The judge who oversaw the trial of Waukesha parade murderer Darrell Brooks might soon find herself up for a promotion.
Judge Jennifer Dorow presided over proceedings colored with disruptions on the part of Brooks, who represented himself in the October trial.
Viewers of the televised trial praised Dorow’s patience and administration of a difficult trial, in which Brooks was routinely removed from the courtroom for constant interruptions.
Wisconsin Republicans have questioned if Dorow would be a an ideal candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a body to which judges are elected through the statewide ballot.
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow had described Dorow as a popular figure with state Republicans. He’s told WDJT-TV that the party has received a plethora of letters hailing Dorow for her professionalism in the Brooks trial.
“Publicity that she has received is kind of off the charts for a judge in any situation,” Farrow said.
Sources close to Dorow have indicated that she’s looking strongly at running for a seat on the court next year, according to a Saturday WISN-TV report.
Dorow is already the chief judge in Waukesha County, in addition to being the chief judge of the five-county judicial circuit the county belongs to.
She was appointed to her Waukesha County judicial position in 2011 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Some Wisconsin conservatives see Dorow as the ideal candidate to secure a seat on a court that’s been Republican leaning for the past decade, according to WTMJ-TV.
One of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s sitting conservative-leaning justices is retiring, and liberals eye taking control of the highest court in the state justice system.
Dorow, herself a former defense attorney, is active in Republican circles in Waukesha, according to WTMJ. The suburb of Milwaukee leans Republican.
One member of the public identified Dorow as a “freakin’ saint” in a letter to her court after the Brooks trial, with another letter praising her for “showing the world what a patient, competent and incredible judge looks like,” according to WTMJ.
Dorow dealt with an endless steam of baseless legal arguments from Brooks.
The defendant claimed to be a “sovereign” citizen and made incessant references to the “subject matter jurisdiction” of Dorow’s court.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor and former Wisconsin legislator Mordecai Lee says that Dorow’s role in the high-profile trial would prove useful in making her case for a spot in the state’s highest court.
“What she’s gotten is a platform, if she wants to use it, to run for higher office, or any other kind of public career,” Lee said of the judge, WISN reported.
“The kind of exposure that she’s gotten is priceless.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is non-partisan.
In the Waukesha parade trial, Brooks’ antics didn’t prove enough to overcome the evidence.
Dorow proved capable of adjudicating the proceedings before the first anniversary of the Waukesha parade tragedy on Nov. 21.
The next Wisconsin Supreme Court elections are in April 2023.
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly is already running for the seat, according to the Associated Press, against two liberal candidates. The two candidates with the highest number of votes in the February primary advance to a runoff election in April.
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