Texas judge releases defendants after election loss

Texas judge releases defendants after election loss

Texas judge releases defendants after election loss

Public defender Steven Halpert said Devlin used his election loss to justify his decision.

It's unclear how many juveniles were released, but officials said there were at least seven.

A judge in Harris County, Texas, released almost all the juvenile defendants who appeared before him Wednesday morning after asking whether they planned to kill anyone.

Last month, an investigation by the newspaper found that Judge Devlin and one other judge had sent to prison more than one fifth of all juveniles locked up a year ago.

"We call on the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate Judge Devlin for violating the canons of judicial conduct".

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Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin released several defendants on Wednesday, reportedly reasoning that this was what the voters wanted after he lost his re-election battle.

The alleged action by the judge follows Tuesday night's election returns that swept all 59 Republican judges from their benches. Numerous juveniles who were released were accused of violent crimes.

Witnesses said that before releasing the defendants he asked them if they planned to kill anybody. "We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age".

Last month, the newspaper reported that he and another Republican judge on the circuit accounted for more than 20% of all the children sent to Texan juvenile prisons in 2017 - even though the overall numbers were down.

Youths held in lockups while awaiting resolution of their cases are entitled to hearings every 10 days to determine whether they should remain in detention, the Houston Chronicle explains.

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Judge Devlin was not at work on Thursday.

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".

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

"The juveniles were asked whether they were going to, if released, whether they would kill somebody", Halpert said.

"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.

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The rest of the cases were reset for January 4, after Devlin's replacement, Democrat Natalia Oaks, takes the bench.

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