HOUSTON, Texas — A Texas juvenile court judge defeated in the wave that swept all Republicans from Harris County local and state courts reportedly released nearly all of the defendants who appeared before him on the day after the election.
“He was releasing everybody,” public defender Steven Halpert told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday. The public defender said he believed the judge thought “that’s what the voters wanted.”
Judge Glenn Devlin, who presides over the 313th District Court, shocked most people in his courtroom on Wednesday morning when he released nearly every youthful defendant after asking one question — are you planning to kill anyone? The Houston newspaper reported that if they answered no, they were released, regardless of the charged offense.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat who was not on this year’s ballot, reacted negatively to the actions by Judge Devlin. “We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age,” Ogg said in a statement afterward. “This could endanger the public.”
Devlin did not respond to a request for comment from the local news outlet.
The alleged action by the judge follows Tuesday night’s election returns that swept all 59 Republican judges from their benches. The county’s three juvenile court judges who were on the ballot on Tuesday all lost by ten or more points.
Attorney Halpert told the Chronicle that juvenile offenders are entitled to a detention hearing every 10 days to determine whether they should be held in custody. He said it is not unusual for Devlin to release juvenile defendants if they have adequate supervision at home. “He’s not one of those that never releases a kid charged with an aggravated robbery,” he explained. “But nobody has seen this before.”
Some of those juveniles released on Wednesday did not have a parent present for the hearing. Halpert said that he only saw one defendant detained.
On Judge Devlin’s website, he discussed his creation of a Juvenile Gang Court. “Its purpose is to reduce recidivism of youth involved in gang activity by holding gang involved youth accountable while redirecting them towards healthy alternatives to gang activity,” Develin wrote. He said the court is the first of its kind in Texas and only the second in the U.S.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Border/Cartel Chronicles. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.