Republican judge frees defendants after losing job to Democrat

At least seven youngsters facing criminal charges in the US have been released by an outgoing Republican judge who told them they could go free if they promised not to kill anyone.

Glenn Devlin has been accused of "abdicating responsibility" following his ruling in Houston, Texas on Wednesday, which came a day after he lost his re-election bid to a Democrat rival.

His judicial seat was one of 59 swept up by a blue wave in Harris County after people went to the polls on Tuesday — and he reportedly claimed that he was releasing the juveniles "because that’s what the voters wanted".

Prosecutors in court voiced their concerns about their seemingly indiscriminate release, with some those facing charges having been accused of violent crimes such as aggravated burglary.

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

JoAnn Loulan, center, reacts with her mother-in-law, Sydney Crawford, at left, after Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives 2:10
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According to the Houston Chronicle, Judge Devlin — one of three Republican judges stationed at juvenile courts in the state to have lost their jobs — had built a reputation for being more than willing to send youths to jail.

Last month, the newspaper reported that he and another Republican judge on the circuit accounted for more than 20% of all the children sent to Texan juvenile prisons in 2017 — even though the overall numbers were down.

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