In the aftermath of the Christmas parade massacre in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, many Americans have been left wondering if the left’s bail reform movement is misguided, if not wholly irresponsible.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, is accused of plowing his SUV through a crowd of Wisconsin residents marching in the parade on Sunday.
Brooks initially faced five felony counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but a sixth was likely to be added following the death of 8-year-old Jackson Sparks on Tuesday, according to Fox News. Jackson’s 12-year-old brother, Tucker, was also injured in the attack but appears to be recovering from his injuries, according to a GoFundMe set up for the family.
At the time of the attack, Brooks, 39, was out on $1,000 bail for a crime he was accused of in early November and was also free on a $500 bail from a crime he is accused of that took place last July.
Given Brooks’ extensive criminal history and the serious nature of the crimes he had been accused of — including felony second-degree recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and battery (with domestic abuse assessments) and, most notably, felony bail jumping — it’s clear that the bail amounts assigned to him were recklessly low.
Following the attack, Brooks was not remanded without bail, as many assumed he would be. Instead, the alleged mass murderer and serial bail jumper was assigned bail of $5 million.
Now, it is unlikely he will be able to come up with that much money. Nevertheless, given his criminal history and the charges he faces, the fact he even has a chance of being set free is, in and of itself, shocking.
All of this raises the question, what is going on with the criminal justice system in and around Milwaukee? The answer is bail reform, a problem that, sadly, isn’t exclusive to that area.
Across the country, progressive prosecutors are hoping to transform our criminal justice system by moving it in a more lenient direction. They believe the system is built on filling up the prison system with poor offenders by targeting them unfairly and disproportionately.
This movement is funded by major left-wing donors such as George Soros. A report last year from the Heritage Foundation dubbed this the “rogue prosecutors movement,” describing it as a campaign made up of various progressive prosecutors aimed at “promoting the fundamental transformation of our criminal justice system.
“It is a serious movement in large part because leftist billionaire George Soros has dumped and continues to dump tens of millions of dollars into specific DA races and into dark-money PACs that identify, recruit, and fund criminal defense attorneys to run against independent law-and-order prosecutors,” the authors of the report wrote.
“They brazenly usurp the constitutional role of the legislative branch by refusing to prosecute entire categories of crime, abuse the role of the county prosecutor, fail to protect victims of crime, and ignore the rising crime rates that flow from their radical policies.”
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm — whose office released Brooks on a $1,000 bond days before the Waukesha massacre — has certainly done his part to push forward this agenda, Parker Thayer, a researcher for the Capital Research Center, told the Washington Examiner.
“Though he hasn’t received any funding from Soros, Chisholm clearly embraces the George Soros brand of justice, and intends to bring the same policies that caused crime waves in Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis to Milwaukee,” Thayer said.
Specifically, Chisholm has done so by pushing for bail reform, an idea designed to lessen the amount of bail money criminals need to pay the court. Politicians, activists and city officials in favor of bail reform believe that cash bail essentially criminalizes poverty. In their view, rich offenders are given the advantage over their poor counterparts who may need to take out a loan to pay bail for even more minor offenses.
Supporters of cash bail policies, however, believe this to be a naive understanding of how the bail system works. As mentioned by Thayer, cities that have embraced bail reform policies — including, most notably, Chicago — tend to have a serious crime problem.
After New York City abolished cash bail, there were numerous reports of criminals committing new crimes just after they were released thanks to the policy, according to a Jan. 7, 2020, report from NBC News.
When asked about the problems the city faced, Orange County, New York, District Attorney David Hoovler noted that judges need to be given the latitude to set bail at whatever amount they see fit for every given case.
“The law is well meaning, bail reform is well meaning, but there are unintended consequences, and you cannot just cut the judges out of it completely,” Hoovler said.
Nevertheless, despite the many abject failings of bail reform policies, Chisholm has stood by them.
Even worse than that, he has admitted such policies inevitably lead to the murder of innocent citizens.
“Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody?” Chisholm asked in 2007. “You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen. It does not invalidate the overall approach.”
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