The oft-repeated question came up again last week.
How many more innocent people have to die?
Anyone horrified by the events of Sunday, Nov. 21 in Waukesha is still asking how a career violent criminal had been set free — again — just days before he jumped into his SUV and plowed through a Christmas parade. Six people, including a child, are dead, and dozens more, including many children, were injured in the unconscionable act.
The pain and grief in Waukesha is agonizing. What’s worse for many in this city in the shadow of Milwaukee is knowing that all of this suffering could have been avoided had the practitioners of progressive justice not let another violent criminal walk on bare minimum bail.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, has a rap sheet a mile long. He’s a wanted sex offender in Nevada, for starters. He’s been charged 10 times in Milwaukee County Court since 1999, from drug possession to bail jumping to felonious assault.
In Brooks’ latest run in with Milwaukee law enforcement on Nov. 5, prosecutors in Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office requested bail at $1,000 — for a habitual bail jumper and violent criminal. Brooks paid and left jail on Nov. 11 — 10 days before the Waukesha Christmas Day massacre.
You know who predicted this would happen? John Chisholm.
Since taking the reins of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in 2007, the Democrat has been pushing liberal reforms to the criminal justice system, particularly a cash-bail system he insists criminalizes poverty. Chisholm has acknowledged there could be a deadly price to pay for such reforms.
“Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into [a] treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody?” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2007. “You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen. It does not invalidate the overall approach.”
The revolving door criminal justice system that freed Brooks so cheaply has cheapened the rights of victims. But letting violent criminals off easy can get you elected — even to Wisconsin’s highest court.
Liberal Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky was a prototypical “restorative justice” judge in Dane County when she sentenced former nurse Christopher M. Kaphaem to 13 years in prison. He faced a maximum of 140 years behind bars on 19 felony charges of abusing and causing great bodily harm to nine infants at a Madison hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
The criminal complaint describes a horrifying list of injuries to the infants in UnityPoint Health-Meriter’s NICU between March 2017 and February of last year. A baby described only as “Infant 1” sustained a “Fracture to his skull, a wrist fracture, and left humerus fracture,” according to the criminal complaint.
Child abuse expert, Dr. Barbara Knox previously testified that doctors were concerned about “soft tissue swelling” on the back of the baby’s head. One infant suffered 17 fractures, including one to the skull and eight to the ribs.
Is that justice?
Karofsky went on to win a seat on Wisconsin’s high court in 2019.
All of this is not to say there aren’t problems — some very serious problems — in the judicial system. Wisconsin and the world watched a litany of prosecutorial abuses play out in real time during the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial. The trial was Exhibit A for the need for laws that hold accountable prosecutors who put their personal thirst for convictions ahead the pursuit of justice. And there are plenty of people in a flawed and crowded system of crime and punishment deserving of second chances.
Darrell Brooks had multiple chances. Too many chances.
And so we are left asking, how many more innocent people have to die?
The sad answer is that there will be more, many more, thanks to liberal prosecutors like John Chisholm and leftist judges like Jill Karofsky.
They are tools of “progressive justice,” and they are collectively Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.