Judge Releases Defendants After Losing Re-Election, Asking If They'd Kill Anyone

Texas judge who lost election Tuesday releases juvenile defendants who promise not to commit murder

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas asked the state judicial commission to investigate the actions of a Harris County judge who released youthful offenders after they promised not to kill anyone on Wednesday - a day after he lost an election, a report said.

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.

What exactly happened inside the 313th Harris County Juvenile courtroom the day after Judge Glenn Devlin and 58 other Republican judges lost in the election? "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", Halpert told KTRK.

"Maybe he is reflecting upon the merits of his new release policy", Harris County Public Defender Alex Bunin told the Houston Chronicle.

"I just think this was a post-election weird blip".

According to Mr Halpert, Judge Devlin commented: "That's what the voters wanted".

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.

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I would not have expected that from a professional.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg didn't find Devlin's stunt amusing, however, considering some of the juveniles he released were charged with violent crimes such as aggravated robbery. But in his detention hearings he usually asks diligent, thorough questions to defense attorneys before deciding to release any defendant. He said it is not unusual for Devlin to release juvenile defendants if they have adequate supervision at home.

On Judge Devlin's website, he discussed his creation of a Juvenile Gang Court.

In a statement, Sharon Watkins Jones, of the Texas ACLU, said: "It is improper for a judge to make orders motivated by partisan interests or spite as a result of his political loss".

Halpert, a Democrat, said Devlin, a Republican, is known to be diligent and thorough - usually running a tight docket.

According to ABC, only one defendant Devlin saw on Wednesday was kept in custody.

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