Texas juvenile judge frees most defendants after losing re-election to Democrat

Houston-area juvenile judge loses election then ‘wholesale releases’ defendants the next day

Houston-area juvenile judge loses election then ‘wholesale releases’ defendants the next day

The public defender said he believed the judge thought "that's what the voters wanted".

A Texas judge known for sending kids to juvenile detention released a group of juvenile defendants who appeared before him Wednesday, in an unusual move that came less than a day after losing his bid for re-election, according to local media reports. Four were facing aggravated robbery charges.

Judge Glenn Devlin, who presides over the 313th District Court, shocked most people in his courtroom on Wednesday morning when he released almost every youthful defendant after asking one question - are you planning to kill anyone?

Judge Devlin was not at work on Thursday.

In a statement to KTRK, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said they "oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age; this could endanger the public".

According to the Houston Chronicle, Judge Devlin - one of three Republican judges stationed at juvenile courts in the state to have lost their jobs - had built a reputation for being more than willing to send youths to jail. He said the court is the first of its kind in Texas and only the second in the U.S.

By law, youths who are waiting behind bars before their cases are resolved are entitled to detention hearings every 10 days to decide whether they can be released under supervision.

Devlin was elected to Houston's 313th district court in 2010, according to the court's website.

Devlin and another Harris County juvenile judge, John Phillips, accounted for more than 20 percent of all youths sent to the state's juvenile prisons previous year, according to the newspaper.

As so many have said, your life is more likely to be impacted by your local officials than any of the people holding office in Washington D.C. But more importantly, seeing more women of color deservedly step into elected seats sends a clear message that you don't have to be a white man to hold office in this country.

"But nobody has seen this before", he added.

"If the juvenile said 'no, ' they were released", Mr Halpert said.

Alex Bunin, the county's chief public defender, suggested to the Houston Chronicle that his actions were something of a sulk.

Perhaps supporting that suspected motivation, Devlin reportedly reset all of his released defendants' cases for January 4, which is when his Democratic replacement, Natalia Oakes, takes over.

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