GALVESTON — A judge on Tuesday dismissed five criminal charges — two felonies and three misdemeanors — against a county court judge accused of abusing his office to harm or retaliate against family law attorneys.

The hearing Tuesday at the Galveston County Justice Center, however, involved only seven of the 11 charges against Judge Christopher Dupuy, who was suspended without pay from County Court at Law No. 3.

Although Dupuy still faces six other felony and misdemeanor charges, he left the courtroom smiling Tuesday afternoon with his defense attorneys Adam Banks Brown and M. Fox Curl.

Judge Ryan Patrick, who was assigned to preside over Dupuy’s criminal charges, issued a gag order that prevents the parties from discussing most aspects of the cases with the media.

Two charges stand

The cases Patrick dismissed pertained to allegations, lodged by the state through charges of official oppression and abuse of official capacity, that Dupuy harmed family law attorneys Lori Laird, Greg Enos and Suzanne Schwab-Radcliffe. The attorneys filed motions seeking to have Dupuy removed from cases. Dupuy filed orders that sought jail time and fines for Laird, $26,000 in fines for Enos and to remove Schwab-Radcliffe from a family law case.

Patrick let stand two misdemeanor indictments of official oppression, which accuse Dupuy of subjecting Laird and Schwab-Radcliffe to mistreatment that Dupuy knew was unlawful while acting as a public servant.

Judicial immunity

Brown argued that none of Dupuy’s acts broke judicial immunity. In order to break the immunity, the state would have to show Dupuy committed a nonjudicial act and that the act was absent of all jurisdiction.

“You don’t prosecute someone because you don’t like them,” Brown said. “We don’t do that.”

Brown claimed Dupuy could not be deprived of his immunity because of an error or malicious or corrupt acts.

“Judges are immune from criminal prosecution for acts performed in their official capacity, period,” Brown said. “No courts have allowed criminal prosecution for a judge acting in jurisdiction.”

David Glickler, an assistant attorney general, is prosecuting Dupuy’s criminal charges. Glickler told Patrick that when Dupuy was recused from cases, he then lost jurisdiction, which pierced his judicial immunity. Glickler also accused Dupuy of exercising outside his jurisdiction his bullying power from the bench and subjecting lawyers to harassment, harm, public humiliation and the loss of time and money.

‘He’s committing a crime’

“When he’s violating the law, he’s not committing a judicial act,” Glickler said. “He’s committing a crime. That’s what this case is about.”

Glickler also told Patrick that the case was of monumental importance.

“It would send a message to every judge in the state, in the country, that judges can do absolutely no wrong from the bench,” Glickler said.

Patrick, in making his ruling, said the remedy in the dismissed cases was not a criminal action. Patrick also said there was no case law on the matters and invited both sides to appeal his decision to one of the Houston appellate courts. Both sides were expected to appeal.

No more motions

Patrick also ordered Dupuy to stop filing motions on his own behalf and to abide by the gag order. Patrick accused Dupuy of editorializing in his motions as a way of working around the media control order.

Dupuy still faces charges that were not part of Tuesday’s hearing, including two felony counts of aggravated perjury and two misdemeanor counts of abuse of official capacity.

Dupuy also faces a civil suit, brought by attorney Greg Hughes on behalf of the attorney general’s office, seeking his permanent removal from the bench.

Contact reporter Chris Paschenko at 409-683-5241 or chris.paschenko@galvnews.com.

(14) comments

J. Shaffer


"Brown claimed Dupuy could not be deprived of his immunity because of an error or malicious or corrupt acts.

“Judges are immune from criminal prosecution for acts performed in their official capacity, period,” Brown said. “No courts have allowed criminal prosecution for a judge acting in jurisdiction.”


Am I to understand from these statements that it is LEGAL for a judge to be malicious or corrupt, as long as he is 'in jurisdiction'? Once you get a black robe, you get a free pass? Wow.

"Patrick also said there was no case law on the matters and invited both sides to appeal his decision to one of the Houston appellate courts. Both sides were expected to appeal."

It makes me feel a LITTLE better that no judge has behaved so poorly in the past that we felt the need to create new laws to restrain them. Way to make new case law, Dupuy. You will go in the law books students research. Must be living by the motto:

If I can't serve as a good example, I can at least serve as a horrible warning.

Renee Wick

I must ask how many times you or someone close to you has practiced law in front of Judge Dupuy?

Gary Miller

( Am I to understand from these statements that it is LEGAL for a judge to be malicious or corrupt, as long as he is 'in jurisdiction'? )
If it is legal ask your Democrats why? Democrats wrote all laws until recently.
Many protecting party "hacks" from corrupt conduct.
If you want it changed you'll find Democrats fighting to keep it the way they wrote it.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

At the state level (which is the laws governing this case), Republicans have been in control for years. If the laws that Democrats wrote were so bad, the Republicans have had enough time to at least begin to fix them.

Shelly Pearl

Gee I didn't know that when you were awarded a law degree you were awarded immunity if you were the bad guy. Oh well, live and learn I guess. The oath that a nurse or a doctor takes is first do no harm. Seems the attorney oath is you can do what you want to as long as it is not so blatant you get stoned for it. I mean rocks not drugs!

Janice DupuyGreen

It is amazing how quick folks want to convict someone with no facts before them, where is the presumption of innocence.

All judges have had “absolute immunity” for jurisdictional acts, since the 1600’s. That is why they have appeals courts. Think about it, if all judges could be sued because someone disliked the judge’s verdict. Judges would not feel free to rule based on their interpretation of the law, right or wrong, the alternative is to appeal.

Everyone should hold their opinion until all the facts are known, it maybe that he is innocent and a few have conspired to have him removed, because he will not conform to Galveston politics. The media can be very bias sometimes and embellish the news for readership or political ideology.. Just a thought.

Dwight Burns

What is really amazing TrueFrist, is the fact that too many people bury their heads in the sand because to his or her political bias.

Reggie Barnett

Here is the link to the original charges. Many of the charges are not rumor but court documents taken from official court records. To suggest there are no facts have simply not read the charges. Rumors? Read for yourself.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9RaRTko0j09a0xpLTREM0JacnM/edit

Gary Scoggin

... still waiting for someone to admit that they voted for this guy... (Maybe TruthFirst will be the first one?)

Reggie Barnett

When an attorney files for recusal the Judge can either accept or deny the recusal. The action is immediately sent to another judge for a recusal hearing. Once that happens the Judge no longer can rule on the case. Judge Dupuy filed contempt charges against attorney's Laird and Enos on separate cases. This is when he violated the law, official misconduct he couldn't file contempt charges on a case he had been recused of. There were 6 separate instances of official misconduct and 3 of official oppression after he was recused. Retaliation by contempt of court charges against an attorney who files to have a judge not hear a case is misconduct.

Dwight Burns

Well stated.

Because one wants something to be, facts often get in the way. .

A duck is a duck at the end of the day. All the makeup on the planet will not change this fact.

George Croix

I didn't know anyone had asked, GS.
Your wait is over.
I voted for him.
It's not my first mistake.
Anyone afraid to admit they screwed up is likely to be a person who's easily intimidated.
The result will be exactly like when I got really bad fish and chips at a Texas City purveyor of them who's name I won't mention.

Gary Scoggin

Gecroix -- we have a winner. And I respect your labeling it a mistake.

George Croix

I can sleep better now.[smile]

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