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Judge loses reelection, so he sets all the defendants free

Judge loses reelection, so he sets all the defendants free”

Judge Glenn Devlin did this after he remarked that he was acting according to voters' obvious wishes, public defender Steven Halpert told the Houston Chronicle and KTRK.

"According to USA Today, Judge Devlin asked at least seven juvenile defendants brought before him on Wednesday, "'If I release you, will you go out and murder anybody?"

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.

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. "Judge Devlin would never normally ask that question of a juvenile. He made a comment, 'This is obviously what the voters wanted, ' and I think there's an implication by electing all Democratic judges, there's this belief that Democratic judges are going to be soft on crime", Halpert told KTRK.

Devlin declined comment to the newspaper.

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.

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Devlin, a longtime Republican jurist, rescheduled all of the cases for the first week in January, after the Democrat who beat him during Tuesday's election takes the bench. The county's three juvenile court judges who were on the ballot on Tuesday all lost by ten or more points.

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.

"We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age", Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement afterward.

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

"Judge Devlin appears to be abdicating the basic responsibility of any sitting juvenile judge", said Elizabeth Henneke of the Lone Star Justice Alliance.

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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