Darrell Brooks files notice, appeal process begins

Darrell Brooks, sentenced to life in prison in connection the 2021 Waukesha Christmas Parade attack, has filed notice of his intent to seek post-conviction relief, court records show.

In the handwritten notice, he wrote "there are clear issues of the law and legal facts" in his case. The filing does not guarantee Brooks will appeal his conviction, but it is very likely that he will try. 

"Most people think of post-conviction relief as going to a higher-level court: the Court of Appeals. But post-conviction relief can also mean motions that are filed after conviction, after sentencing, asking the court to maybe reconsider some of the things that happened," said Defense Attorney Julius Kim, who is not associated with the case.

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Per state statute, filing notices of intent to seek post-conviction relief must be filed within 20 days of sentencing; Brooks was sentenced on Nov. 16. Doing so gives Brooks the option to appeal, but that process could take months.

"Even if Darrell Brooks files appeals in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and loses in the court of appeals, it could go up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and also be appeals to the federal appeals system depending what the issues are," Kim said. "The appellate attorney is going to have to literally reread every word that was uttered during the proceedings and try and figure out if there were any mistakes that were made along the way."


Darrell Brooks files notice of his intent to seek post-conviction relief

Kim said the trial judge will have a chance to rule on post-conviction relief before an appeals court takes the case. Even if Brooks is denied and the appeals court level, the process is far from over.

"This could continue for years and years before it’s finally resolved to a point where the sentence is set," said Kim

The filing also allows Brooks to request representation from a state public defender – which he has done, paperwork filed Nov. 29 shows. In late September, days before the trial began, Judge Jennifer Dorow ruled Brooks could defend himself and waive his right to an attorney. Brooks had been represented by two attorneys, Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees, since November 2021 when he was criminally charged.

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"I think he saw how well he did or didn’t do at trial and realized maybe he’s not his best advocate," Kim said.

There is a possibility of a new trial, Kim said, but it's a longshot. Meanwhile, Brooks remains at 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.