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Judge Jennifer Dorow says she'll decide on run for Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 'next couple days'

Charles Benson talks one-on-one with Waukesha judge Jennifer Dorow following the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack trial
Posted at 10:00 AM, Nov 28, 2022

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Judge Jennifer Dorow, the presiding judge during the trial of Darrell Brooks, who was convicted of killing six people during the Waukesha Christmas parade, says she will make a decision about running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court "in the coming days."

Candidates for the state Supreme Court start circulating their nomination papers on Dec. 1. The interview with TMJ4 News is the first Dorow has taken since the Brooks trial concluded.

TMJ4's Charles Benson interviewed Judge Dorow one-on-one on the heels of one of the biggest trials in Wisconsin history: of the now convicted and sentenced suspect in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack, Darrell Brooks.

So what did Dorow say about running for the state's top court?

“What I can tell you is that I’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and encouragement to consider a run for the Supreme Court," Dorow tells TMJ4 News. “I like to consider all my options, right? I want to weigh things, and certainly talk to my family, and make a decision over the next couple days.”

WATCH: Dorow talks about being a working mom

Judge Dorow most proud of being a working mom

A jury convicted Brooks on six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, for hitting and killing six people during the parade. Judge Dorow sentenced Brooks to several life sentences in prison without the chance for parole, after hours of emotional remarks from victims' families as well as Brooks' own mother and grandmother.

During the interview with TMJ4 News, Dorow said she couldn't talk specifics about the case because Brooks is filing an appeal. But Dorow talked at length about the team effort among her colleagues during the trial, her pride in being a working mom and her thought process when it comes to running for an elected position. Dorow also chatted about the massive amount of 'fan mail' she received during the Brooks trial and "Judge Dorow" becoming a costume during Halloween.

Dorow's proudest achievement? While she admits the Brooks case was her biggest ever, she is most proud of her achievements as a working mother.

"One of my crowning achievements is being a working mom," Dorow tells TMJ4 News. "Not everyone is told they can have it all. There is a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices."

Watch the full interview with TMJ4's Charles Benson below:

Judge Jennifer Dorow says she'll decide soon on run for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Will Judge Jennifer Dorow run for Wisconsin Supreme Court?

Two liberal judges and one former conservative judge are already in the running for state Supreme Court: Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly. A Feb. 21 primary will whittle down the field to two finalists for the April 4 election.

Judge Dorow received national attention while presiding over the Darrell Brooks trial. GOP leaders want to hold a conservative majority in the court - the same court that had already given big wins for Republicans over the last ten years. Conservative-leaning Justice Patience D. Roggensack decided to retire from the top court after 10 years. Liberals meanwhile want to flip control of the court ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

What did Judge Dorow do before the Darrell Brooks trial?

Dorow is a former criminal defense attorney appointed by former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Dorow has been elected twice to the Waukesha County Circuit Court. She is reportedly active in the Republican Party in the county, according to the AP.

A 'hero's thanks': Judge Dorow recieves hundreds of fan letters and emails after the Darrell Brooks trial

As TMJ4 News previously reported, the Darrell Brooks trial put Dorow in the national spotlight. That spotlight came with hundreds of letters, emails and gifts from viewers across the country thanking her for her work.

Laura Lewis, who lives in Austin, Texas, was one of them. She hadn’t even heard of Waukesha or the Darrell Brooks trial until she saw a clip of it on TikTok. She then became one of the many pairs of eyes across the nation watching the trial unfold with Judge Dorow at the helm.

Lewis works as a sales manager in Austin and says Dorow inspired her as a fellow woman in a male-dominated field. She wrote her an email saying thank you. And she wasn’t the only one.

TMJ4 crews went to the Waukesha County Courthouse to see what other sort of mail and reaction the judge received from the trial. We left with a stack of 25 individual notes all praising Judge Dorow, nearly half of them also came with a bouquet of flowers. That wasn’t even a fraction of the hundreds of letters and gifts sent her way.

Of the 25 letters TMJ4 accessed, 11 states across the country were represented; from California to Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

In the notes, the most common thing mentioned was her patience. One letter saying, “You have taught me patience and I don’t even know you.”

The clerk of Circuit Court Waukesha County says the correspondence received by the Courthouse has not yet been sent to Judge Dorow for review.

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