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Judge Loses Election, Frees the Day's Juvenile Defendants

Judge Glenn Devlin must have had a big lunch.

The Texas judge released nearly all the defendants in his juvenile courtroom. He had only one condition: that they promise not to kill anybody.

According to studies, that kind of leniency usually occurs after a judge has had a satisfying lunch. Or it could be Devlin was fed up?

Voters' Choice?

The Republican judge had just lost his job in an election. He was one of 59 judges swept out by Democrats.

"He was releasing everybody," said public defender Steven Halpert. "Apparently he was saying that's what the voters wanted."

The Houston Chronicle had a part in the story. A month earlier, the newspaper reported that Devlin and one other judge were responsible for one-fifth of all children sent to juvenile prisons last year.

Of course, that number changed after the election.

Endanger the Public?

Harris County prosecutors were not happy. Devlin released juveniles accused of low-level and serious crimes.

We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age," District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement later. "This could endanger the public."

Devlin let the kids go, but reset their cases to Jan. 4. That's the day the new judge takes the bench.

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