Commissioner who approved $1,000 bail for Darrell E. Brooks Jr. reassigned to non-criminal division

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Milwaukee County's chief judge has reassigned the court commissioner who approved a $1,000 bail for Darrell E. Brooks Jr., the man later charged with driving into the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Commissioner Cedric Cornwall will move from the criminal division to handling non-criminal matters in civil or family court, Milwaukee County Chief Circuit Jude Mary Triggiano said.

She said Cornwall has been the target of threats and harassment since news of his role in the events leading up to the Nov. 21 tragedy came to light. He did not request the reassignment, but agreed with it, she said.

Cornwall, 60, has been a court commissioner since 2005. Commissioners are hired by the elected circuit court judges and preside at a variety of pretrial matters.

Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall, in a 2014 photo.
Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall, in a 2014 photo.

It was at Brooks' initial appearance Nov. 5 that Cornwall set the $1,000 bail that the assistant prosecutor had recommended. Brooks was facing two felonies and three misdemeanors stemming from domestic violence incident on Nov. 1, a time when he was out on bail in a 2020 case in which he is charged with shooting at two people.

A Public Safety Assessment of Brooks done by a pretrial services agency rated him as a fairly high risk to commit another crime or violent crime, but did not suggest a bail amount, only that some cash bail be required.

District Attorney John Chisholm said Thursday the prosecutor on the case was juggling a trial and several new cases when she recommended the $1,000 bail. He said the PSA had not yet been uploaded where she could see it and she merely doubled Brooks' existing $500 bail on the prior case.

Brooks remained in custody after the Nov. 5 hearing because of a hold in Waukesha County, which had a warrant for his arrest for missing child support payments and hearings in a 2003 paternity case.

He was released after a hearing in that matter on Nov. 16, since his mother had posted the $1,000 bail in the Milwaukee case on Nov. 11, according to court records.

Brooks is being held in Waukesha on $5 million bail imposed after he was charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide after police say he drove through the city's parade striking more than five dozen participants and spectators.

Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or bvielmetti@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Commissioner who OK'd low bail for Waukesha parade suspect is reassigned