Republican judge frees defendants after losing job to Democrat


Public Defender Steve Halpert told ABC 13 that when Judge Devlin took the bench on Wednesday, he asked the juvenile defendants before him: "If I release you, will you go out and murder anybody?".

"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", Director of Political Strategies Sharon Watkins Jones said in a statement.

He reportedly released nearly every juvenile defendant who appeared before his court Wednesday, after simply asking if they would end up killing anyone.

A Texas judge known for sending kids to juvenile detention released a group of juvenile defendants who appeared before him Wednesday, in an unusual move that came less than a day after losing his bid for re-election, according to local media reports. "Judge Devlin would never normally ask that question of a juvenile". Devlin was one of three Republican juvenile court judges ousted by county 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.

The judge has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg condemned Devlin's actions, saying it "could endanger the public" and that her office opposes "the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age".

Houston Judge Glenn Devlin reportedly made each child promise they wouldn't kill anyone before he allowed them to walk free, according to The Houston Chronicle. Seven were released, including four facing charges of aggravated robbery, officials told the paper.

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

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

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

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

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