Criss: People are afraid of Dupuy
By Chris Paschenko | Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:00 am
GALVESTON — A district court judge said Tuesday that county employees have told her and others that they’re afraid County Court Judge Christopher Dupuy will become violent and hurt or kill someone.
Judge Susan Criss, of Galveston’s 212th District Court, also said County Court Judge Barbara Roberts asked for armed security for a judge’s meeting in January. Criss claims Roberts made the request because of concerns that Dupuy would act in a manner that threatened the safety of the judiciary.
Roberts, however, said in a Tuesday telephone interview with The Daily News that her request for a bailiff had nothing to do with Dupuy and that she made it for general safety reasons, as all the judges meet in one room of the Justice Center. Roberts said she was positive Dupuy didn’t attend the meeting.
Roberts also said she was not aware of any threats involving Dupuy and had a cordial relationship with him.
In an emailed response to The Daily News, Dupuy called Criss a “political nutcase” and an “embarrassment” and threatened to sue The Daily News if it published the story.
“I wonder what her story would be if she was under oath and subject to perjury,” Dupuy said. “Perhaps she and her ex-husband, (Greg) Enos, should simply grow up in lieu of their recent malicious political lies.”
In a subsequent email to The Daily News, Dupuy said, “Rest assured I will sue you, Criss and the paper if any of her false, malicious lies are published.”
Criss said she sent her concerns in a letter via email to county officials, including Criminal District Attorney Jack Roady, County Judge Mark Henry and Sheriff Henry Trochesset.
Criss claims Dupuy made statements on Facebook, an online social network, and to his children about acquiring and carrying firearms, including a rifle and a handgun, and concealing them in a zipped pocket in his jacket.
“I understand the district attorney has a taped recording of Judge Dupuy’s children discussing this,” Criss wrote in the letter.
Criss says she sent the email to ask what elected officials are doing to protect everyone at the courthouse.
DA to meet with sheriff, county judge
Roady declined to discuss specifics of the email.
“However, please know I do take her concerns seriously and will be meeting with the sheriff and county judge to address them,” Roady said.
Criss claims people she’s known for years have expressed their concerns.
“Courthouse employees and attorneys are discussing numerous accounts of erratic behavior and mood swings,” Criss wrote. “Media accounts are describing his behavior as bizarre.”
Criss said she never expected to have to write an email to elected officials, asking how they intend to protect the public, the other elected officials and courthouse employees from a member of the judiciary.
“When people are coming up to me unsolicited and making those comments, that’s a red flag to me,” Criss said in a phone conversation with The Daily News.
Criss voiced similar concerns with Jason Murray, a former district clerk, who resigned in April 2012 amid criminal charges related to family violence.
“And in the end, those in charge stepped up and did what was necessary to protect everyone from danger,” Criss wrote.
Both Criss and Roberts said they’d be willing to pass through metal detectors to enter the courthouse.
“I think all the judges have said they’re willing to go through that,” Roberts said.
Judge seeks to ‘tighten’ security
Roberts, however, said she believed there were things that could be done to tighten courthouse security.
The sheriff’s office provides security at the Justice Center. A sheriff’s office spokesman had no immediate comment on the matter.
Dupuy has garnered attention for actions both before and after he took office. He was under a six-month probated suspension from the state bar when he ran for election. The bar found he committed professional misconduct.
Dupuy is also 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.
Dupuy has twice filed for bankruptcy, once in 2004, and again shortly after the sanction, but his last bankruptcy was dismissed in December on his request. Dupuy listed $299,772 as the amount owed to creditors, including attorney fees, credit card companies, four civil suits, two foreclosures, two repossessions and two student loans.
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. The judge ultimately recused himself from one case but held her in contempt and wants an administrative judge to sentence her to 110 days in jail.
Roady announced Monday that his office is forwarding complaints against Dupuy to the state attorney general’s office, including one from Enos that accused Dupuy of possibly abusing his official capacity. Enos accused Dupuy of using county equipment to provide legal assistance to his fiancée, who was involved in a custody dispute. Enos represents the father in the dispute.
Dupuy has said there is no merit to the allegation.