A day after Judge Glenn Devlin of Houston lost his reelection bid, he released nearly all of the juvenile defendants who appeared before him, as long as they answered no when he asked if they planned to kill anyone.
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.
It is not known how many juveniles were released, but the number, according to the outlet, is at least seven — four of whom faced aggravated robbery charges.
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. Such a reaction appears to be intentional. “‘If I release you, will you go out and murder anybody?’And so, if the juvenile said no, they were released,” public defender Steve Halpert told KTRK-TV about the hearing. “Judge Devlin would never normally ask that question of a juvenile. This was unusual.”
“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. There are many that question the judge’s decision, including District Attorney Kim Ogg, who said that releasing such defendants “could endanger the public.”
Ogg added, “We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age.” According to the Houston Chronicle, all three juvenile judges in the county will be replaced by Democrats.