White-Collar Crime

Suspended Texas judge accused of misusing powers against lawyers takes misdemeanor plea and resigns

A suspended Texas judge who has been serving a 45-day contempt term for violating a gag order has taken a plea in a criminal case related to his alleged abuse of his powers against lawyers who appeared before him.

Courthouse News reports that Galveston County Court at Law Judge Christopher Dupuy tendered his resignation, effective Friday, in a Thursday letter (PDF) that did not give a reason for his action.

The Houston Chronicle said he took a plea Thursday in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor perjury and abuse of official capacity charges and was given two years of probation and deferred adjudication. If he successfully completes his probation, he won’t have a conviction on his record.

He was also given 10 days in jail on the perjury count and 20 days on the abuse of capacity count. However, credit for time served means he will not have to serve any additional time, reports the Associated Press. Dupuy is scheduled for release on Sunday.

Dupuy was initially accused in May in a civil suit by a local lawyer of incompetence and oppression. That was almost immediately followed by felony indictments, as the state attorney general’s office sought his removal from office.

“He has ruined dozens of lives over the last two years with ridiculous, horrible rulings he has made,” said attorney Greg Hughes, who filed the removal petition against Dupuy, earlier this year.

“Dupuy is not a monster,” his lawyer, Adam Brown, told the Chronicle this week. “He’s just a guy who lost his temper.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com (May 2013): “Judge is criminally charged with misusing his official powers against lawyers”

Southeast Texas Record (June 2013): “Dupuy arrested again, faces new indictment”

ABAJournal.com (Sept. 6, 2013): “Suspended judge is sentenced for contempt and ordered to undergo competency exam”

Tex Parte Blog (Texas Lawyer): “Gag order blues: Suspended Judge Christopher Dupuy loses in two appellate courts on Sept. 12 “

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