After Election Loss Texas Judge Randomly Releases Juvenile Defendants

Lester Mason
Ноября 9, 2018

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

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

Glenn Devlin has been accused of "abdicating responsibility" following his ruling in Houston, Texas on Wednesday, which came a day after he lost his re-election bid to a Democrat rival. Devlin, a Republican, was among those ousted.

"He was releasing everybody", said public defender Steven Halpert.

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.

After setting the juveniles free, Devlin rescheduled all of the cases for January, when his replacement will have taken the bench.

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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. Seven were released, including four facing charges of aggravated robbery, officials told the paper.

In a response to questions about the judge's rulings, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement to ABC News that Devlin's actions could "endanger the public". "We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age". He said the court is the first of its kind in Texas and only the second in the U.S.

Youths held in lockups while awaiting resolution of their cases are entitled to hearings every 10 days to determine whether they should remain in detention, the Houston Chronicle explains. The newspaper found that the two judges accounted for more than a fifth of youths sent to juvenile prisons in Texas previous year. The number of kids sent to state juvenile centers dropped in counties elsewhere in Texas.

"The voters of Harris County clearly wanted a change in the juvenile courts and Judge Devlin today is showing us why the voters may have wanted change", he said.

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

Only one of the juveniles Halpert saw in court was detained, he said.

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