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

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.)

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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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson