"I think this was a post-election weird blip", said public defender Steve Halpert, according to KTRK-TV.
A Texas judge ousted in Tuesday's midterm elections spent Wednesday morning releasing almost all of the juvenile defendants who came before him.
A day after Judge Glenn Devlin of Houston lost his reelection bid, he released almost all of the juvenile defendants who appeared before him, as long as they answered no when he asked if they planned to kill anyone.
Devlin has a reputation as a tough jurist and is among three Harris County judges with track records of favoring incarceration that led to an increase in the number of kids from Harris County being sent to state juvenile detention centers. "It was a little bit shocking because that's not a question Judge Devlin would ever ask. He made a comment, 'This is obviously what the voters wanted, ' and I think there's an implication by electing all Democratic judges, there's this belief that Democratic judges are going to be soft on crime", Halpert told KTRK.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat who was not on this year's ballot, reacted negatively to the actions by Judge Devlin.
Devlin's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The youths were facing a range of charges but at least four of them were facing serious accusations of aggravated robbery. "We oppose the wholesale release of violent offenders at any age". He and fellow Harris County judge John Phillips are responsible for a fifth of all minors in Texas juvenile prisons.
What exactly happened inside the 313th Harris County Juvenile courtroom the day after Judge Glenn Devlin and 58 other Republican judges lost in the election?
By law, youths who are waiting behind bars before their cases are resolved are entitled to detention hearings every 10 days to decide whether they can be released under supervision.
Judge Devlin was not at work on Thursday.
"But nobody has seen this before", he added.
According to ABC, only one defendant Devlin saw on Wednesday was kept in custody.
The cases will be heard again on 4 January, when Judge Devlin's replacement, Natalia Oakes, takes the bench.
"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.