Ex-Judge Chris Dupuy Was Arrested With a Lot of Weapons, but Should He Stay in Jail?
Andrew J. Nilsen
On June 25, 2015, Scott Hardcastle, a Harris County Sheriff’s investigator with a search warrant and a growing sense of impatience, kicked open the door to the League City apartment belonging to a disgraced former judge.
As Hardcastle would later testify at the ex-judge’s bond hearing, Hardcastle had knocked on the door and announced police presence for quite a while, but the only response he got was muffled questions from inside: Who is it? What do you want?
Hardcastle and officials from the League City Police Department, Texas Rangers and Galveston County District Attorney’s office were there to execute a warrant on 43-year-old Chris Dupuy; authorities believed he created escort ads that purported to be posted by a former girlfriend and a woman whom Dupuy was once interested in. The ads featured the women’s photos, and made clear that at least one of them was “VERY FETISH FRIENDLY.” (To add insult to injury, the women weren’t even portrayed as high-class: The “sexy nurse” charged a mere $70 per half hour.)
Hardcastle spoke to the women, who insisted they didn’t place the ads, were not in fact prostitutes and certainly didn’t welcome calls from creepy dudes seeking the “full satisfaction” on display. Both women immediately suspected Dupuy.
In his affidavit, Hardcastle explained that he had worked backwards from the ads to trace masked IP addresses in Venezuela, Colombia and Germany. The sophisticated software allowing the user to conceal his location had a decidedly unsophisticated name: hidemyass.com. According to Hardcastle’s affidavit, he was ultimately able to reveal that ass as Dupuy, a Galveston County judge who resigned from the bench in 2013 after pleading guilty to perjury and abuse of office. He was still on probation. In a stinging public rebuke, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct accused him of witness-tampering and bullying county officials, among other things.
For Dupuy, 2013 had been a rough year all-around: Right before the abuse of office and perjury charges, his ex-girlfriend accused him of plotting to kill his ex-wife, with whom he had a young daughter and son. Fortunately for Dupuy, after some outside influence, that ex-girlfriend adjusted her story. She said she didn’t take the intricate plans to have the ex-wife whacked and flee to New Zealand seriously. It was just something people said. After that, authorities didn’t seem to take it seriously either.
But now Dupuy was back on the authorities’ radar, and after Hardcastle kicked open the apartment door, what he found would lead the Galveston County prosecutors to believe they were dealing with someone who was capable of something more insidious than a nasty online prank.
Hardcastle saw Dupuy in profile, standing in the kitchen. The investigator couldn’t see if Dupuy was holding anything. When Hardcastle told Dupuy to raise his hands, a single bullet fell from Dupuy’s right hand onto the counter.
Hardcastle asked where the gun was. Dupuy told him. The investigator peeked into the kitchen and saw the 9 mm pistol, which had been within Dupuy’s reach. A laser sight was attached.
In the bathroom, in a laptop bag tucked between the toilet and the tub, Hardcastle found the following: another laser-sighted 9 mm pistol (with a silencer); four heavy-grade yellow zip-ties; a 950,000-volt stun gun shaped like a pair of brass knuckles; a large knife; magazines for the handguns; duct tape; and a pair of black gloves. Rounding out the inventory were a few campfire starters and a lighter; a passport; and a GPS tracking device.
Officers collected the bag, as well as a laptop and phones. When a computer forensics analyst with the Galveston County Police Department checked the laptop’s online search history, he discovered that someone had looked for “best sniper pistols,” “best assassin pistols,” “french double garrotte wire” and “how to use a garrote.”
Dupuy was charged with two counts of online impersonation. For these two nonviolent offenses, bail was set at $600,000, later reduced to $400,000. Dupuy’s attorney at his July bond hearing, the impressively named Fox Curl, pointed out that one of Dupuy’s fellow inmates, charged with murder, had a $100,000 bond. Curl said that charges against his client basically amounted to a digital version of writing someone’s number on a bathroom wall.
In meticulous, hand-printed motions filed from jail, Dupuy has denied creating the escort ads, characterizing the charges as “shakier than a drunken three-legged mule.” And Dupuy’s filings make it clear where the accusations are really coming from: A few years into Dupuy’s bizarre reign, someone using the Facebook alias “Don Tequila” began critiquing the judge. According to Dupuy’s recent filings, he now believes he is the target of the “Don Tequila Society,” a shadowy consortium of private attorneys, prosecutors, county officials and judges who want him silenced for his dogged determination to stamp out corruption in Galveston County. According to Dupuy, his court-appointed attorney belonged to the Don Tequila Society, which is why he was of no use.
Dupuy’s battle is a lonely one. No friends or family members have raised money for bond, which Dupuy claims was set unconstitutionally high. His most outspoken advocate appears to be his mother, whom he calls Janice.
He’s also adopted a first-name relationship with the judge in his case, Galveston County District Judge (and purported Don Tequila Society member) Michelle Slaughter. An October 28 letter from Dupuy to “Michelle” reads, “While you’re still cloaked in a robe, you should endeavor to start following the law.”
On November 9, Dupuy issued another missive, this time “for the public record.” It accuses the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office of destroying and hiding exculpatory evidence. It ends with a famous quote from a poem by Walter Scott — a warning that serves as the perfect introduction to a story about a subpar lawyer who became a judge by a fluke, and then used that power to terrorize his perceived enemies.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave,” Dupuy wrote, “when first we practice to deceive!”
Before all the drama about allegedly wanting to kill his ex-wife, fake his death and flee to New Zealand; before holding weird, Kafka-esque inquisitions in his court; before the bankruptcies to stave off judgments against him; before a fellow Galveston judge told county officials that many in the courthouse were afraid that Dupuy could “become violent and hurt or kill someone,” Chris Dupuy was a broke father of two in a bitter, protracted divorce and custody dispute.
He was also a struggling attorney whose website bore only a tenuous relationship with the truth.
In 2009, when the Texas State Bar began sniffing around, Dupuy’s site boasted that “Dupuy & Associates is quickly becoming one of Texas’s premier full service law firms.” One would have expected nothing less from a founder who was a member of Mensa “as well as a participant in local area chambers of commerces [sic].”
Dupuy also claimed to have admittance to federal courts, and to have “successfully defended numerous Fortune 100 and 500 clients in courts across the country.”
Insurance, intellectual property, products liability, family law, admiralty — there was practically no arena of law that Dupuy & Associates couldn’t dominate, a remarkable feat given that there were no actual associates.
After July 2009, Dupuy launched a more humble site, www.galveston-dui.com, which focused less on captains of industry embroiled in complex commercial litigation and more on drunks.
The Texas State Bar wasn’t fond of either site: In October 2009, the Bar slapped Dupuy with a six-month probated suspension for making false or misleading claims of qualifications, among other ethics violations.
Galveston County District Court records show that, in one case, Dupuy represented Mr. Margarita (a company name, not an actual person’s name). Dupuy filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, on his own accord and without notifying his client. The defendant countersued, and Dupuy didn’t show up for the trial, resulting in a $10,000 judgment against Mr. Margarita.
When the owner of Mr. Margarita found out about the judgment against him, as well as the fact that his own lawsuit had been dismissed, he sued Dupuy and another lawyer whose name appeared on the motion to dismiss. That lawyer was dropped from the lawsuit after swearing in an affidavit that she was at one time an assistant for Dupuy but that she had nothing to do with the Mr. Margarita case. Dupuy, she claimed, used her name without knowledge or permission.
His energy seemed focused on his divorce from Adrienne Viterna, whom he’d married in 2001 after a three-month romance. Viterna twice filed for divorce before changing her mind, but in 2009, she stuck with it.
Divorce proceedings are rarely smooth endeavors, but Dupuy seemed to have exacerbated the agony in at least two ways: In 2010, Viterna requested that an amicus attorney be appointed for the children. In a court hearing on that motion, Viterna’s attorney, Savannah Robinson, said there were concerns about the children’s welfare. Dupuy responded by suing Robinson for defamation.
The other snag came as the case plodded into election season: Dupuy spontaneously decided to run for the same judicial seat occupied by the judge overseeing his divorce. This forced the judge to recuse himself.
In her response to Dupuy’s suit, Robinson alleged that “the purpose of such a candidacy could not be other than for delay, because excepting the dread possibility of a fluke at the polls, there is no reasonable belief that he would prevail as a candidate.”
Robinson also claimed that Dupuy’s reputation was already in the gutter, far out of the court’s jurisdiction: In defamation cases, the plaintiff had to prove that damages exceeded $200. Financially speaking, Robinson claimed, Dupuy’s reputation just wasn’t worth that much.
“Christopher Dupuy is universally despised within the legal community for his lack of professionalism, his lack of common civility, and his unjustified legal posturings, of which this lawsuit is a prime example.” She alleged that, while he claimed to have once been a judge, he had really just been an “alternate municipal judge in Dallas, without any real duties, and there exists no record of his presiding over a single hearing.”
She claimed that, even before the divorce proceedings, Dupuy was “already a subject of public ridicule, contempt, and hatred.” (And, perhaps fearing she had been too subtle, Robinson also opined that Dupuy’s behavior was consistent with narcissistic personality disorder.)
In typical fashion, Dupuy failed to show for his court hearings and was ordered to pay Robinson about $5,100 in legal fees; she would have to sue him yet again to have his wages garnished.
If anything, Robinson proved remarkably prescient: Her prediction about Dupuy’s candidacy and the “dread fluke” came to pass: In the great Republican sweep of November 2010, Dupuy was elected to office.
Dupuy was no longer just a broke lawyer. Now, he had real power.
Dupuy blames his predicament on a society of alleged conspirators behind the “Don Tequila” Facebook page.
Shortly after Dupuy took the bench, he adopted the persona of a crusader against an entrenched good-ole-boy system. But he still had some personal business to attend to. In addition to his ongoing custody battle, he had been accused by family law attorney Greg Enos of mishandling funds in a 2010 divorce case. Enos had represented the wife in the case; Dupuy represented the husband, Calvin Young. The couple had sold a house, and the proceeds were held in separate accounts overseen by each lawyer.
According to records in the Youngs’ divorce case, as well as the subsequent petition to remove Dupuy, Young fired Dupuy. Afterwards, Dupuy notified Young and Enos that he had withdrawn more than $47,000 from the account. Enos sued Dupuy to recover the funds; a subsequent October 2010 temporary restraining order required Dupuy “to account for and/or return some or all community funds of the parties.”
The resulting divorce decree, filed in November 2010, reflects two payments, totaling just over $30,000, from Dupuy “to Calvin Young or his attorney.” (In 2013, Dupuy was sued by an uncle who accused him of defaulting on a $25,000 loan that was taken out two weeks before the Youngs’ divorce decree was filed. Court records show that, in the loan documentation, Dupuy made a “promise on my good name” to repay his uncle. The uncle ultimately won a $16,823 summary judgment against Dupuy.)
Dupuy also filed for bankruptcy a second time in seven years. One of the creditors was a client who had successfully sued him for malpractice and won a $25,000 judgment.
But what really shook things up was when Dupuy raised a ruckus about a long-standing practice in Galveston County that allowed one of the family county courts to be overseen by a part-time, associate judge. The position was held by a local attorney. This was the initial unraveling of Dupuy’s disastrous time on the bench, and the sequence of events is laid out in a 2013 petition to have him removed from office.
In 2012, the position of associate judge was held by an attorney named Suzanne Radcliffe, who shared office space with Dupuy’s ex-wife’s attorney, Lori Laird.
In September 2012, Dupuy emailed the Galveston County Chief Deputy District Clerk and the head of the county’s legal department, suggesting they both investigate “Galveston County’s Dirty Little Family Court Secrets.”
He wrote that he believed the presiding judge, Janis Yarbrough, was funneling money to Radcliffe, and that “the legal exposure” was “alarming.”
He told the officials it was likely that many of Yarbrough’s orders would have to be voided, and a good place to start looking would be any cases involving Radcliffe or Laird. Dupuy even helpfully suggested that the officials could notify the parties in those cases with a form letter explaining the “investigation of a scheme orchestrated in the 306th District Court.”
After Dupuy disqualified Radcliffe from two cases she had in his court, presiding judge Yarbrough filed a complaint against Dupuy with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. She named Laird as a witness.
As attorney for Dupuy’s ex-wife, Laird kept close watch on Dupuy. Her musings, along with media coverage of Dupuy, were expressed on her blog, which was dedicated to Dupuy’s removal. (Laird clearly identifies herself on the blog, but Dupuy long suspected her of attacking him under aliases as well. Laird told the Houston Press that she’s always commented under her own name.)
Laird also filed motions to recuse Dupuy in two cases. While some might think it makes sense for a judge to recuse himself from a case involving his ex-wife’s attorney, Dupuy had another idea. This idea came to him shortly after he stormed into Laird’s office on December 28 to tell her he would never make himself available for a deposition he’d been dodging for months.
Dupuy then returned to his courtroom and, on his own, filed a notice that Laird was being charged with criminal contempt. Laird had listed 21 reasons Dupuy should be recused; Dupuy upped the ante by listing 36 ways Laird allegedly disrespected the court.
“This Court has never witnessed such disrespectful acts from an attorney,” the order stated. “Ms. Laird’s actions in this matter, in others, and in her personal life (which includes operating under internet aliases and fake identities) have demeaned herself and the profession.”
Dupuy recommended that Laird be fined $500 per violation, jailed for a term not to exceed 180 days and have her license suspended.
The judge then ordered Laird to appear in his court on February 11, 2013, in order to “explain, defend, or apologize” for each finding. Unsure of the nature of the proceedings, Laird brought several attorney friends, although the transcript shows that they appeared just as baffled: To them, it seemed like a quasi-criminal proceeding, but there was no prosecutor present, and no evidence of contempt tendered.
“I think I deserve to have a better understanding going forward,” attorney Tad Nelson told Dupuy.
“It’s not my job to educate you ahead of time,” Dupuy replied.
Nelson asked if he could make an opening statement, which Dupuy denied. When Nelson asked why it was denied, he was told to stop arguing. Shortly afterwards, Dupuy began reading from his own motion, which kicked off with the rather lengthy Texas Lawyer’s Creed; he then veered off into a journey through other case law pertaining to courtroom decorum, making sure to quote extensively from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, and then highlighting a 1990 ruling by a North Carolina appellate court.
When Nelson interrupted to say he was lost, Dupuy merely explained that he was reading from case law, and that if Nelson interrupted again, he’d be excused. Dupuy then continued quoting from other states’ case law.
“Is there any due process in this hearing?” Nelson asked, adding later, “Somebody has to bring evidence. You’re asking my client to respond to evidence, but all you’ve done is read us a motion and cite some case law.”
Dupuy repeatedly insisted that the purpose of the hearing was for Laird to apologize, defend or explain all 36 counts of contempt. Nelson repeatedly insisted that Laird was being deprived of due process. Eventually, Dupuy held Nelson in contempt and ordered a bailiff to escort him from the room. A second attorney subbed for Nelson, but yet a third attorney, Greg Hughes — who would later file the civil petition to remove Dupuy — stood up to express his confusion as well.
Hughes claimed that, while the purpose of the hearing may have been clear to Dupuy, it didn’t resemble anything in the rules of civil or criminal procedure.
“I ask that this charade cease at this point,” Hughes said. The charade/hearing continued into the following day, when Dupuy again recommended that Laird be found guilty. However, he ruled that a regional administrative judge would ultimately decide Laird’s fate.
Laird told the Press the ordeal was “gut-wrenching,” saying Dupuy deprived her of due process.
“The Constitution was trampled on with both feet and his butt,” she said, adding her dismay that, while no longer a judge, Dupuy is still allowed to practice law.
“This guy has systematically, intentionally gone out and tried to ruin people’s lives by breaking the law and every rule of procedure under the sun, and he still has a license,” she alleged. “It’s unbelievable.”
Shortly after the February hearings, the Houston Chronicle obtained a copy of an email that Galveston County District Judge Susan Criss sent to county officials. In it, she claimed that one county court judge “requested armed security” for a monthly meeting of judges the previous month, out of fear that Dupuy “would act in a manner that threatened the safety of the judiciary.”
Criss also claimed, “County employees, family members of county employees, litigants and attorneys are expressing concern to those in authority, such as judges, the Sheriff, the District Attorney and to me that they are afraid Judge Dupuy will become violent and hurt or kill someone. Those expressing concerns include many I have known for decades who never expressed such concerns before recently…Everyone of us was entrusted by the citizens to do what is necessary to protect the people who come into this courthouse. So now I ask those of you elected to govern what is being done to protect everyone?”
Dupuy responded to the Chronicle with an email of his own: “Ah, Judge Criss. What a political nutcase and embarrassment. I think that completely sums up her ridiculous statements to you in six words. I wonder what her story would be if she was under oath and subject to perjury?”
He said he would file an ethics complaint against Criss “for making knowingly false statements.”
Three months later, Dupuy would be implicated in an alleged plot to kill his ex-wife.
Investigators found a spiffy travel kit during a June search of Dupuy’s apartment.
Courtesy of Galveston County District Attorney’s Office
The plan, codenamed “NZ” and detailed in text messages and affidavits, was this: Dupuy would hire a “lowlife” to kill his ex-wife. He would get his kids back, and then the three of them — along with his girlfriend and her daughter — would flee to New Zealand with fake passports. Money wouldn’t be a problem: Dupuy would stock up on silver bullion, which he’d ship to New Zealand ahead of time. You just can’t ever go wrong with silver bullion. (It’s unclear how Viterna would be killed, although there exists a January 2013 screenshot that purports to be an email from Dupuy to a dubious Chinese merchant, in which Dupuy asks, “How much for sea snake venom?”)
Dupuy would lay the groundwork by telling people about a ten-day boating trip the group planned to take at Christmas. The kids’ mother had just been killed, possibly by snake venom, so no doubt they’d want a little R&R.
“He planned on staging a boat accident and sink the boat...so that it appeared we were missing or dead,” his ex-girlfriend, Tara Compton, claimed in a May 2013 affidavit. “After the boating accident...we were to drive a car across the state, use our fake passports and fly out to New Zealand. He said that by doing it this way, it would be ten days before we were thought to be missing and we would have [a] ten day ‘jump start’ before anyone started looking for us.”
She alleged, “It became clear over repeated conversations that this was not just talk, this was a real plan.” She couldn’t ever be with family and friends, although, after two years of lying low, she could Skype them.
A getaway plan would certainly make sense: Dupuy knew that the Texas Attorney General’s Office had been investigating him and was close to filing charges.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the potential slaying of the mother of two that made Compton come forward; it was romance — or lack thereof. Compton was under the impression that the couple were engaged, something Dupuy denied in subsequent testimony.
On or around Valentine’s Day 2013, Compton claimed, Dupuy said he had to run an errand to buy more precious silver bullion.
“I was naive and really thought he was making an excuse to be away from the house so he could by me a ring,” Compton claimed. Unfortunately, he returned with only a wilted bouquet of flowers and a box of the aforementioned bullion.
“Dupuy did not buy me a card or chocolates or anything,” she lamented. That’s when she knew the relationship was finished.
She alleged that she felt Dupuy was a danger to his ex-wife and kids, and that the kids should live with their mom.
After the affidavit was filed, Viterna was able to get temporary custody of the kids, but she also sought a protective order. The day Viterna filed the order, Dupuy was indicted on eight counts of obstruction/retaliation, official oppression and abuse of office. The trifecta that day was Greg Hughes’s civil petition to have Dupuy removed from office.
Compton’s allegations garnered special attention; she was expected to be called by Laird to testify on May 31, 2013, in support of the emergency protection order. And her testimony would definitely bolster the attorney general’s case against Dupuy. What Compton had to say mattered.
Compton, who at the time was working as a dental hygienist thanks to a forged license, was in a predicament: She was embroiled in a custody dispute of her own — she was trying to gain sole possession of her nine-year-old daughter. She was broke and the litigation was expensive. Dupuy had offered to help however he could. He had led her to believe he wanted to help.
Another fellow who supposedly wanted to help was a lawyer Compton knew named Michael Aldous, who, like Dupuy, had a predilection for conspiracy theories, and liked to tell people about the Uzi he owned. Aldous, who was subsequently disbarred, offered to be Compton’s lawyer and navigate her through the “NZ” testimony ordeal.
But, as recorded phone calls later introduced in court filings show, Aldous was actually feeding information to Dupuy. This was not done directly, but through Aldous’s conversations with Dupuy’s court coordinator, Chelsea Wick.
“Make sure this does not get out, that I’m calling y’all and talking about Tara, because she’ll flip out,” Aldous told Wick in one call.
Dupuy’s attorney was apparently helpful in assembling an alternative narrative, one in which Compton would claim that Viterna offered to give her money for her custody case in exchange for testifying about NZ, and in which Laird pressured Compton to embellish her story.
According to the subsequent State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s reprimand of Dupuy, one of Dupuy’s later girlfriends turned over Dupuy’s cell phone to Laird. The phone, according to the commission, “contained numerous text message[s] purportedly exchanged between the judge and his attorneys and/or their legal staff during the course of the protective order hearing. Specifically, the phone contained text messages suggesting that Judge Dupuy’s attorney(s) had met with Compton following her initial testimony about the ‘murder and flee’ plot. In the texts, the attorneys and/or their staff and Judge Dupuy appeared to be bragging about how easy it was to convince Compton to change her testimony.”
Compton’s own attorney seemed less confident in Compton’s testimony. Aldous believed Compton was wavering, and he told Wick in May 2013 that Compton would be contacting Dupuy’s lawyer, and that the lawyer “should be very wary of that bitch, for recording her, taping her, anything, you know what I mean?”
Aldous complained that Compton “talks too much. She exaggerates, she blows things out of proportion.” Aldous, who had also somehow become a witness in the protective order hearing, told Wick that if Compton testified against Dupuy, Aldous would do his best to destroy her if he was called to the stand himself.
“The only thing we can do now is stomp her credibility into the fucking ground,” Aldous said of his own client. “She’s lying, she’s not being honest….we will obliterate her fucking credibility into the motherfucking ground. I told her to calm the fuck down, leave Dupuy alone, he’s not doing anything wrong, don’t fucking do anything. He’s opening up...probably because he’s under so much fucking stress because of his job….he’s trying to help you like I am.”
Dupuy was apparently under so much stress that, at the hearing on the protective order, he testified that he did not own a silencer, when in fact a receipt from a Houston gun shop shows that he purchased a silencer three months prior.
In the end, Compton testified that she didn’t take the plot to kill Viterna seriously. Viterna didn’t get her protective order.
But Galveston County Assistant District Attorney Adam Poole told the Press that the alleged murder plan could still come into play.
“If Christopher Dupuy is found guilty, then I intend to put on all evidence of past things as well, in front of the judge or jury, and let them listen to that to determine what the punishment should be,” Poole said. “Basically, the past can come back to haunt him.”
Although the Attorney General’s eight counts of abuse of office and perjury had been played up in the media for months, the case against Dupuy was ultimately anticlimactic. The AG’s prosecutors were victorious in their prime objective — to remove Dupuy from the bench — but Dupuy’s critics thought the prosecutors let him skate: In exchange for his resignation, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and received two years’ probation.
At his sentencing, the judge told him, “You brought an incredible dishonor to yourself, your name and this profession…Anybody who reads or knows about this case makes our job as judges harder because of what you did…You just added one more reason we’ve all become the butt of jokes, particularly here in Galveston.”
In 2014, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded that Dupuy had engaged in witness-tampering, “harrassed, bullied, and maligned county officials” and “lied under oath” about the silencer.
Laird told the Press she doesn’t understand why Galveston County prosecutors never charged him with the crimes outlined in the commission’s reprimand.
“I think a high school debate student could try this case and get a conviction,” she said. “That’s how strong I believe this evidence is.”
But when it comes to the evidence for the pending online impersonation charges, Dupuy believes the evidence is scant. In a 56-page handwritten motion, Dupuy wrote off the guns found during the search of his apartment as “much ado about nothing.”
“It is widely accepted that the average Texan owns three firearms,” he wrote. “Citizens that choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights are not held to a different standard or to different laws.”
As for those Internet searches for sniper pistols and French garrottes? Those were simply “related to [my] reading of fictional, Tom Clancy type novels.”
And as for the fake escort ads: The Don Tequila Society “is extremely computer and internet savy [sic]. They routinely hide their names, their addresses, and do their best to conceal their Galveston County Courthouse connections including through aliases….In fact, the Galveston County District Attorney’s employees know of and participate in this society.”
Dupuy adds, “It is twenty-first century electronic bullying that is managed, operated, controlled, and/or condoned by elected officials in Galveston County.”
The bullying, according to Dupuy, includes his $400,000 bond. That’s a lot of silver bullion right there.
Dupuy claimed in his request for emergency relief that the exorbitant bond is “the functional equivalent” of no bond at all. He argued that it’s an absurd amount for nonviolent charges filed against a person with strong ties to the community and who’s not a flight risk. While prosecutors fought Dupuy’s motion for a reduced bond, Dupuy pins the blame on Judge Michelle Slaughter.
“The trial judge is improperly using bail as an instrument of oppression,” Dupuy claimed, probably without irony.
At the July 30 bond reduction hearing, Slaughter said that the original $600,000 bond “may be a little high” but was not “significantly too high.”
At the hearing, prosecutors relayed information from a Galveston County investigator’s July 29 search warrant, which contains more striking allegations. Her affidavit cites a Texas Ranger’s investigation into the “telephone harassment” of the amicus attorney for Dupuy’s children, as well as the “unlawful tracking” of an attorney close to both Laird and Viterna. A tracking device had been placed under the attorney’s BMW.
According to the affidavit, the amicus attorney received creepy texts from an unfamiliar number in December 2014, including: “Merry Christmas…Found a gift for you. Will you be home today?” and “Shall we play a game?” and the somewhat cryptic “We would advise you to respond quickly.” The affidavit states that the Ranger was able to link the texts to Dupuy.
As for the alleged unlawful tracking: According to the affidavit, Viterna told the Ranger that Dupuy hadn’t seen his children since November 2013 and did not know where they were located. Viterna suspected that Dupuy had placed the GPS device on the BMW “in an attempt to locate her and her children.”
At the conclusion of the bond hearing, Slaughter said that the evidence shows “a concern regarding safety of the community.”
It’s unclear why, if a judge and prosecutors believe Dupuy is a threat to the community and therefore deserves to be jailed indefinitely, he hasn’t been charged with anything more serious. As Dupuy’s attorney pointed out at the hearing, his original bond was six times higher than for a murder defendant who was facing trial in Slaughter’s own court.
As with any Dupuy filing, the 4,200-word motion would not be complete without a bottlecap quote showing off his smarts. For this most important motion — which he was forced to file himself, as his court-appointed attorney was a Society member — Dupuy brought out the big guns. And it seems fitting.
“As spoken by Plato thousands of years ago,” Dupuy wrote, “‘The worst form of injustice is pretended justice.’”