Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Harris County juvenile judge releases defendants after election loss

Harris County juvenile judge releases defendants after election loss

"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 of Harris County, Texas.

Before Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin released seven defendants - accounting for almost all of the kids who appeared in front of him the morning after Election Day - he asked if they planned to kill anyone before he released them, the Houston Chronicle reported.

According to a report last month by the Chronicle, Devlin and fellow judge John Philips have a heavy track record of incarcerating juvenile defendants in their county and were behind more than one-fifth of the juveniles sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in recent years. Four were charged with aggravated robbery.

On Judge Devlin's website, he discussed his creation of a Juvenile Gang Court.

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

Devlin did not respond to ABC News' request for comment. The juveniles face charges ranging from misdemeanors to violent crimes, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Judge Glenn Devlin, who is known for sending youths to detention, simply asked whether or not they planned to kill anyone before turning them loose. The county's three juvenile court judges who were on the ballot on Tuesday all lost by ten or more points.

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State law mandates hearings every 10 days for minors with pending court cases.

On Thursday, Devlin was a no-show in court.

District Attorney Kim Ogg released a statement saying prosecutors opposed "the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age".

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

The cases will be heard again on 4 January, when Judge Devlin's replacement, Natalia Oakes, takes the bench.

He says typically there's a lot of discussion about why the juvenile should not remain in custody, but not this time.

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

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