Low Bail was a Consistent Practice in Milwaukee County, Even for Violent Criminals

Written by T. Logan Dayne

As Wisconsin mourns those lost in the Waukesha massacre, carried out by career criminal Darrel Brooks as he drove an SUV into an Christmas parade, killing 6 and injuring dozens more, the public and it’s officials are left with a bleak picture. Namely that those whose job it was to protect the public and carry out justice have failed in some of the worst possible ways.

At the time of the massacre, Brooks was out on bail which had been set a mere $1000 despite having a rap sheet that was 50 pages long. Brooks was released just 5 days after running over his ex-girlfriend in the same SUV. Former Waukesha Prosecutor, Tom Grieve would describe the bail and the most lenient bail in all of Wisconsin. The justice system in Wisconsin had been releasing dangerous criminals back into the public on extremely low bail and in some cases almost nothing. More worrisome is this is part of a larger pattern signed off by Commissioner Cedric Cornwall. Cornwall who was entrusted to carry out justice and help protect the citizens of Wisconsin could have reviewed Brooks’ history but rather simply signed off on the bail, easily allowing him to commit the atrocity he did. 

This is part of a larger pattern of progressive prosecutors to release dangerous felons back onto the street. Other examples include Omarion Jones, a suspect in a series of bank robberies and shooting who was taken into custody by police. Despite this he was charged with a single count  of misdemeanor carrying of a concealed weapon and let out on a $500 signature bond, a bond that didn’t need to be paid unless the terms of release had been violated. Two months later he would be picked up in a stolen vehicle, taken during an armed robbery. He’d be released again a week later on $1000 bail and go on to participate in another robbery and shooting. Another would include Edward Black, Jr. who was released on a $500 signature bond after he attacked his spouse. After being released he would go on to commit felony strangulation on the same woman. He would be released again on a $1000 bail. There are more cases like these that make up a pattern that is quickly being reflected in crime statistics. Estimates for violent crime have increased 26% in 2020 as compared to 2019 with little evidence of that coming down.

The MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank from Wisconsin, did a report back in 2019 on low bail in Milwaukee. Bond for someone charged with 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child had bond set at $750. Someone charged with a hit and run that caused death had bond set at $5,000.

Photo Cred: REUTERS/Cheney Orr