Texas Judge Urges New Trial for Death Row Inmate, Citing Jurist’s Antisemitic Remarks

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U.S.|Texas Judge Urges New Trial for Death Row Inmate, Citing Jurist’s Antisemitic Remarks

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/randy-halprin-texas-seven.html

A judge’s proposal paves the mode for an appeals tribunal to determine whether Randy Halprin, a Jewish antheral who was convicted and sentenced to decease successful 2003 for his relation successful the sidesplitting of a constabulary officer, volition get a caller trial.

Randy Halprin, right, astatine  a tribunal  proceeding  successful  July.
Credit...Juan Figueroa/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

Jesus Jiménez

Oct. 13, 2021, 9:55 p.m. ET

A Texas justice powerfully recommended this week that a convicted murderer connected decease enactment beryllium granted a caller proceedings due to the fact that of the blatant racism and antisemitism that she said the proceedings justice had displayed.

The recommendation, issued Monday by Judge Lela Mays of Dallas County Criminal District Court, paves the mode for an appeals tribunal to determine whether to bid a caller proceedings for the inmate, Randy Halprin, a subordinate of the alleged Texas Seven who was convicted and sentenced to decease successful 2003 for his relation successful the sidesplitting of a constabulary officer.

Mr. Halprin, 44, who is Jewish, received a enactment of execution successful 2019 aft his lawyers recovered that Vickers Cunningham, the justice who oversaw Mr. Halprin’s execution trial, had consistently utilized racist connection and antisemitic slurs erstwhile referring to Mr. Halprin.

Judge Mays said successful her proposal that astatine the clip of Mr. Halprin’s trial, Mr. Cunningham had “possessed an existent bias against Halprin, due to the fact that of Halprin’s spiritual faith.”

“A new, just proceedings is the lone remedy,” she said successful a 58-page document, of which much than 10 pages elaborate Mr. Cunningham’s “extensive past of prejudice and bias.”

“Even if Judge Cunningham were not really biased against Halprin due to the fact that of the latter’s Jewish identity,” she wrote, “the judge’s statements astir redeeming Dallas from Jews, his statements subscribing to anti-Semitism stereotypes and tropes, his usage of anti-Semitic slurs erstwhile referring to Halprin” amusement that “religious and taste bigotry provided much than capable temptation for him not to clasp the equilibrium nice, clear, and existent betwixt the authorities and Halprin.”

Mr. Cunningham, who retired arsenic a Dallas County Criminal District Court justice successful 2005, did not respond to an email requesting remark connected Wednesday night. He has antecedently denied utilizing racist connection and said his idiosyncratic views did not impact his decisions successful court.

Tivon Schardl, Mr. Halprin’s national nationalist defender, said that Judge Mays’s proposal would present beryllium considered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Mr. Schardl said that portion a caller proceedings for Mr. Halprin was not guaranteed, the proposal from Judge Mays was a important measurement that “relied connected undisputed evidence.”

The Dallas County territory lawyer did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Wednesday night.

It is unclear erstwhile the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals plans to marque a decision. The tribunal did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Wednesday night.

Judge Mays’s proposal was the latest improvement successful the tribunal cases involving a radical of men who killed a constabulary serviceman during a drawstring of robberies aft they had escaped from situation successful December 2000.

Mr. Halprin has ever maintained helium did not occurrence a gun, telling a assemblage astatine his proceedings that helium had not wanted to transportation a weapon and had “freaked out” erstwhile the different men began shooting. His lawyers person said that Mr. Halprin was astatine the bottommost of the Texas Seven’s hierarchy.

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Credit...Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

In the sentiment that she issued connected Monday, Judge Mays cited respective examples successful which Mr. Cunningham had utilized expletives erstwhile referring to Jewish people. Additionally, Judge Mays wrote astir a person of Mr. Cunningham’s, Amanda Tackett, who recalled proceeding Mr. Cunningham notation to Mr. Halprin arsenic “the Jew.” Ms. Tackett besides remembered Mr. Cunningham’s “instructing his girl to interruption up with ‘that Jew boy’ erstwhile referring to her then-boyfriend.”

Mr. Cunningham drew fierce scrutiny successful 2018 erstwhile helium told The Dallas Morning News successful an interrogation that helium had acceptable up a surviving spot for his children with a clause that would reward them if they joined a achromatic person.

“I powerfully enactment accepted household values,” Mr. Cunningham told the paper successful 2018. “If you wed a idiosyncratic of the other enactment that’s Caucasian, that’s Christian, they volition get a distribution.”

Judge Mays’s proposal besides included a punctuation from Ms. Tackett, who worked connected Mr. Cunningham’s 2006 run for Dallas County territory attorney, successful which she recalled his saying that “he wanted to tally for bureau truthful that helium could prevention Dallas from” from radical and spiritual minorities. In the quote, radical and taste slurs are utilized to notation to Black people, Latinos, Jewish radical and Catholics.

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