County Court Judge Christoper Dupuy has emerged as the best entertainment in town. From one day to the next, you just never know what his next zany caper will be.
At the time he was running for office in 2010, he was serving probation from the state bar association for professional misconduct. He is named in a $500,000 fraud and malpractice lawsuit that accuses him of engaging in conduct that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages to his own law clients. Stemming from that suit, a judge ordered Dupuy to pay $7,500 in sanctions and accused him of filing motions for the purpose of delay and without sufficient evidence. He was even sued by his own uncle for not paying back a personal loan in the amount of $25,000!
Shortly after the sanctions, Dupuy filed bankruptcy, his second such filing since 2004. In the latest bankruptcy filing, the judge listed $299,772 as the amount owed to creditors. That included fees from attorneys, credit card companies, four civil suits, two foreclosures, two repossessions and two student loans. The bankruptcy was dismissed in December.
Dupuy was removed from a divorce case last fall in which one of the lawyers had been the attorney for Dupuy’s ex-wife in the couple’s divorce case. Dupuy threw the lawyer out of court, then reportedly questioned his client.
An appeals court recently reversed Dupuy’s judgement in a lawsuit, awarding over $600,000 to a plaintiff in a suit against Del Monte Fruit. In a separate case, the appeals court also reversed his judgements in a case involving Citibank.
Then last month, Judge Dupuy tried to have attorney Lori Laird thrown in jail for filing a motion asking that Dupuy be removed from a divorce case. Laird stated in the motion that Dupuy was prejudiced against her, and that she could not get a fair shake in his court.
Her motion gave reasons why she felt compelled to seek a change. Dupuy was so angered by the filing that he leveled charges of criminal contempt against Laird.
A few days ago, Laird’s case came to court. In a strange “star chamber” hearing, no one from the District Attorney’s office presented charges against Laird. The DA’s table was unoccupied. There was a district attorney there, but he sat in the spectators section, apparently there just to enjoy the show. Not to be undone by the lack of a prosecutor, Dupuy himself charged Laird with criminal contempt. Since there were no witnesses, he also testified that Laird’s motion to recuse was proof of criminal contempt. He invited her attorneys to answer the charges, but they responded that there were no witnesses to cross examine, and that no proper case or admissible evidence had been presented. Dupuy didn’t let that stop him. He held Laird in contempt and recommended 110 days in jail. Laird was not jailed, but was released on personal bond according to state law. Her sentencing, if any, must be imposed by a state court judge.
Also last month, the judge asked the County Commission to replace the administrator of the county justice administration, Bonnie Quiroga. For her part, Quiroga said that Dupuy was retaliating against her because of “actions taken by me and my office with regard to possible wrongdoing, including making inappropriate purchases on the county-issued credit card, discussions regarding abuse of judicial authority, bullying and intimidation, retaliation toward both female employees and female private attorneys, security violations, misuse of county equipment for personal use, and assisting a litigant and use of common areas of the courts building for non-court related matters.”
Meanwhile, the District Attorney is investigating claims that Dupuy used software and/or equipment belonging to the county to help his girlfriend with a child custody case. State law defines such activity as Abuse of Official capacity. Dupuy has been dating the woman, who is a dental hygienist and is not represented by an attorney in the custody case. Legal documents sent to the other party’s attorney from her were allegedly faxed from a phone number used by Dupuy in his official capacity.
Depuy seems to think it’s all a massive political conspiracy. “The political disruptions of my ex-wife and her attorneys are nonsense,” he said. “Every reasonable attorney in the county knows it. Indeed, the facts and evidence have always shown that every political allegation made has never had any factual basis. I’m not calling these handful of people liars, just that they have an awful hard time being truthful.”
And the clown show continues. Maybe I will be arrested for writing this article…