Home Audio Transcription Parade suspect bail hearing: Audio recording transcript failure

Parade suspect bail hearing: Audio recording transcript failure

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WISN 12 has learned there was never a court transcript recorded when Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks recently appeared in Milwaukee County Court.The amount of money Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, paid to get out of jail days before the parade is now at the center of multiple investigations. Even the Milwaukee County District Attorney was baffled at the low bail amount imposed — just $1,000 on two felony and three misdemeanor charges.Brooks was charged Nov. 5 and appeared in court virtually.Court officials said there was never a record created of that bail hearing because of a failure of audio recording equipment.Brooks paid the cash bail and was released from jail days before police said he intentionally drove his SUV through the Waukesha parade crowd.Six people were killed and another 62 were injured.Brooks now faces six life sentences if he’s convicted.Critics said he should have never been released from jail before his trial on the earlier case.In the Nov. 5 hearing, a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney requested a court commissioner impose $1,000 cash bail.Brooks was accused of running over the mother of his child with the same SUV police said was used in the Waukesha parade crimes.Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall approved it even though Brooks was at the time in violation of his bail conditions for a 2020 case.He was accused then of opening fire on a family member.A court transcript of the bail hearing was never created.Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary E. Triggiano told WISN 12 it was the result of “human error” or a “technical malfunction.”The glitch was only discovered by the courts weeks later when reporters asked for a copy of the word-for-word account of what took place.”I think this event has horrified everyone,” Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland said Wednesday.That’s why he demanded a public hearing Thursday with District Attorney John Chisholm in the hot seat.”It’s clear the system did not work so we need to understand why,” Rolland told WISN 12. “We need to understand how often this breakdown took place. We need to understand why there is no digital record of Mr. Brooks’ court proceeding. We need to know what changes can be made to restore people’s trust.”The only synopsis of the bail hearing was a brief clerk note posted online.It listed Brooks as being indigent and at a level 5, needing the highest level of supervision.State law does not require a court reporter at initial appearances, which is why they do not monitor their recording equipment in real time.”The families impacted by this event deserve a thorough investigation,” Rolland said.The court administrator told WISN 12 the audio recording mishap happens “infrequently.”Hearings from two other days were also not recorded by the court.Triggiano told WISN 12 from here on out, they will be making sure their equipment is functioning at all times.Chisholm’s office said prosecutors rarely request court transcripts from initial appearances.Online court records list a digital recording was created but it’s known now that that is inaccurate.Brooks’ case was assigned at that initial appearance to Judge Michelle Ackerman Havas.He was scheduled to appear again Dec. 20.Brooks remains in custody at the Waukesha County Jail on $5 million cash bail.

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WISN 12 has learned there was never a court transcript recorded when Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks recently appeared in Milwaukee County Court.

The amount of money Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, paid to get out of jail days before the parade is now at the center of multiple investigations.

Even the Milwaukee County District Attorney was baffled at the low bail amount imposed — just $1,000 on two felony and three misdemeanor charges.

Brooks was charged Nov. 5 and appeared in court virtually.

Court officials said there was never a record created of that bail hearing because of a failure of audio recording equipment.

Brooks paid the cash bail and was released from jail days before police said he intentionally drove his SUV through the Waukesha parade crowd.

Six people were killed and another 62 were injured.

Brooks now faces six life sentences if he’s convicted.

Critics said he should have never been released from jail before his trial on the earlier case.

In the Nov. 5 hearing, a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney requested a court commissioner impose $1,000 cash bail.

Brooks was accused of running over the mother of his child with the same SUV police said was used in the Waukesha parade crimes.

Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall approved it even though Brooks was at the time in violation of his bail conditions for a 2020 case.

He was accused then of opening fire on a family member.

A court transcript of the bail hearing was never created.

Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary E. Triggiano told WISN 12 it was the result of “human error” or a “technical malfunction.”

The glitch was only discovered by the courts weeks later when reporters asked for a copy of the word-for-word account of what took place.

“I think this event has horrified everyone,” Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland said Wednesday.

That’s why he demanded a public hearing Thursday with District Attorney John Chisholm in the hot seat.

“It’s clear the system did not work so we need to understand why,” Rolland told WISN 12. “We need to understand how often this breakdown took place. We need to understand why there is no digital record of Mr. Brooks’ court proceeding. We need to know what changes can be made to restore people’s trust.”

The only synopsis of the bail hearing was a brief clerk note posted online.

It listed Brooks as being indigent and at a level 5, needing the highest level of supervision.

State law does not require a court reporter at initial appearances, which is why they do not monitor their recording equipment in real time.

“The families impacted by this event deserve a thorough investigation,” Rolland said.

The court administrator told WISN 12 the audio recording mishap happens “infrequently.”

Hearings from two other days were also not recorded by the court.

Triggiano told WISN 12 from here on out, they will be making sure their equipment is functioning at all times.

Chisholm’s office said prosecutors rarely request court transcripts from initial appearances.

Online court records list a digital recording was created but it’s known now that that is inaccurate.

Brooks’ case was assigned at that initial appearance to Judge Michelle Ackerman Havas.

He was scheduled to appear again Dec. 20.

Brooks remains in custody at the Waukesha County Jail on $5 million cash bail.



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