I got a text message last week from a friend of mine who is involved in the legal profession in another part of the state.

Normally when he and I talk (or text) it’s about college football or when he and his family might be planning to visit Galveston.

This particular text message, however, simply read:

“What the hell is going on with your judges in Galveston?”

Which is the same question a lot of people locally are asking in light of the controversy involving County Court Judge Christopher Dupuy and District Court Judge Susan Criss.

Criss claims individuals who work at the courthouse consider Dupuy a safety threat and sent an email to that effect to county commissioners recently asking they take appropriate measures to ensure the courthouse is safe.

“Courthouse employees and attorneys are discussing numerous accounts of erratic behavior and mood swings,” Criss wrote. “Media accounts are describing his behavior as bizarre.”

Dupuy, for his part, has denied Criss’ assertions, calling her a “political nutcase” and an “embarrassment” and threatening to sue The Daily News if it published the story.

These are but the latest concerns involving Dupuy, who has been no stranger to controversy since being elected to the bench as part of the local Republican landslide in the 2010 general election.

In fact, Dupuy was under a six-month probated suspension from the Texas Bar Association when he ran for election. The bar found he had committed professional misconduct.

Not long after taking office, questions began to surface over whether Dupuy even met the residency requirement to qualify for placement on the Republican Party primary ballot in Galveston County.

Dupuy has also been 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 connection to that lawsuit, saying he filed motions solely for the purpose of delay and without evidence.

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. Dupuy ultimately recused himself from one case but held her in contempt and wants an administrative judge to sentence her to 110 days in jail.

Additional complaints against Dupuy, including one accusing him of possibly abusing his official capacity, were recently forwarded to the state attorney general’s office from the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.

While you could certainly make the argument the allegations from Criss could be politically motivated (Dupuy is a Republican on the ropes, and Criss is a high-profile Democratic), it’s hard to imagine all of the allegations that have been made against Dupuy since he took office have a political agenda behind them.

Just over a year ago, Editor Heber Taylor wrote an opinion piece for the newspaper saying Dupuy should resign from the bench due to the controversy surrounding his relatively brief tenure.

Dupuy has done very little since then to change our position on that. In fact, we feel more strongly than ever that he should resign for the good of the county.

Patrick Graham

Patrick Graham is president and publisher of The Daily News.

(10) comments

Robert Buckner

Why would Judge Criss lie as Dupuy accuses her of doing? If GDN is only printing the facts then it shouldn't need to be concerned with a lawsuit. I know I'm tired of reading about questionable conduct from the courthouse.

Kevin Lang

If I've got this straight, Judge Dupuy is the epitome of professionalism and impartiality, with an unquestionably even keel and an ever sunny disposition. He exemplifies class, dignity, and honor, not only to the bench, but in the halls of the courthouse and to all of his social interactions. Because he knows this, and knows all of that is indisputable, that makes statements from the GCDN and Judge Criss horrible attempts at slander, most likely driven by spite and jealousy.

Every one of us that is even considering not voting for his reelection should be ashamed, committed, and sued. We deserve everything we get should we run this fine judge out of office.

Cindi Mayville

Wow, someone has handed you a big glass of the Dupuy kool-aide haven't they?!?
I think you need to do your homework on this guy before you start trying to back him up- you will change your mind quick...unless the kool-aide has gotten too far into your system already.

Chris Gimenez

Uh samsam, Kevin's being sarcastic in his comment. He's not supporting Dupuy but rather poking him for his narcissistic view of his conduct while judge. I don't think even the GOP hard-liners will be supporting Dupuy on his next go round.

Chris Gimenez

Since I don't and won't subscribe to the GCDN I can't read the full text of what Mr. Graham wrote. I don't need to however because I understand the problem that Mr. Graham and Hubris Taylor keep trying to ignore. It's not that elected officials behave badly and in some instances criminally, that happens everywhere. The real issue is why this newspaper absolutely refuses to question District Attorney Jack Roady as to why he refuses to carry out the duty of his office to either investigate criminal complaints against elected officials or forward the complaints to a special investigator/prosecutor until it becomes an embarassment to Galveston County justice and apparent proof of his lack of will to administer that justice fairly and equitably.

Jack Roady is as culpable as anyone in allowing these repeated problems with elected officials to reach the crescendo they have because he is so loathe to be a District Attorney for all the people of Galveston County. When Hubris Taylor took me to task for exposing Roady's behavior, it was a smokescreen to keep from knowing or understanding or making public the real issues with the District Attorney's Office.

Referring complaints-that are criminal in nature-to the State Bar rather than investigating them is a cop-out. Any questions from the GCDN about how we got to the point we're at now? Not a one. Is the GCDN asking what the criminal complaints against Dupuy are, how many there are, when they started, and how they've been handled by the D.A.? Not a chance because that would bring into question the actions of the District Attorney who has demonstrated in too many cases already his inability to handle the responsibilities of his office. Dupuy, Murray, etc. are just pathetic diversions from the real problem in Galveston County.

As for asking for Dupuy's resignation, that's just faux journalism. Get off the righteousness stump Mr. Graham and start looking behind the curtain to see what's really happening.

Raymond Lewis

No matter the party, this person seems not a good individual. He obviously cannot smell his stench and does not want to. What's worst he has convinced himself there is no stench. Pretty sad at some level. He IS tumbling whether he likes it or not.

Chris Gimenez

Mr. Graham knows Dupuy isn't about to resign his office and he'll be on the bench until the next election. What Graham and the GCDN doesn't recognize-or refuses to acknowledge-is that Roady essentially ensured that Dupuy will remain on the bench until the people remove him. By sending this to the AG's Office rather than employing a special investigator and special prosecutor, District Attorney Roady can say that he's finally acting on the numerous complaints against Dupuy even while thumbing his nose at the complainants.

The AG's Office is already overwhelmed with public corruption investigations and this one isn't going to take any precedence over the others which means it will take years to investigate and prosecute. The next election cycle will come and go and Dupuy will never be prosecuted. It's a barely clever attempt to feign taking action by Roady while pulling the wool over the public's eyes. Alas, the GCDN has been relegated to writing opinion pieces trying to convince the public it's taking a tough stand on Dupuy rather than asking Roady the truly hard questions about these recent developments. Or maybe they really don't get it either.

Kevin Lang

How much political backing does Judge Dupuy still have from the high levels of Republican Leadership in the county? From where I sit, Barbara Meeks, Ken Clark, et al, have been very conspicuous in their silence regarding issues attached to Judge Dupuy. It seems to me that statements of "No Confidence" or similar remarks signifying a political jettisoning would improve this cynic's belief that he might not survive a re-election run. It seems to me that the longer this goes on, the more it becomes an issue that Ken Clark will have to deal with during his re-election campaign. How much will it cost Ken Clark in political capital to support Dupuy's re-election, and, probably more importantly is, how much mud can Dupuy fling at Clark if Clark throws Dupuy under the bus? After all, Clark is a big reason that Dupuy got elected in the first place.

Gary Scoggin

When was the last anyone claimed to be a Dupuy supporter?

Miss Priss

A mentor, excellent businessman and fine Galveston County citizen who is not involved in politics got a jury summons and low and behold got Dupuy's court. Let me tell you, this guy was not too jazzed about doing jury duty in his court after seeing all of the news on Dupuy. Fear!

I can guarantee you... If people like are aware of this issue this man not get elected and folks like this live in Ken Clark area and will not vote for him as they used to as well. if Clark draws an opponent, he might face a real challenge this time around.

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