Texas judge releases defendants after election loss


Though public defender Steven Halpert insisted that Devlin is known to free defendants for good behavior, the judge has sent a disproportionate amount of kids to lockup.

"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 juvenile court judge in Harris County, Texas, responded to getting voted out of office by releasing every defendant who appeared before him Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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. Four were charged with aggravated robbery.

"Judge Devlin was intent on asking my juvenile the same question that was asked".

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".

Devlin declined comment to the newspaper.

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Juveniles in Texas who are waiting in local detention centers before their cases are resolved are entitled to detention hearings every 10 working days to decide whether they can remain behind bars or be safely released under supervision, according to the Chronicle.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg condemned the judge's actions on Wednesday. Numerous juveniles who were released were accused of violent crimes. The county's three juvenile court judges who were on the ballot on Tuesday all lost by ten or more points.

Devlin was elected to Houston's 313th district court in 2010, according to the court's website.

"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.

Judge Devlin also rescheduled all of the cases to be heard during the first week of January, which is when Democrat Natalia Oakes will take the bench.

Harris County Chief Public Defender Alex Bunin made the same suggestion.