospel was 81.
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Mike Padden is a Minnesota-based defense lawyer who practices also in Wisconsin. He called Brooks’s release just three weeks earlier “pitiful.”
He should never have been released [earlier this month]Because of the Nevada warrant, even though there was no Nevada warrant, bail should have been adequate,” he stated. “This could very easily be classified under attempted murder.”
In that case, Brooks allegedly punched a woman in the face, stole her cellphone and ran her over with the same SUV he’s accused of plowing through dozens of people at the parade Sunday evening.
He said, “This is such a egregious thing that someone should lose their job because of it.” “That’s how bad this is.”
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Perhaps the prosecutors have begun to pay attention.
San Francisco’s DA Chesa Boudin, whose parents were both sent to prison for felony murder and who declined to comment for this story, announced felony charges against nine people Tuesday evening in connection with a retail shoplifting ring.
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Boudin is facing a recall election over his own record as a prosecutor — which includes disputes over his progressive policies and criticism after a parolee allegedly used a stolen car to mow down two women on a San Francisco street on New Year’s Eve.