It is clear that Mr Brooks – who had a criminal history of violence, domestic violence, sex crime, drug offenses and bail dating back to 1999 – should never have been eligible for such a low bond. , regardless of the state of the courts, lawyers who work in the system said.
Each defendant is screened through a pre-trial risk assessment that uses nine data points, including age and previous convictions, to assess the defendant’s risk of not appearing in court and committing a new crime. Judges or court commissioners receive the risk score, along with recommendations from the defense and prosecution, before setting the bail amount and release conditions, which can range from very little supervision to low-risk defendants to weekly recordings and GPS monitoring. .
The risk assessment is not publicly known, but someone with Mr Brooks’ background would almost certainly have been ranked six out of six and reported as a high risk of violence, several lawyers said.
Mr. Brooks was placed under “level 5” supervision, the most restrictive level possible, according to documents prepared for his bail hearing on Nov. 5. He was ordered to stay away from two female witnesses in the case and was prohibited from carrying a gun, but was not required to carry a GPS device to track his location . The $ 1,000 bond was posted by a relative.
The attorney assigned to Mr. Brooks’ case, Michelle A. Grasso, a 2019 Marquette University Law School graduate, and Carole Manchester, a senior lawyer who represented the office at the bail hearing, did not respond to requests for comment.
Milwaukee’s bail system, with its pre-trial protocols, is the result of a long-standing collaboration between county judges, Mr. Chisholm’s office and the local public defender. In 2012, courts introduced risk assessments to reduce unnecessary restrictions on low-level defenders and more precisely identify those who deserve closer scrutiny.
“With a tragedy like this, a real tragedy, we have no way of predicting when this is likely to happen or not,” said Meghan Guevara, executive partner of the Pretrial Justice Institute. “If judges didn’t have to deal with so many cases, they might have time to focus on a case like this,” she added.