Texas Judge Resigns, Pleads Guilty to Perjury
GALVESTON (CN) - A Texas judge resigned from the bench and pleaded guilty to charges he abused his official powers to retaliate against attorneys appearing before him and other officials.
Galveston County Court at Law Judge Christopher Dupuy pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of abuse of official capacity and a misdemeanor count of perjury in a deal with prosecutors, Texas Lawyer reported.
In exchange, he will receive two years of deferred adjudication on the abuse of official capacity charge and was sentenced to ten days in jail on the perjury charge -- a sentence Dupuy has already served.
A letter of resignation filed with county judge Mark Henry states Dupuy's resignation is effective as of 5 p.m. on Friday.
At a competency hearing where the plea bargain was presented, District Judge Ryan Patrick told Dupuy he has "brought incredible dishonor to yourself, your name and the profession."
He added: "As you stand here now in your green jumpsuit, you put yourself in this position. I don't feel sorry for you, but I feel sorry for your children for this public humiliation. Through this episode, you've been an embarrassment to the bench and to attorneys."
Dupuy was charged in May with two felony counts of obstruction or retaliation, two misdemeanor counts of official oppression and four misdemeanor counts of abuse of official capacity.
Later that month, Dupuy was suspended by the State Commission of Judicial Conduct due to his pending criminal trial.
Prosecutors dropped the remaining charges against Dupuy as part of the plea agreement.
In May, attorney Greg Hughes, of Galveston, filed civil suit against Dupuy, asking for his removal from office and accusing him of incompetence and oppression. Dupuy failed to obey an order from a state court of appeals, threatened the district clerk while attempting to interfere in his divorce case and retaliated against attorneys by abusing his power, the complaint states.
"He has ruined dozens of lives over the last two years with ridicules, horrible rulings he has made," Hughes told the Houston Chronicle at the time.
In one case, Dupuy is was accused of official oppression against attorney Lori Laird, who represents his ex-wife in a custody dispute over their children. Laird said he retaliated against her trying to record his testimony during a deposition by driving to the courthouse, drawing up a contempt order against her and giving her 120 days in jail. Laird then appealed and the contempt order was tossed.
Hughes also accused Dupuy of being absent from work for at least 42 days during 2012, days that were not accounted as leave, holidays or continuing education.
"An elected judge clearly has the duty to attend regular working hours of the courts to hear and decide cases on his docket," the 49-page petition for removal stated. "Respondent's absences from work exhibit intentional neglect of his office and duties and thereby show gross carelessness in the discharge of his duties."
Adam Brown, with DeToto Van Buren of Houston, told the Chronicle Thursday his client "is not a monster."
"He's just a guy who lost his temper," Brown said.