The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports people are loving Jennifer Dorow:
Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow earned a worldwide fan club during her weeks presiding over the recent trial of Waukesha Christmas parade attack defendant Darrell Brooks Jr.
Cards, letters, emails and even a telegram sent to the Clerk of Courts had been piling up in a separate case file until Clerk of Circuit Court Monica Paz made them available Monday in response to a public records request from the Journal Sentinel. All the correspondence went to the clerk’s office, and was not sent on to the judge. New materials that continue to arrive are likewise quarantined by the clerk into the separate file, so the judge won’t see them as part of the Brooks case.
The messages came from dozens of states and a few other English-speaking countries, where people were watching a CourtTV livestream of the trial.“I just want to say you’re a freakin’ saint,” wrote Mimi, “just a lady in California,” according to her letter. “I’m sending you a virtual bouquet and massage and wine.”
Many other admirers sent actual flowers, Edible Arrangements, wine and gift cards for massages. Monica Paz, the Clerk of Courts, said some of the flowers were distributed to other court division offices, until she called local florists and told them to reject any more orders for the judge. Ethics rules for judges and state employees generally prohibit acceptance of most gifts.
The majority of supporters were women.
Several compared Dorow to Wonder Woman. Jude from Florida included pictures of the superhero with Dorow’s face superimposed. “It rightfully suits you because you are a true American hero,” she wrote.
A few writers expressed criticism that Dorow was too lenient with Brooks. “You, ma’am, have been a victim of shuckin’ and jiving,” wrote GW. “Male judges would have suffered a tenth of the crap you put up with.”
“How long is this court going to coddle this lunatic murderer?” wrote another emailer who didn’t include his name.
Tom Kress suggested Dorow be replaced mid-trial. “It has become a disgraceful 3-ring circus,” wrote Tom Kress.
“I can’t believe what a miscarriage of justice she is displaying by assisting and helping out this defendant,” wrote Peggy from Colorado. “Isn’t she supposed to be neutral?”
I thought Dorow invited the 3-ring circus that made a mockery of the judicial system by allowing Brooks to represent himself from the very beginning to the end. A column by E. Jeffrey Ludwig posted on October 22 while trial was in progress offers a far less glowing assessment of Dorow than most of her fan mail:
This writer, when first watching the trial of the Waukesha murderer, considered the judge a paragon of patience as she explained every statement made to the defendant, and answered his objections with a big sisterly, considerate tone of voice. Only when his acting out became too extreme did she temporarily punish him by sending him to another courtroom where his microphone could be muted if his responses or interpositions were offensive.
This big sisterly or motherly patience seemed to dovetail with the intent that there be no impression that this black defendant was being railroaded by white prosecutors or a white judge.
Thus, the judge’s motherly patience, as if toward a wayward or recalcitrant child, seemed to be in evidence throughout the proceedings in Wisconsin. At first, it seemed to me that this was good because it would serve to reassure the critics of our justice system that justice could be served in a white-dominated trial. However, the idea that justice is served by our willingness to be manipulated as proof of our “love” is inherently false, and I have retreated from my original respect for the judge and the ever-patient prosecution. This is, I believe, a fruit of feminism, which sees motherly love as a model of the best behavior. A more severe/fatherly tone would have been better.
The defendant should not be allowed to repeat his endless objections to the proceedings. Rather, he should have been in the separated courtroom throughout and his microphone muted every time he made nonsensical objections. The judge should not feel that it is incumbent upon herself to meticulously explain her reasoning regarding many matters of law that Brooks does not understand and obviously does not want to understand. His attempts to argue with witnesses or with the judge should not only be explained to him as unlawful, but should not be allowed at all, since they only encourage the playacting and pretense of fairness — whereas the trial is, with his inordinate participation, more of a farce than a trial.
By being a patient big sister or mom, the judge has inappropriately diluted her role as judge despite the momentary appeal of her beauty and kindly tone of voice and moderation.