Dupuy resigns

A couple of months ago, I chronicled the epic saga going on in Galveston over a County Court at Law Judge who is officially off-his-rockers. In short, this Judge, Christopher Dupuy, has been the host of lots of other issues. In short, I will quote some of what I said back in May:

An exhaustive summary of all of the controversies Dupuy has been involved in in the past roughly two years would be too onerous to detail at this time. Rather, there are three distinct issues currently affecting the Galveston Judge.

First, Dupuy was recently indicted and suspended without pay for eight crimes. These included corruption, oppression, abuse of power and retaliation. After the original arrest and indictment, Dupuy simply showed up for work like nothing had happened. It was only at that time that Dupuy was ordered by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct into official unpaid suspension.

Second, Dupuy has been historically quite erratic and possibly dangerous. A Chron article from February describes Susan Criss, another Galveston judge, fearing for her safety and the safety of her staff after frightening encounters with Dupuy. Judge Criss also claimed that Dupuy had posted inflammatory comments on his personal Facebook page, insinuating that he was carrying handguns “in a zipped pocket in his jacket” to the courthouse regularly.

Lastly, Dupuy has been involved in extensive family drama. During a recent court hearing of which Dupuy was a party to, rather than presiding over, Dupuy was alleged told his then-girlfriend that he was planning on killing his ex-wife and kidnapping his children and bringing them out of the country. FOX26 reports that this girlfriend, Tara Compton, plead the fifth when taking the stand, out of fear for her life. “I’m afraid something bad will come of this. I don’t want to end up having a bad accident after all of this. I fear what could happen to me,” the woman said. Dupuy also allegedly mailed a picture of a gun with a silencer on it to his ex-wife.

This guy is nuts. He was noted a few times to start laughing during court proceedings “when there did not appear to be anything humorous happening.” I had heard stories over the years of an absolutely psychotic lawyer my father once faced off against, but didn’t realize it was Dupuy until somewhat recently. I hope he can get kicked out of office sooner, rather than later, so that Galveston can reclaim some of their dignity.

Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that Dupuy has a reached a plea deal. He has pleaded guilty to abuse of office and perjury charges, and will be held in jail for a short amount of time. Following that, he will serve two years probation. If all goes well –which, if history is any indication, is a huge “if”– the blemishes will be cleared from his record. However, Dupuy, who has been suspended from the bench since the start of the summer, was forced to resign from office as part of the agreement.

Dupuy resigned today from office, ending a tumultuous 2 and 3/4 years in office.The Galveston County Commissioners’ Court will appoint a replacement until the regularly scheduled general election for the seat, in November of 2014.

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Constitutional Amendment

The Texas Tribune reported a long time ago on the Constitutional Amendments that will be going before voters this November, concurrent with Houston’s municipal elections. There will be nine propositions, all based on joint resolutions passed by 2/3 of each house of the State Legislature. Quickly, I’m going to run through all of these amendments.

First up is HJR62, now known as Proposition 1. This prop would authorize the Legislature to create property tax exemptions for military spouses, specifically military widow(er)s.

Next, HJR79, now known as Proposition 2. This prop would clean up part of the constitution by deleting references to the State Medical Education Board and the State Medical Education Fund, both of which have been defunct for many years.

HJR133 will now be known as Proposition 3. This prop would give some tax relief to those storing airplane parts and aerospace manufacturers. Unlike the previous two props, this ballot measure’s devil is in the details. It will not be an easy yes for me, or, I suspect, anyone else in this State.

Following this will be HJR24, now known as Proposition 4. This prop will authorize the Legislature to create property tax exemptions to the homes of disabled veterans or their widow(er)s, if the home was supplied by charity.

Next, SJR18, now known as Proposition 5. The prop, according to the Tribune, “would allow homeowners age 62 or older to use reverse mortgages to purchase residences. The current law only expressly allows traditional mortgages, which lets such homeowners borrow against the equity of their homes. The amendment would allow the prospective borrower to use a Federal Housing Administration-insured home equity conversion mortgage to help buy a new home.” I’m not so sure about how a reverse mortgage would be used to purchase a home, though. I will have to do more research on this one.

Then, of course, there is SJR1, also known as the “Water funding prop,” and Proposition 6. The prop would withdraw about $2Billion from the Rainy Day Fund to help underwrite massive projects ensuring the integrity of this State’s water system for years to come.

HJR87 will appear on the ballot as Proposition 7. The prop will allow municipalities to opt-out of mandatory special elections involving vacancies in City Councils under some conditions. First, the vacancy must be with less than one year remaining the term. Second, the vacancy must involve a City Council with more than a two-year term. Accordingly, Houston will not be affected.

HJR147, now known as Proposition 8, will be another cleanup provision. This prop will remove language about an obsolete hospital district in Hidalgo County.

Finally, SJR42, now known as Proposition 9. This prop expands the options of punishment at the disposal of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for punishing misbehaving jurists. This will definitely help in Galveston, for sure.

The editorial board will be offering endorsements on all of these props, along with the Astrodome referendum.

Off the Kuff & Dos Centavos have more.

Dupuy gets arrested…again

Christopher Dupuy, the Galveston judge who is [expletive deleted] nuts, is back in the news. According to this morning’s Houston Chronicle, the jurist was arrested yet again. Dupuy’s second indictment and arrest was a result of alleged abuse of official capacity. This occurred because Dupuy allegedly gave legal advice to an ex-girlfriend. The practice of law by a sitting judge is deemed an abuse of office.

Perhaps more humorous is that the Galveston County DA, when hearing of this morass, stated “Not only was he helping her out [illegally], but he gave her horrible legal advice that got her in trouble.” Dupuy’s advice was to simply ignore an order from the court on child support. The District Attorney is not prosecuting any of the claims against Dupuy, as there is a conflict of interest. Rather, the Attorney General’s office will be dealing with these matters.

Dupuy has done some strange things in the past, including threatening to murder his ex-wife and abduct their children. In fact, this woman the current controversy revolves around, Tara Compton, is the woman he allegedly confided in about his future murder plot. This woman isn’t all there, either, it seems.

For what it is worth, no one seems to be talking about what happens in the event of Dupuy’s removal. I called the Galveston County Clerk and found out that the removal hearing has been pushed back about a week. In the event of Dupuy’s removal, it would be the Galveston County Commissioner’s Court, not the Governor, who would appoint a replacement. This has caused some confusion, as just about everyone in the State is familiar that the Governor would appoint a new District Attorney. Let me explain.

All 254 counties in the State have their own county officers. This includes a County Judge, 4 Commissioners, a Clerk, a Sheriff, a Tax Assessor, an Attorney and a Treasurer. Additionally, they include at least ONE (1) County Court at Law. Sometimes, multiple positions are consolidated together. Then, there are Districts. Districts could overlap with many counties or just one county. Sometimes, there are multiple districts in just one county. Accordingly, each district has a Judge, a Clerk and an Attorney. Since the districts at least ostensibly represent larger areas than just a county, someone above the County level needed to fill vacancies. Hence, the Governor.

Lehmberg is the District Attorney, even though her district only includes Travis County. Dupuy, meanwhile, is a Judge for the County, not a District in Galveston County.

Dupuy denies murder plot

In one of the more bizarre news stories of the year, Judge Christopher Dupuy, the Galveston County Court at Law jurist who is certifiably a lunatic, has responded to one aspect of the many charges against him. Specifically, that he threatened and plotted to murder his ex-wife and abduct their children overseas.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Dupuy, when asked in court if he had plotted to murder his ex-wife, responded with an emphatic “No.” The woman who first brought these allegations against Dupuy is named Tara Compton, and she is a subsequent ex-girlfriend of Dupuy’s. The Chronicle discusses her invoking 5th amendment rights after being inconsistent in her testimony, but a KRIV story on the same issue alleges this was done out of fear for the woman’s life. The full story also involves the Judge allegedly mailing a picture of his handgun –complete with a silencer– to his ex-wife.

I have written extensively upon this topic here, and will post more updates as they come.