In Etta Mullin's Dallas County Court, Knee Surgery Is No Excuse For Wearing Shorts

Categories: The Courts

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Endorsements from southern Dallas' Democratic heavyweights (i.e. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, state Senator Royce West, County Commissioner John Wiley Price) and the natural advantages of an incumbent in a down-ballot race weren't quite enough to propel Dallas County misdemeanor court judge Etta Mullin to reelection. She won just 36.4 percent of the vote in the March primary, good enough to get her into a runoff with challenger Lisa Green, who netted 44.3 percent.

Mullin, barring a surprise come-from-behind victory in May, will most likely become a victim of her amazing unpopularity among attorneys. As Amy pointed out on the eve of the election, Mullin is almost universally reviled by the lawyers who work in her court.

See also: Judge Etta Mullin Has Been Thrifty with County's Money, But Attorneys Say It Comes at a Price

Veteran DWI attorney John Gioffredi called her "the most inefficient and inconsiderate judge that I can recall having," an opinion that seems to be widely shared. In a poll released last year by the Dallas Criminal Bar Association, a whopping 89 percent of attorneys ranked Mullin's overall performance in the "needs improvement" category, the lowest option available. (The next least popular criminal judge has only 26 percent of attorneys thinking the same.)

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Bright's legs, via Fox 4.
So, if you had to guess which judge would kick an attorney who had just had knee surgery and can't wear pants because his leg is encased in an unwieldy medical device out of her courtroom for wearing shorts, you'd probably go with Mullin.

According to Fox 4, you'd be right. Defense attorney James Lee Bright (who previously complained to Amy about Mullin's requirement that defendants pay fees up front), told the station that he'd been "discriminated against [by Mullin] because he wasn't wearing pants."

Bright was scheduled to be in Mullin's court on Friday, seeking to have a weapons charge against his client dismissed. Mullin wasn't having it, barring Bright from the courtroom because of the shorts.

Even when he described the situation -- "I have tubes that come out of my leg that make it prohibitive to wear [pants]" -- she wouldn't relent.

Mullin declined Fox 4's request for comment.

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86 comments
cinesimonj
cinesimonj

Gee what a surprise - the childish white supremacists think it's because he's white. Simple because she's black. And just as surprising, these brainless right wingers have no self awareness whatsoever.

garygoodwin7
garygoodwin7

The American's with Disablities Act requires reasable accomadations in public buildings for the disabled. The judge should know that. A Federal lawsuit would teach her that. 



qwerty
qwerty

Racist ni**a judge. better? better her f**king vag..

rusknative
rusknative

wonder is she allows her compadres into her court in typical cornrows and sags?

Rosie_Holatta
Rosie_Holatta

Eddie B, Royce and JW ought to be ashamed. Oh wait...

htfdgbrwn9
htfdgbrwn9

Racist judge .. would never have made this issue if the attorney was black.

anonogirl1965
anonogirl1965

This was not Bright's first time in this court.  He’s has disagreements with Mullin before.  She knows him.  Last Friday, he showed up at her court in shorts.  She kicked him out for wearing shorts. So on Monday, he showed up to her court – AGAIN – in shorts – but this time with Fox 4 in tow.

He says “it should have been a routine matter that would have had him in and out of court in a couple of minutes”… then why not send one of the other four guys from his firm if he could not truly wear pants? And why bring a news crew?

"I have tubes that come out of my leg that make it prohibitive to wear [pants]… This connects to my ice machine…that is a way of taking down the swelling in my leg.” I think this is the part that gets everyone.  This poor man has tubes coming “out of his leg”!  He doesn’t.  There’s a removable wrap that goes around his leg that connects to an ice machine… it’s what doctors use to relieve swelling.  You don’t wear it 24-7, but apparently Bright does (and especially he does for TV interviews).  The tubes are not any sort of a drain or a port.  In fact, I’m sure his arthroscopic incisions have healed already since he surgery was two weeks ago.  The tubes are only there to connect to his removable ice machine.    

“I'm also incapable of putting on long pants by myself” – his wife is staying home with their newborn right now.  So I’m sure she can change the baby’s diapers and then put on her husband's pants.

He had lots of options here… he could have called Mullin’s court to speak to the court coordinator about his situation on Friday before he showed up. He didn’t.  He could have sent someone else to handle a routine matter.  He didn’t.  He could have removed his ice machine hook up and thrown on a pair of pants under his brace on Monday.  He didn’t.  He brought a news crew to talk about how a judge is discriminating against him and holding his “physical condition” against him.  What makes me mad about all of this is that he has vilified a woman (albeit a judge with a poor approval rating) to the press and public with half-truths. Because according to him, his client is sitting in jail because of her.  BS.

G_David
G_David

A lot of these posts are focused on the pants vs. shorts incident, but I think we're missing the real story here - you don't sink to that sort of overall disapproval level without being a historically shitty judge.

chester23
chester23

Into the early 80's Federal Courts had a bunch of cast-off sports coats and neckties for anybody who showed up without one.  The "decorum" of a United States District Judge's Courtroom required it.

This pales compared to other Etta-isms. And she's not the only Judge at the County crazy as a shithouse rat.

manpanties
manpanties

the lawyer should have done things differently, yes.  but the judge should be professional enough to rise above the stupid fashion rules in that moment and be able to do her job.  its not always the right time to prove a point.  

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

How do shorts work but an extra large pair of black pants do not?  It may not be a fashionable fit, but it sounded like the motion was a quick visit.  Does he not have other court appearances?  Wouldn't he have the same issue in any court?  I can't believe he would show up in Federal court in khaki shorts.  If I was his client, I would question his judgment and ability to size up a situation.  You are asking a judge, a judge who is already not your best buddy, make a decision on a charge and you wear shorts.  Do you think Johnny Cochran or Vincent Bugliosi would show up in khaki shorts?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Really, the only answer to the propriety of this Judge's behavior s to apply the universal standard:

WWJJD?

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

It says a lot that south Dallas "leadership" endorsed this incompetent judge - that competence is not considered - its skin color and back room politics.  For almost all lawyers to hate her means she must be pretty bad.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I wonder what she would have done if he came in wearing a skirt instead. 

Guest
Guest

If someone in a wheelchair is in her court, is she going to throw that person out if he doesn't rise when she walks into the room?  After all, he could bring two hefty friends to grab onto each shoulder and lift him at the correct moment.  That would save the judge from having to comply with disability law by making a reasonable accommodation to someone who has an impairment of a significant life function.

cinesimonj
cinesimonj

@anonogirl1965 You really think you know it all, don't you kiddo? One or two articles, and you know everything the attorney has done. And surprise surprise, you don't bother looking into the horrendous history with all of Dallas' Defense attorneys - no, that's not relevant. What relevant, in your bizarro world, is that he didn't do what you know he didn't do - because you're psychic. And apparently think judges should never, ever be questioned for their behavior. 

Another 12 year old who thinks she's an adult - but making it very clear that is not the case with your bizarre know-it-all-via-psychic-magic narrative.

notsmall
notsmall

You may know your post operative devices but you do not know etta. If you do know et tan you're lying.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@anonogirl1965 If this is all on the up and up, Bright better hope his client doesn't find out 'why he's still sitting in jail.'

tdkisok
tdkisok

@G_David  


The real point in the Unfair Park comment section?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

James080
James080

@chester23  

She's merely the product of low information, straight ticket voters.


Oxtail
Oxtail

@MikeWestEast  As a lay citizen I am so encouraged that the wheels of justice are based on fashion more than the law. It shows that any dumbass can be a lawyer, or a Judge.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@MikeWestEast  

I think Johnny Cochran would show up in a sequinned dress and a feather boa if he thought it might buy him some leverage in court.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@WatchingSouthDetroit Are you sure about that?  If almost all lawyers hate a particular person, that might indicate the person has some un-lawyerly trait, like honesty, integrity, or an actual respect for justice, and not merely the ambition to milk the law for every penny you can.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

That would depend on his accent.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Guest You keep coming back to this being a disability.  It isn't, in the strictest sense, it is a recovery from a medical procedure.  In the very broad sense (2008 revisions to ADA), it would still be a difficult thing to prove that a) this guy has a disability and b) that wearing shorts to court is his ONLY remedy to this disability.  I think you'd have to prove both to claim this judge is not complying with the ADA.  At least one other option is offered up in these comments.

Your wheelchair analogy is idiotic, the two things are in no way comparable.

The guy could have even gotten a long black robe, we know those are allowed in courtrooms.

rusknative
rusknative

@RTGolden1 @anonogirl1965I think he is jail due to breaking the law....getting OUT of jail was left to the judge, who pulled the rug out from under the perp.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

Bet she wears the pants in the family. Both legs even.

I think she's got a place in Naples, Fla - at least we know she's got good taste, and at some point probably even wears shorts.

Best not flip or flop in her court, though.

rusknative
rusknative

@RTGolden1 @Guestyou clearly know NOTHING about Knee replacement surgery and the rehab and pain resulting from it.

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

@RTGolden1 @Guest  ADA requires 'reasonable' accommodations.


Allowing him in the court with shorts is very, very reasonable.  The guy can absolutely sue and win.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@RTGolden1 @Guest  A simple note from his surgeon would do the trick.  

James080
James080

@tdkisok @James080 

Exactly like Rick Perry. 

Low information, straight ticket voters from both parties are the problem with American politics.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@WhiteWhale @TheCredibleHulk @MikeWestEast  

Fair enough. At first blush this reply didn't seem to square with the position you took in your earlier post, but I get where you are coming from.

You're right, it's a poor analogy in that Bright is not wearing the shorts in the hope that he would achieve some courtroom advantage.  

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@TheCredibleHulk @WhiteWhale@MikeWestEastYes they are.  If you are going before a judge that is known as a real hard case tight ass bitch stickler for the rules, you dress accordingly.  

Now if your analogy were to hold true that there is some court where wearing a dress with a feather boa gives an advantage with the judge, hey knock yourself out.  Not into dresses or feather boas, just don't dress inappropriately.   

Seriously if you were paid to represent someone in court to the very best of your ability would you deliberately do something that would piss the judge off and negatively impact your client?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@WhiteWhale @TheCredibleHulk @MikeWestEast  

I'm having a hard time figuring out which side of this you land on. 

Shorts on Bright representing client = bad lawyering, but feather boa on Cochran representing client = good lawyering?

These positions are not consistent.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ColonelAngus

Sanibel, sheesh. They charge you comin' and goin'. But, it costs them a lot to load the beaches with shells everyday, even though they're made in China.

Pine Island is pretty cool, but no beaches - strictly for boating/fishing enthusiasts, and crackers, but it's relatively cheap land.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

Saw an interview and history recently, forget where. Is a fun story. She's the only judge show I'll watch, out of the 3,245 now available. Youtube has a nice selection for you working folks.

Bet it wasn't easy being one of her sons.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Nope, but she's rich enough to not set foot in Ft Myers ever again. Hell, even I avoid the place when in Florida. Actually, Bonita has gotten too crowded during the season, but then again, I usually go summers since water below 88 degrees is simply too cold for discerning humans. That's when the Germans, Brits and such visit too.

But getting a Brit in the water can be quite a chore. Sharks, you know.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @TheRuddSki  

Wiki has a pretty fascinating bio for those interested in how she got where she is today.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Last I heard, she had gotten a place in my stomping grounds, Bonita Springs, but a quick check on the web said Naples.

Ft. Meyers is too low-class for folks of her income level.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  I thought Fort Myers, but apparently moved to Naples.  I know Judy.  We grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@rusknative @RTGolden1@GuestAs I've only read the story here, ALL I know is he had knee surgery.  Nothing in the story indicates it was knee replacement surgery.

I do not know anything about any knee surgery, you are correct about that.  Having blown my knee a few times, I'm pretty well aware of the pain and discomfort of knee injuries.  Both times in my adult life when I've blown my knee out, shorts were not a work option for me.  I wore pants with a flex brace underneath and the full brace over the pants.

My point still stands: He had OPTIONS other than wearing shorts and he chose to forego those other options in order to get his face and name in the news.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@xdarkridex @RTGolden1@GuestThat all hinges on recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery being classified as a temporary disability, does it not?  If it is true that the tubes 'coming out of his legs' are merely for his ice machine to control swelling, I think his victory is a little less assured.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Oxtail @RTGolden1I don't think he needs to prove he has a temporary impairment to full ability.  The brace and the tubes coming out of his leg should be evidence of that.  He needs to show that wearing shorts is the only option he has for covering the lower half of his body, and that any refusal to grant him audience with the court is discriminatory based on disability.  No surgeon is going to write a note to a judge that their patient, a lawyer, can't afford or be bothered to alter a couple of pairs of slacks and therefore must be allowed to wear shorts.


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