Behind the prosecutor who acknowledged suspect's 'inappropriately low' bail before Waukesha parade tragedy - CNN
Nov 26, 2021 2 mins, 30 secs
Brooks was out on bail for two separate allegations of violence, including one where he is accused of using a car to run over a woman less than three weeks earlier.

Milwaukee prosecutor John Chisholm's office released a statement Monday morning, saying his office erred in seeking bail of $1,000 in the most recent case involving violent allegations against Brooks.

"The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail."

The statement from Chisholm's office said they were "conducting an internal review of the decision to make the recent bail recommendation."

State law sets out factors for judges to consider in setting bail amounts, including whether someone's likely to return to court and whether they're likely to hurt other people, said Julie Rendelman, a former prosecutor of homicides who's now a defense attorney.

Officials have sought ways to keep defendants out of the system while still respecting the serious nature of allegations against defendants; in some jurisdictions it's led to lower-than-normal bail requests or bail amounts in order to keep defendants out of jail.

It does not invalidate the overall approach."

Chishom's office did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.

'You can't pin cash bail' to violence spike

The term "bail reform" has loosely been used to describe any policy that results in a lower threshold for holding accused criminals in jail before they're tried before a judge or jury, or before they plead out or prosecutors drop charges.

Brooks isn't alleged to have committed violence while being out on low bail for a non-violent offense.

"When I heard this afternoon that a federal judge had released the man who illegally purchased and then supplied the gun used to murder Officer Ella French, I could not believe it."

The issue of reform emerges whenever someone accused of a violent crime that garners significant attention also has a history in the criminal justice system, like Brooks.

"You can't pin cash bail to the spike in violent crime because, for one thing, cash bail affects mainly low-level non-violent offenders," Jody Armour, a professor of law at the University of Southern California, told CNN over the summer.

Chisholm has said his office should focus on keeping violent people in the system and non-violent people out; Brooks was accused of violence and a prosecutor still sought low bail.

Brooks had made bail on a gun charge earlier this year, in February, according to the statement.

There's disagreement over bail reform's link

Rendelman said prosecutors often have a cheat sheet they use to determine their bail requests, and she said it was unlikely that any bail request guide would suggest $1,000 was appropriate to request considering the allegations of both violence and not showing up for court.

It's not clear whether, or how, bail reform efforts are tied to the increase in violent crime, if at all.

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