After Election Loss Texas Judge Randomly Releases Juvenile Defendants

Texas judge who lost election Tuesday releases juvenile defendants who promise not to commit murder

A day after Judge Glenn Devlin of Houston lost his reelection bid, he released almost all of the juvenile defendants who appeared before him, as long as they answered no when he asked if they planned to kill anyone.

Prosecutors in court voiced their concerns about their seemingly indiscriminate release, with some those facing charges having been accused of violent crimes such as aggravated burglary.

After setting the juveniles free, Devlin rescheduled all of the cases for January, when his replacement will have taken the bench.

In a response to questions about the judge's rulings, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement to ABC News that Devlin's actions could "endanger the public".

Devlin has a reputation for sending children to detention, and together with another justice, is responsible for a full fifth of youngsters sitting behind bars awaiting trial.

"Harris County Public Defender Steven Halpert, whose client was among those released by Devlin on Wednesday, said Devlin's defeat appeared to have motivated the releases, which started with him asking the defendants, "'If I release you, will you go out and murder anybody?'"

Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin asked the seven kids in his courtroom if they planned to kill someone before releasing them, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age", Ogg said. Halpert told the Chronicle it's not abnormal for Devlin to release juveniles facing serious charges if they are behaving in detention and have adequate supervision at home.

Devlin was one of 59 Republican judges caught up in a Democratic sweep in Harris County on Election Day.

The stories differ on the number of juveniles released. "But nobody has seen this before", Halpert said.

One attorney, while waiting to find out who would oversee Devlin's cases on Thursday, reportedly told Blakinger that they weren't in court when the incident happened, "but I sure wish I was".

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 past year, according to the newspaper.

Harris County Chief Public Defender Alex Bunin made the same suggestion.

"I would not have expected that from a professional", Oakes said.

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