Brooks Waives Right To Formal Arraignment - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Brooks Waives Right To Formal Arraignment

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - After turning herself in Thursday evening, Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks faced a General Sessions Court judge for the first time and waived her right to a formal arraignment on a charge of misdemeanor assault.

A horde of Memphis media followed her throughout the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Memphis but Commissioner Brooks didn't opt to tell her story of Tuesday's hospital parking lot altercation with another woman in midtown

MORE: Facing Arrest Warrant, Commissioner Brooks Turns Self Into Jail


She was the star attraction as it seemed all eyes on the busy bottom floor of the CJC were focused on Commissioner Brooks and a media entourage. But the embattled county commissioner wasn't on a campaign excursion; she was there to for a date with a judge.

Here's some advice for Commissioner Brooks: As a newbie, if you have to venture down to 201 Poplar on a General Sessions Court case, rule number one, show up for court promptly by 9 a.m.

She was late.

Rule number two: Know exactly which courtroom you're suppose to be in. She temporarily headed toward the wrong one.

But, rule number three -- and possibly the most important of all -- let your attorney do all the talking. That one, the usually outspoken Brooks, surprisingly followed to a T.

"Obviously, she wants to talk, I'm sure," said Andre Wharton, Commissioner Brooks' attorney. "Commissioner Brooks is an outspoken person and she has a story to tell. But, we tell it in the right context. She tells it through her lawyer. We tell it to the justice system."

But, in waiving her right to a formal arraignment, at the advice of her counsel, Commissioner Brooks kept mum when it came to divulging her thoughts about being charged with misdemeanor assault following Tuesday's hospital parking lot altercation with another woman.

By now, you've heard the story or seen the cellphone video taken by a witness in which a woman claims Commissioner Brooks made a racial slur, knocked the woman's cellphone out of her hand, and splashed her with a water bottle after the county commissioner had seemingly swiped a parking spot from her at Methodist University Hospital in Midtown Memphis.

Videos don't lie right. Or do they?

"I haven't seen all the tapes, but the tapes I've seen, that the media is publishing, are only a piece of the puzzle," Wharton said. "You can determine some things from those tapes in favor of Ms. Brooks."

I don't suppose you'd like to address any of that right now commissioner? (She walks away). Okay, be that way. As you saying Mr. Wharton?

"In a sense, yes, she has been a victim," Wharton added. "The charges she could have easily brought charges if the Memphis Police would entertain those against this lady."

But, that's fodder for another court case, which like this one, won't be prosecuted or judged by anyone from the Shelby County District Attorney's Office nor any General Sessions judge, including Bill Anderson, who recused himself because the commission funds their budget, just as they do the prosecutor's office. Special prosecutor, special judge, for a case which in the end will probably fall far short of anything "special."

"In cases like this, one of the things a prosecutor has to consider, as a defense attorney, I have to consider, is who wasthe initiallaggressorr?," Wharton said. "And was the a crime committed at all?"

So, we'll just have to wait to a while longer to hear Commissioner Brooks' version  of what happened. Then it'll be a matter of getting her to stop talking.

Commissioner Brooks is scheduled to return to general sessions court July 29. By that time another judge from outside Shelby County will be hearing the case.

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