Why newspaper hacks aren’t judges



Scream the headlines at the Daily Mail, a sleazy U.K.-based tabloid that is not owned by Rupert Murdoch, which makes it a very rare duck among sleazy tabloids, because he seems to own them all.

I sometimes use Daily Mail as a source for this blog despite their slimy reputation because they get story details before other people do, possibly by underhanded methods I wouldn’t stoop to, and they’ll publish names and photos of alleged perps when other outlets won’t. (For a catalog of lawsuits against them, go here. It works out on the bottom line because there’s more profit than liability in yellow journalism.)

So anyway, today they’re sell copies and getting clicks (lots of ’em) by screaming at the judge who set the man accused of being the Waukesha Christmas parade car killer at 5 million smackers.

“Anger mounted Tuesday after bail for a man accused of killing six and injuring 62 others by plowing his SUV into them at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin was set at $5 million – despite him having already been free on bail from a previous crime at the time of Sunday’s carnage,” begins the Daily Mail‘s story (here).

Yeah, the judge did set Darrell Brooks Jr.’s bail at $5 million. Because he has to.

The Wisconsin Constitution, Art. I, §8(2) (here) provides:

“All persons, before conviction, shall be eligible for release under reasonable conditions designed to assure their appearance in court, protect members of the community from serious bodily harm or prevent the intimidation of witnesses. Monetary conditions of release may be imposed at or after the initial appearance only upon a finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the conditions are necessary to assure appearance in court. The legislature may authorize, by law, courts to revoke a person’s release for a violation of a condition of release.”

(See also the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting “excessive” bail, and long line of cases interpreting it.)

Recognizing there’s a problem, a GOP legislator (Cindy Duchow of Delafield, Wisconsin) today introduced “a joint resolution to amend the state’s constitution and reform the legal procedure for how judges apply bail to individuals with criminal histories,” especially people like Brooks, who rap sheet could wallpaper several states. (See story here.)

It’s not like he’s going to waltz out of jail tomorrow. Even if he can find a bondsman willing to underwrite him, to make $5 million bail, he has to put up a nonrefundable $500,000 fee. That might be a breeze for someone like Kyle Rittenhouse, who had no trouble raising $2 million bail, but Brooks probably doesn’t have Rittenhouse’s (a) political popularity, and (b) fundraising prowess.

And the judge did his best to make it difficult. As a Chicago TV station says (here), Brooks is “someone who should not be trusted with a low bond.”

Look, this guy is going away. They’ll build a special cellblock just for him. (See artist’s rendition at left.) He won’t be able to piss without three guards watching him (see below). Don’t worry, he isn’t going anywhere.

So the Daily Mail is getting its rightwing readers worked up over nothing, and the judge probably will now get the usual death threats.

But what the hey, yellow journalism sells papers and garners eyeballs.

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Darrell Brooks, center, makes his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court. Prosecutors there have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

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