A Texas judge released the majority of youthful defendants by only asking them if they planned to not kill anyone before letting them go, reported The Houston Chronicle.
Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin lost his seat to his Democratic opponent in the midterm election.
“He was releasing everybody,” said public defender Steven Halpert. “Apparently he was saying that’s what the voters wanted.”
Some people expressed concern with his hasty actions.
“We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement afterward. “This could endanger the public.”
“Judge Devlin appears to be abdicating the basic responsibility of any sitting juvenile judge,” said Elizabeth Henneke of the Lone Star Justice Alliance.
Henneke added that his actions were “disappointing and shocking.”
Jay Jenkins, a policy attorney with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition said it was time for a change.
“The voters of Harris County clearly wanted a change in the juvenile courts and Judge Devlin today is showing us why the voters may have wanted change,” he said. “We’re hoping now the juvenile courts can be a much fairer and more equitable place.”