Sunday, October 17, 2021

Death row inmate could get a retrial after alleging the judge was anti-Semitic

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Randy Halprin was part of the Texas 7, a group of prisoners who escaped from a maximum security prison in Texas in December 2000. He claims the convicted judge is an anti-Semite

A murder inmate on death row could be granted reprieve for claiming the judge was anti-Semitic.

The Texas Appeals Court stopped the execution of the Jewish inmate Randy Halprin back in 2019 and will now decide whether to initiate a new trial against him, a motion supported by more than 100 Jewish attorneys in the state.

Halprin was part of the Texas 7, a group of prisoners who escaped from a maximum security prison near Kenedy, Texas on December 13, 2000.

Six of the seven were sentenced to death for the murder of Irving, Texas police officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins, who was shot and killed in a group robbery.

The then 23-year-old Halprin was serving a 30-year prison sentence for injuring a child at the age of 19.

But now Halprin could be tried again after an appellate judge ruled that Judge Vickers Cunningham may have discriminated against Halprin because of his religion when he sentenced him to death.

In her findings, Judge Mays wrote that Judge Cunningham “had real, subjective biases against Halprin because Halprin was Jewish and that Judge Cunningham’s anti-Semitic biases created an objectively intolerable risk of bias.”

She added that a “new fair trial is the only cure” for Halprin, who was sentenced to death for his role in the murder of a police office in “Texas Seven” on Christmas Eve in 2000.

Halprin had accused Judge Cunningham, now retired, in court records of calling him a “fearing Jew” after the trial.

Former campaign workers and friends also said Cunningham was “especially proud of the death sentences.” [of the Texas Seven] because there were Latinos and a Jew among them, “so Halprin’s petition for a new trial, as reported by NBC.

The judge’s own brother supports the claim that he is bigoted. After Cunningham drew national attention when he ran for a commissioner seat in Dallas County in the 2018 Republican primary, his estranged brother said he was a “lifelong racist.”

Cunningham’s brother, who is married to a black man, said the judge had promised to financially reward his children if they marry white and Christian people of the opposite sex.

He later admitted this but denied being a racist. “I strongly support traditional family values,” Cunningham told the Dallas Morning News in 2018. “If you marry someone of the opposite sex who is Caucasian who is a Christian, they will be poured out.”

Cunningham denied that his views ever influenced his performance as a judge in Dallas County for 10 years.

Attorney Marc Stanley told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, “If you have a judge who is prejudiced against you and says terrible things about your religion or race behind your back, you are not getting a fair trial.”

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