In a dispute that just keeps getting more unusual, suspended Galveston County jurist Christopher Dupuy has been sentenced for 45 days in jail, after a state district judge found Dupuy in contempt and also ordered Dupuy to undergo a mental competency evaluation.
Adam Brown, a partner in Houston's DeToto, Van Buren & Brown who represents Dupuy, says his client will appeal the contempt finding.
Dupuy, judge of Galveston County Court-at-Law No. 3, is currently under indictment for two felony and four misdemeanor charges for actions he allegedly took on the bench, most of them related to disputes he had with family lawyers who appeared in his court. [See " Judge Dismisses Five Indictments Against Dupuy, Stops Pro Se Motions," Texas Lawyer, Aug. 26, 2013, page 4.]
After a Galveston County Grand Jury indicted Dupuy earlier this year, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended him from the bench without pay. The Texas Attorney General's Office also has filed a civil petition in state district court seeking Dupuy's removal from office. The AG's office is prosecuting Dupuy in the criminal cases after the Galveston County District Attorney's Office recused itself from those cases.
The background to the contempt finding, according to an Aug. 28 show-cause order issued by 177th District Court Judge Ryan Patrick, is as follows.
During July 25 and Aug. 13 hearings in his Dupuy's criminal cases, Patrick verbally ordered Dupuy to refrain from discussing the case in the media or posting information about the case on his Facebook page and "to cease making ad hominem attacks on the State's attorney." Patrick also issued a gag order in the case on July 25, which instructed lawyers and parties to cease from making "extrajudicial statements" to the media in the case.
After the July 25 hearing in the case, "Dupuy filed or attempted to file criminal complaints against the State's attorney, David Glickler, in the above case with the Galveston County Criminal District Attorney's Office and the Texas Attorney General's Office," the Aug. 28 show-cause order continues.
Patrick writes in the Aug. 28 order that evidence presented during an Aug. 28 show-cause hearing showed, [among other things], that Dupuy
• filed or attempted to file tampering-with-witnesses and aggravated-perjury charges against Glickler;
• contacted a member of the media and informed him that such complaints had been filed and the substance of those complaints; and
• established that Dupuy "continues to post comments regarding this case and the prosecuting attorney on Facebook."
"Dupuy has not proven any defense or inability to comply with the court's order," Patrick wrote in the order, which sentenced Dupuy to 45 days in jail. "[Dupuy's] refusal to comply with this Court's order has interfered with the dignified and orderly conduct of the business of this Court."
In a separate order also issued on Aug. 28, Patrick found "that there is evidence to support a finding of incompetency" and directs Dupuy to undergo an examination by a mental health expert. [Patrick ordered a Houston doctor to determine by Sept. 19 whether Dupuy is incompetent to stand trial.] If the doctor finds Dupuy is incompetent, Patrick will determine whether it is necessary to impanel a jury for an incompetency hearing under Article 46B.051 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the competency order.
Glickler declines comment, citing the gag order issued in the case.
A Galveston County Sheriff's Department official confirmed that Dupuy was still in custody on Sept. 3 and that he was not scheduled for release until Oct. 11.