Harris Co. judge doesn't return to court Thursday after releasing juvenile defendants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The judge accused of releasing juvenile defendants after asking them if they would go on to kill anyone did not return to the bench Thursday morning.

Court staff could not say whether Judge Glenn Devlin would be back or if this was a planned day off. An associate judge handled the case load on Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, Devlin allegedly released 10-12 juveniles, many of whom were accused of violent crimes. Juvenile court judges have the option of letting kids go home while their cases move through the system or keeping them in custody.

Attorneys we spoke with say Devlin is sort of middle of the road when it comes to keeping kids in custody, so his actions on Wednesday were not necessarily out of character.

However, it's being reported that four of the kids allowed to leave are facing aggravated robbery charges and that raised a lot of eyebrows with the district attorney's office and even the ACLU, which is calling for an investigation.

Parents of kids who came to the court on Thursday for different cases said they wish they'd been on the receiving end of Devlin's leniency.

"This is ridiculous. I have been here dealing with my son's personal business for two months and they are giving us the run around with this mess," said parent Robert Taylor.

We spoke with several attorneys who did not want to go on camera, but they say Judge Devlin typically handles his cases very professionally, and they too wish they were in court so their clients could have gone home rather than be detained.

Some believe the move was related to him being voted out of office on Tuesday night.

"I just think this was a post-election weird blip. 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," said public defender Steve Halpert, who was in the courtroom at the time when Devlin released the defendants.

Devlin is not expected to be back in court for the rest of the week.

RELATED: Harris Co. judge who lost re-election bid allegedly releases juvenile defendants on condition they won't kill anyone

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A district judge released all his juvenile defendants a day after being voted out of office.

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