Texas Attorney with No Pants in Court Claims Discrimination

Texas Attorney with No Pants in Court Claims Discrimination

An attorney from Dallas, Texas, James Lee Bright, was banned from presenting his case in County Judge Etta Mullin’s courtroom because he was not wearing pants. Bright recently had knee surgery, and was ordered by his doctor to wear shorts instead of long pants while he heals–Judge Mullin punished him for this, he claims. The attorney has now asked that the judge be removed from the case.

Judge Mullin barred Bright from her courtroom twice in April for wearing shorts instead of pants. Mullin allegedly refused to consider Bright’s explanation for his attire. 

“At the time, I was only 10 days out from reconstructive knee surgery,” Bright told Breitbart Texas. “Doctors had taken out chunks of my bone. I approached Judge Mullin and said, ‘Your Honor, you know me. You know that I never dress this way. On this one occasion could you let me finalize my client’s case?’ And in a very dismissive way, she said to me, ‘Not in shorts, Counselor’.”

“I tried to explain the well-documented difficulties that I will have in the short term,” Bright said. “I can’t put pants on by myself, I can’t tie my own shoes, I had tubes coming out of the brace. But she wouldn’t even let me explain.”

He continued, “I am typically very well-dressed. I’ve never been a jean-wearer to court. The legal profession should hold ourselves out higher…I don’t believe in casual Fridays, I don’t believe showing up to court dressed like the client. That’s respect for the court.”

Bright was in court that day, despite his knee recovery, to handle what should have been a “simple case.”

“Judge Mullin just decided to pick this battle,” he said. 

The Dallas attorney is currently considered temporarily handicapped, and has obtained a handicap parking permit. He is currently looking into the Americans with Disabilities Act to see if it applies to his situation. 

“I am exploring that avenue,” Bright said. “I’ve had people tell me that we should look into that as a possible remedy. But right now I’m focused exclusively on representing my client, at least in the short term.”

Bright claimed that Mullin has a long history of abusing her power as County Judge. He mentioned that there have been numerous Motions to Recuse her long before this particular incident arose. 

“This is unfortunately the latest in her long-running mode of personal animus against certain defense attorneys,” he said. 

Bright mentioned an incident earlier this year, where he was forced to pay $200 out of his own pocket for her court to accept his client’s plea offer. “My client didn’t have the money to do it,” Bright said. “He is basically a day laborer, and she had it explained to her in chambers that he didn’t have the money. I said, ‘Judge he needs to move forward.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Do what you have to do, Counselor’.”

Other attorneys have had similar negative experiences with Mullen, he said. But a lot of them are too afraid to fight back. 

“There has been a general feeling that attorneys have been trepidacious to fight her because they don’t want to rock the boat. When you cross her, she bullies you…What she’s doing to me now, it represents so much more than just this singular instance. There is a long history in Dallas of her functionally acting as a tyrant and a bully. After speaking with other attorneys and my family, I decided that this bully has to be stopped.”

“Judge Mullin is a part of this wave of Democrats that have been elected in Dallas,” Bright concluded. “We’re one of only three counties, in terms of big cities in Texas that are liberal now. If this is what they’re trying to do, in terms of turning Texas blue, the rest of the country should wake up and be afraid.”

Judge Mullin did not return Breitbart Texas’ calls. 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate