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After Election Loss Texas Judge Randomly Releases Juvenile Defendants

After Election Loss Texas Judge Randomly Releases Juvenile Defendants

Public defenders said he complained "that's what the voters want" as he indiscriminately freed people. "It was a little bit shocking because that's not a question Judge Devlin would ever ask". Four were facing aggravated robbery charges.

On Tuesday night, he was one of 59 Republican jurists who lost their seat in the country, in a Democratic rout that also saw 19 African American women win judgeships.

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.

"Judge Devlin's mass release of children today, without any apparent concern for the children's safety or for ensuring that they are released to their parents, proves his detachment from the needs of each child", Director of Political Strategies Sharon Watkins Jones said in a statement.

Judge Devlin was not at work on Thursday.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat who was not on this year's ballot, reacted negatively to the actions by Judge Devlin.

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.

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Devlin did not respond to a request for comment from the local news outlet. The victory of the #Houston19, as the group of women are called, has obvious local impact: Harris County, which encompasses most of Houston, is the third-largest county in the country, and one of the most diverse.

Last month, an investigation by the newspaper found that Judge Devlin and one other judge had sent to prison more than one fifth of all juveniles locked up past year.

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. The number of kids sent to state juvenile centers dropped in counties elsewhere in Texas.

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

Halpert is chief of the juvenile division of the Harris County Public Defender's Office.

Perhaps supporting that suspected motivation, Devlin reportedly reset all of his released defendants' cases for January 4, which is when his Democratic replacement, Natalia Oakes, takes over.