You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Could commissioner have denied bail in parade attack? Not exactly.

WISN Milwaukee logo WISN Milwaukee 2 days ago
© Provided by WISN Milwaukee

When Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello set bail for the accused Waukesha Parade attacker, Darrell Brooks, at $5 million, many people in the community and outside Wisconsin questioned why bail was granted at all.

At the time of the Waukesha tragedy, Brooks, according to court records, was out of jail on a $1,000 bail in a case where he was accused of running over the mother of his child.

Brooks went to court Tuesday afternoon for the first time since his arrest in the parade attack.

Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper recommended Costello set bail at $5 million for the five counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the five victims initially killed. During the hearing, Opper announced a sixth victim, Jackson Sparks, 8, had also died and prosecutors planned to add a homicide charge as early as Friday.

"With that bail, it's extraordinarily high, but it's an extraordinarily big case," Costello said before setting bail at the recommended amount.

Despite the high amount, some questioned why Costello didn't deny bail altogether.

"Why is there an option for bail? Have they not learned anything from this tragedy?" one Twitter user asked.

"Should there have been ANY bail at all in a situation like this? Where someone is deemed a high threat to other individuals' safety? What are Wisconsin’s exceptions for NO bail?" a different Facebook user questioned.

The answer, according to lawyers and Wisconsin court officials, is not as simple as a judge or commissioner making the decision unilaterally.

"There is a section where the prosecutor can ask the court to deny bail for a short period of time," Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary Triggiano said in an email Wednesday, referencing Wisconsin Statute 969.

According to experts on Wisconsin law, prosecutors must request the denial, but provide evidence supporting their claim in a hearing separate from the initial appearance where bail is first discussed.

"A judge may deny bail for up to 60 days in exceptionally serious cases, but only after hearing and upon a determination that the defendant’s release would pose a danger to the public," according to the Wisconsin News Reporters' Legal Handbook published by the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Experts said the request is rarely made by Wisconsin prosecutors because their burden is lower during an initial appearance when they can merely recommend a high bail amount.

Opper did not make the request in the Brooks hearing Tuesday. It is unclear if such a request is being considered.

Wisconsin law also requires bail to be paid in full before a person can leave custody, unlike states where only 10% of bail is required.

By the time this story was published, Brooks remained in the Waukesha County Jail. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 14 in the parade case.

READ MORE:Could commissioner have denied bail in parade attack? Not exactly.

CHECK OUT WISN:Get the top Milwaukee news weather and sports. With the day’s biggest stories and ones you may have missed, our Wisconsin news team has you covered.


More from WISN Milwaukee

WISN Milwaukee
WISN Milwaukee
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon