The judge who was indicted on criminal charges yesterday was back on the bench in Galveston County today. Family Law Judge Christopher Dupuy is now out of jail on a $19,000 bond. He had to surrender his passport before being released but he is back at work today. Some are saying a judge who's charged with everything from abuse of power to felony obstruction doesn't belong on the bench. Dupuy has held his title for two years. A day after he was charged with two counts of Felony Obstruction or Retaliation, four counts of Abuse of Official Capacity and 2 counts of Official Oppression, Dupuy is back on the bench. "These are very serious charges," says University of Houston Law Professor Robert Schuwerk. Schuwerk says a judge carrying out vendettas or using his or her power for private gain goes against the very title they carry.
"The problem with these charges goes beyond how serious a criminal offense they are because they are essentially attacking the basic premise we like to have judges operate under which is they will set personal biases and prejudices aside and be fair and impartial," explains Schuwerk.
According to the indictments Judge Dupuy retaliated against his ex-wife's custody lawyer Lori Laird. Laird says he unfairly held her in contempt of court and even ordered her to 220 days in jail.
Several Galveston attorney's accused Dupuy of retaliating and ruling against them if he doesn't like them. Schuwerk says these accusations against a judge are not taken lightly. "Those are almost uniformly dealt with very harshly by the disciplinary authorities," Schuwerk explains.
Judge Dupuy hasn't been found guilty of anything so he can continue to work. Professor Schuwerk says Dupuy could legally be suspended from the bench with pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges but that has not happened. Dupuy is expected in court for an unrelated custody hearing tomorrow.
Update: George Parnham Dupuy's attorney:
Galveston County Judge Christopher Dupuy suspended without pay indefinitely by the Tx. State Judicial Ethics Commission.