Hours after losing his bid for re-election, a Harris County, Texas judge released nearly all the youthful defendants who appeared in front of him, apparently saying it was what voters wanted.
Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin released several defendants on Wednesday, reportedly reasoning that this was what the voters wanted after he lost his re-election battle. Four of the released youths were facing aggravated robbery charges.
All of the cases came before his court on Wednesday, the day after the mid-term elections, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Devlin, a longtime Republican jurist, rescheduled all of the cases for the first week in January, after the Democrat who beat him during Tuesday's election takes the bench.
"We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders of any age; this could endanger the public", Ogg said in a statement sent to HuffPost.
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.
Harris County public defender Steven Halpert, who was in court when the string of releases occurred, told the newspaper that Devlin was "releasing everybody".
"He was releasing everybody", Halpert said Wednesday.
In all, Democrats swept 59 local Texas courts.
"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. Halpert told the Chronicle it's not abnormal for Devlin to release juveniles facing serious charges if they are behaving in detention and have adequate supervision at home.
"I think he may have to be consistent and continue this practice", Halpert said.
We call on the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate Judge Devlin for violating the canons of judicial conduct.
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 a year ago.
"It is improper for a judge to make orders motivated by partisan interests or in spite as a result of his political loss", Sharon Jones of the ACLU said, according to KTRK.