Officers for two U.S. Marshals Service task forces have arrested former Galveston County judge Christopher Dupuy at a home in southwest Austin on felony charges including stalking.
The Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Fugitive Task Force and Lone Star Fugitive Task Force began searching for Dupuy in March after a Galveston County grand jury indicted him on two felony charges of online impersonation. After the indictment, the former wife of one of his clients said Dupuy had allegedly stalked and threatened to kill her.
Dupuy, 46, has been in trouble with the law for nine years since the State Bar of Texas issued a six-month probated suspension of his law license for advertising false qualifications on one of his websites. Much of the trouble has involved women, including his former wife, Adrienne Viterna.
Fighting both the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and a state attorney general’s investigation, Dupuy left office in September 2013, after agreeing to plead guilty to abusing his office and perjury. He had originally been charged with eight criminal counts, two of them felonies, in connection with the abuse of his seat on the bench.
In 2015, facing two new counts of harassment, Dupuy surrendered his law license rather than be disciplined by the State Bar. Those charges were revived this year by the online impersonation indictment.
Galveston County alleged that Dupuy used a fake name to post fake ads for sex on Backpage.com, featuring two women who had spurned him romantically. However, one of them had already texted him a photo of herself topless, which Dupuy featured in one of the ads.
Dupuy is being held for arraignment in the Hays County Jail, according to a U.S. marshal’s statement in the Austin American-Statesman. The statement says only that task force officials had been tipped that Dupuy might have relocated to Austin.
Harris County authorities had been looking for Dupuy since May 24, after Heather Williams filed a complaint that Dupuy had called her about 200 times beginning at 11 p.m. the night before, according to The Daily News in Galveston.
“You’re going to die soon. I’m coming for you,” the voice on the calls told Williams.
Williams’ only connection with Dupuy was his representation of her husband in their divorce case, her attorney, Lori Laird, told KRIV-TV in Houston. “She’s very afraid,” Laird said. “He’s been stalking her. He’s following her. He’s been threatening her.”
Dupuy had been free since June 2016, after having spent 11 months in the Galveston County Jail, unable to post a $200,000 bail set in connection with the felony online impersonation charges.
He was released after Visiting Harris County District Judge Ryan Patrick, calling the statute upon which the charges were filed “overbroad” and “vague,” dropped the charges against Dupuy.
Bail had originally been set at $600,000 because of the actions that led up to Dupuy’s 2013 convictions. He was thought to be a danger to the community.
Dupuy came to the attention of voters in Galveston County for the first time in 2010 when he rode a Republican wave to an upset of the county judge who, coincidentally, presided over his divorce case, according to a detailed 2015 account by the Houston Press.
Having falsely fattened his resume, according to the State Bar, Dupuy set about alienating many attorneys and fellow judges at the Galveston County courthouse.
Then, in May 2013, the roof caved in. The Texas Attorney General’s Office brought indictments against him for felony counts of obstruction and retaliation and misdemeanor counts of oppression and abuse of office, according to the Houston Chronicle.
At the same time, Galveston attorney Greg Hughes filed a civil lawsuit asking for Dupuy’s removal from office on a host of abuse charges, including interfering with his own divorce case.
“He has ruined dozens of lives over the last two years with the ridiculous, horrible rulings he has made,” Hughes said at the time he filed the suit.
Not to be topped, Viterna asked a judge for an emergency protective order after Tara Compton, a woman who described herself in an affidavit as Dupuy’s former fiancé, described in detail Dupuy’s alleged plot to hire a “lowlife” to kill Viterna, the affidavit said.
The plot entailed faking a boat accident and using fake passports to escape to New Zealand.
When an arrest warrant was issued for Dupuy on June 25, 2015, on the fake sex ads charges, officers with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, the League City Police Department, the Texas Rangers and Galveston County District Attorney’s office converged on his League City apartment.
They found him within reach of a laser-sighted 9mm pistol, the Houston Press reported. They also confiscated a second laser-sighted 9mm pistol, a 950,000-volt stun gun, a knife and extra clips for the handguns.
Mark Lisheron can be reached at [email protected].