Area juvenile judge loses election, then ‘wholesale releases’ defendants the next day

Court in Houston Texas

Court in Houston Texas

A Texas judge released the majority of youthful defendants by only asking them if they planned to not kill anyone before letting them go, reportedThe Houston Chronicle. On Wednesday, as juvenile cases came before him, with defendants facing charges ranging from misdemeanors to violent crimes, Devlin released them, saying that he was responding to the voice of the voters.

Devlin, a longtime Republican jurist who has been a presiding judge in the 313th District Court since 2010, was one of dozens of Republicans who had their seats snatched by a Democrat in the state in Tuesday's midterm election.

"Judge Devlin's mass release of children today, without any apparent concern for the children's safety or for ensuring that they are released to their parents, proves his detachment from the needs of each child".

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".

"He was releasing everybody", public defender Steven Halpert told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday.

According to the Houston Chronicle, all three juvenile judges in the county will be replaced by Democrats.

Harris County almost doubled the number of youths sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department during Devlin's tenure, but Halpert told the Chronicle he'd seen only one defendant kept in custody Wednesday.

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"He was releasing everybody", Halpert said Wednesday.

"I'm not sure that I can wrap my [mind] around what he's actually doing", Alex Bunin, Harris County's chief public defender said. By contrast, his reputation names him as one of two judges who most contributed to doubling the number of juveniles remanded to custody in recent years.

Devlin has released juveniles facing serious charges in the past as long as they have behaved in detention and will have adequate adult supervision upon their release, Halpert said.

"It's a huge change and the only thing that has happened is that he was not elected so I don't know what to attribute it to other than that", he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union is requesting an investigation into Devlin's conduct.

After election loss, judge releases almost...

All cases were reset to January 4, shortly after Oakes takes office.

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