Texas juvenile judge frees most defendants after losing re-election to Democrat

Evarado Alatorre
Noviembre 9, 2018

Harris County Juvenile Judge Glenn Devlin asked each defendant whether they planned to kill anyone, and then ordered their release when they responded in the negative.

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.

All of the cases came before his court on Wednesday, the day after the mid-term elections, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Devlin has a reputation for sending children to detention, and together with another justice, is responsible for a full fifth of youngsters sitting behind bars awaiting trial. Though the defendants will return to court to face their charges in January, after Devlin's opponent, Natalia Oakes, is sworn in, the District Attorney has decried the move, saying that it could endanger the public.

Harris County prosecutors expressed concerns after Judge Glenn Devlin made the decision in a Houston courtroom Wednesday morning.

Harris County almost doubled the number of youths sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department during Devlin's tenure, but Halpert told the Chronicle he'd seen only one defendant kept in custody Wednesday.

"We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age", Ogg said.

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Devlin, one of the 59 Republican jurists in Harris County who was replaced by Democrats, allegedly said: "This is obviously what the voters wanted", when he released juveniles who have been charged with a wide range of crimes, according to ABC 10.

The stories differ on the number of juveniles released.

"The juveniles were asked whether they were going to, if released, whether they would kill somebody", Halpert said.

In his 18 years of practicing law he says he's never seen anything like what occurred inside the Juvenile Justice Center Wednesday.

A Chronicle investigation found that Devlin and another judge were responsible for more than one-fifth of children sent to the state's juvenile prisons past year.

"I'm not sure that I can wrap my [mind] around what he's actually doing", Alex Bunin, Harris County's chief public defender said.

"I would not have expected that from a professional", Oakes said.

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