Texas judge releases juvenile defendants after losing election

Houston-area juvenile judge loses election then ‘wholesale releases’ defendants the next day

Houston-area juvenile judge loses election then ‘wholesale releases’ defendants the next day

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.

Four of the children released were facing aggravated robbery charges, the Chronicle reported.

Judge Glenn Devlin, who presides over the 313th District Court, shocked most people in his courtroom on Wednesday morning when he released almost every youthful defendant after asking one question - are you planning to kill anyone?

Judge Glenn Devlin is seen in this undated photo. Devlin, a Republican, was among those ousted. "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", he said.

Public defender Steve Halpert quoted Devlin as saying, "This is obviously what the voters wanted", and opined that Devlin, a Republican, meant to imply that Democratic judges are more lenient with accused criminals.

Devlin declined comment to the newspaper.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat who was not on this year's ballot, reacted negatively to the actions by Judge Devlin. The victory of the #Houston19, as the group of women are called, has obvious local impact: Harris County, which encompasses most of Houston, is the third-largest county in the country, and one of the most diverse.

By law, youths who are waiting behind bars before their cases are resolved are entitled to detention hearings every 10 days to decide whether they can be released under supervision.

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

Judge Devlin has allowed prisoners to go free under such circumstances before, but those in court on Wednesday were not expected to be released and their parents were not even present to take them home.

The released defendants will have their cases heard on January 4, when Democratic Judge Natalia Oakes takes over.

Harris County Chief Public Defender Alex Bunin told the newspaper that he could not wrap his "arms around what [Devlin's] actually doing", adding, "It's a huge change and the only thing that has happened is that he was not elected so I don't know what to attribute it to", Bunin said.