The troublesome thing about the truth is that it generally tends to come out, and usually at the worst time. Because of this, lies—especially big ones—are generally fruitless. One way or another, the truth always seems to rear its ugly head.
For the Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, the truth is as ugly as the lie was big. For nearly three weeks now, he has tried to convince the world that the way his office coddled career criminal Darrell Brooks, Jr. was somehow out of character.
Just days before police say Brooks plowed his SUV into the Waukesha Christmas Parade, Chisholm’s office freed him on $1,000 bail even though he faced two open felony cases (including a charge of running his girlfriend over with that same SUV).
“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,” Chisholm said in a news release following the massacre.
This was a lie, and a big one. Putting dangerous criminals back on the street has been the primary focus of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office since the moment Chisholm was elected to run it nearly 15 years ago. And the truth came out almost immediately.
Just three days after the Waukesha Parade attack, a 33-year-old man named Chad Marcinkiewicz was arrested on suspicion of stabbing a man to death…while out on bail for a previous stabbing this summer that multiple law enforcement sources say left a man seriously injured. In fact, the morning of the murder, Marcinkiewicz was in court for a preliminary hearing on charges of recklessly endangering safety in connection with that stabbing.
The following day, 20-year-old Donta L. Roberts was arrested in the shooting death of Devonta Lusk while out on signature bond for pointing a gun at someone in the summer of 2020. Roberts is now charged with Lusk’s murder as well as several counts of bail jumping.
And last week, a 23-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of killing a 41-year-old man by repeatedly running him over with her car. The woman allegedly ran over the victim so many times that a 911 caller “saw a body part come off the victim.”
This heinous, cold-blooded murder was made even more tragic by the fact that John Chisholm’s DA’s Office twice in the past six months declined to prosecute the woman for domestic violence strangulation.
On June 10, she was arrested on charges of substantial battery-domestic violence and strangulation after attacking her boyfriend. Assistant District Attorney Elaine Fehrs declined to prosecute; a move called a “no process.” Exactly four months later, on Oct. 10, the woman was arrested again on charges of battery-domestic violence and two counts of strangulation for allegedly attacking both her boyfriend and her father. Her case was again “no processed,” this time by Assistant District Attorney Claire Zyber.
Twice in the past six months, the woman was released without facing a single criminal count, even though Milwaukee Police recommended serious domestic violence-related charges. Early Thursday morning, she—like Darrell Brooks—allegedly used her vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Like Brooks’ low bail, the woman’s “no processing” was hardly an aberration. Earlier this year, a Wisconsin Right Now investigation found that Chisholm’s office has been refusing to prosecute six in every 10 felony cases requested by police and an astounding eight in 10 misdemeanor cases.
In 2020, Wisconsin Right Now found the “no process” rate was 60 percent for felonies and 65 percent for misdemeanors, which meant 10 percent fewer prosecutions than in 2019.
The ugly truth about the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is that it isn’t just letting the criminals it charges out on low bail; it’s refusing to charge criminals altogether.
Chisholm’s notion that somehow Darrell Brooks, Jr. was an outlier is laughable on its face. Darrell Brooks, Jr. is the face of Chisholm’s stated policy of “reducing the use of incarceration in all cases” and “seek[ing] out alternative sentences, even for some violent offenders.”
Brooks, Chad Marcinkiewicz, Donta Smith, and the woman arrested last week for running over a man all represent the uncomfortable truth coming out just in time to expose John Chisholm for the despicable liar that he is.
He bragged for years about how his progressive approach to prosecution was leading the way toward social justice, but now is pretending that it’s something other than his own policies that have released at least three dangerous killers in less than three weeks since Brooks’ deadly rampage.
He is lying about those policies, frantically hiding from them in a desperate bid to save his job and his shattered reputation. Yet, with every signature bond for and every “no process” of a dangerous criminal, the Milwaukee County DA’s Office lets another potential killer back on the streets, and the truth about Chisholm and his dangerous policies is getting out just as quickly as they are.
Read more at the MacIver Institute.