Texas juvenile judge frees most defendants after losing re-election to Democrat
09 November, 2018, 16:37 | Author: Myra Gill
Public defender Steven Halpert said Devlin used his election loss to justify his decision.
"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".
A Texas judge lost his re-election bid to a Democrat, so he released nearly every juvenile defendant who appeared in front of him for a detention hearing.
Harris County almost doubled the number of youths sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department during Devlin's tenure, but Halpert toldthe Chronicle he'd seen only one defendant kept in custody Wednesday.
ABC 13 reporter Jeff Ehling shared Thursday morning that Judge Glenn Devlin was not in court for the day, and that court staff was unable to answer questions about when he might return.
His judicial seat was one of 59 swept up by a blue wave in Harris County after people went to the polls on Tuesday - and he reportedly claimed that he was releasing the juveniles "because that's what the voters wanted".
The judge has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Four of the released youths were facing aggravated robbery charges. "We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age", Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement.
State law mandates hearings every 10 days for minors with pending court cases.
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.
Devlin was elected to Houston's 313th district court in 2010, according to the court's website.
Judge Glenn Devlin, apparently making a point about the Democratic judges who were elected Tuesday being soft on crime, released every juvenile who simply said they wouldn't murder someone upon their release.
"But nobody has seen this before", he added.
After setting the juveniles free, Devlin rescheduled all of the cases for January, when his replacement will have taken the bench.
"He was releasing everybody", Halpert said Wednesday.
"I'm not sure that I can wrap my arms around what he's actually doing", he told the Chronicle.
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