Judges can be really picky about courtroom attire. Some think women dress like ignorant sluts (they were probably showing elbows). Others hate ascots and comfortable shoes. On the other hand, apparently some let lawyers wear rented costumes. Judges are gods and goddesses of their domain and lawyers have to be ready to adhere to the whims of the bench.
Even if the judge’s whims are ridiculous.
Like this judge who got bent out of shape just because a male lawyer was having a pants off dance off in her courtroom….
Actually, mandating that male lawyers wear pants might not seem like the most ridiculous of rules. Nobody wants to see Alan Dershowitz in his skivvies. But in this case, Judge Etta Mullin probably went over the line in tossing James Lee Bright, the Dallas lawyer who left his suit pants at the dry cleaner.
This whole matter started last week when Judge Mullin refused to let Bright inside her courtroom for wearing shorts instead of pants. He was not allowed in the courtroom the following Monday either. Bright isn’t wearing shorts because he particularly wants to, but rather, because he needs to. He got knee surgery two weeks ago and as he told KDFW, “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’m also incapable of putting on long pants by myself.” Bright says that Judge Mullin refused to hear him out and now he’s crying foul.
Tubes going to an ice machine? I’ve never had knee surgery, so I didn’t know they did you up into Mr. Freeze. Medical tubes dangling from the body is a pretty good excuse. In fact, it’s probably a legally cognizable excuse to the extent Bright’s injury might constitute a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Is anyone having flashbacks to Judge Holly Hollenback, who tossed a chemotherapy patient lawyer for wearing a hat?
Bright is looking into an ADA claim, but his first legal salvo is a Sixth Amendment charge, arguing that his client’s constitutional rights have been prejudiced by the judge’s refusal to allow Bright, as counsel, to attend hearings.
And it’s not like shorts can’t be respectful courtroom attire. In Bermuda the lawyers wear shorts to court.
Actually, no, those look stupid. Stick to the disability argument.
Lawyer dismissed for not wearing pants in courtroom [Daily Times]
Earlier: Federal Judge Suggests That Women Lawyers Not Dress Like ‘Ignorant Sluts’
Ladies, Just Because It’s Summertime Doesn’t Mean You Can Show Skin in Court
Judge of the Day: William Sosnay
Lawyer Fined $1,000 For His Shoes
Caption Contest: Seriously, What The Hell Are These Lawyers Wearing?!
Judge of the Day: Holly Hollenbeck