The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office has stopped investigating complaints against a county court at law judge, choosing instead to forward those complaints to the state attorney general’s office.
On Monday, Criminal District Attorney Jack Roady said his office a couple of weeks ago forwarded all complaints against Christopher Dupuy and would send any new complaints to the attorney general’s office as well.
Roady declined to comment on the number or nature of the complaints against Dupuy, who was elected judge of County Court at Law No. 3 in a 2010 Republican landslide.
Dupuy called the complaints politically based and baseless.
Dupuy has garnered attention for actions both before and after he took office. He was under a six-month probated suspension from the state bar when he ran for election. The bar found he committed professional misconduct.
Dupuy is also named in a $500,000 fraud and malpractice lawsuit that accused him of engaging in conduct that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages against his own clients. A judge sanctioned Dupuy $7,500 in relation to that lawsuit, saying he filed motions solely for the purpose of delay and without evidence.
Dupuy has twice filed for bankruptcy, once in 2004, and again shortly after the sanction, but his last bankruptcy was dismissed in December on his request. Dupuy listed $299,772 as the amount owed to creditors, including attorney fees, credit card companies, four civil suits, two foreclosures, two repossessions and two student loans.
Earlier this month, Dupuy held an attorney in contempt in connection with motions she filed seeking to recuse the judge from her family law cases. The judge ultimately recused himself from one case but held her in contempt and wants an administrative judge to sentence her to 110 days in jail.
Complaint made public
Attorney Greg Enos said he sent a complaint to Roady’s office, saying Dupuy possibly abused his official capacity. Enos accused Dupuy of providing legal assistance to his fiancee, who was involved in child custody dispute.
Enos, who represents the father in the custody dispute, claimed his office received a fax from equipment from Dupuy’s office and that the judge might have used county equipment to help in the family law matter in violation of the state’s penal code related to abuse of official capacity.
Enos’ complaint was among those forwarded to the attorney general.
Roady said he decided to forward the complaints to the attorney general because Dupuy presides over one-third of the thousands of misdemeanor cases prosecuted by his office annually. The district attorney’s office would have to seek Dupuy’s recusal from hundreds of criminal cases if it were to continue investigating the allegations, Roady said.
“Doing so would cost thousands of tax dollars to hire visiting judges to handle Judge Dupuy’s criminal docket in the meantime,” Roady said.
Roady also will forward the complaints to avoid any appearance of impropriety or bias. It’s appropriate for an outside agency to assume the investigations and any subsequent prosecution that could become necessary, Roady said.
Dupuy: No merit to allegations
Many claims, rumors and allegations fail to have merit, Dupuy said.
“Yet all complaints, even the frivolous kind made by political adversaries, must be investigated prior to being dismissed,” Dupuy said. “So, even when someone lies or files a frivolous complaint, the DA is still forced to investigate it.”
Dupuy declined to say whether the state attorney general’s office has contacted him; however, Dupuy said Roady’s office likely concluded that the political shenanigans, originated from a few disgruntled people, have wasted too much of the district attorney’s time and budget.
“If it were otherwise, or if Mr. Roady did not have confidence in this court to perform its duties, Mr. Roady could have and would have taken other steps,” Dupuy said. “There’s a good reason the DA’s office chose not to continue their investigation into Mr. Enos’ baseless claim.”
Dupuy also blamed “the news” for using the word “investigation” to imply something sinister when the word is a “term of art” used to learn the truth, he said. Dupuy also accused “the media” of rarely printing follow-up stories or seeking to correct negative impressions it leaves with its readers, especially when the story involves politics or elected officials.