DALLAS — A visiting judge this morning dismissed a protective order against state District Judge Carlos Cortez, who was accused of attacking his former girlfriend at his home in late December.
The decision by visiting State District Richard Mays came after Dallas County prosecutors withdrew from the protective order case.
Last month, a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict Cortez on the felony assault charge. Maggie Strother, the judge’s former girlfriend, claimed that he tried to strangle her and throw her over a balcony in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2013. In court documents, Cortez has alleged she was mixing prescription drugs and alcohol and tried to jump from his balcony.
During the brief hearing, an attorney who has represented Strother objected to the dismissal of the protective order.
Ted Steinke, the attorney, asked Mays to postpone the hearing so he could consult with Strother. He said that an email sent by prosecutors didn't clearly indicate that prosecutors would be withdrawing from the case.
Prosecutor Kendall Costello disagreed with Steinke’s characterization of the email, saying it made clear that Strother would need to find other representation.
Pete Schulte, one of three attorneys representing Cortez in court, angrily responded to Steinke and accused him of grandstanding.
"He knew this was going to happen,” Schulte said. "We asked that you hold his feet to the fire.”
The judge closed the hearing by dismissing the protective order.
“It’s disposed of,” the judge said.
Strother was not present during the hearing.
The protective order had barred Cortez from going within 500 feet of the woman’s home or communicating with her or other family members.
Steinke said they are considering asking a family court for a protective order.
At least for now, the judge’s ruling appears to bring to a close what has been a bitter, he said-she said battle between Cortez, his former girlfriend and their respective attorneys.
Last week, Cortez lost his reelection bid for the 44th Judicial District Court in Dallas County. He has held the post since 2006.