Jewish death row inmate appeals to Supreme Court

“Texas made an antisemitic judge the sole arbiter of whether a Jewish defendant facing the death penalty would get a fair trial before a fair tribunal,” said his attorney, Tivon Schardl.

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA
October 5, 2019 08:37
1 minute read.
Jewish death row inmate appeals to Supreme Court

Prison, death row (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A Jewish death row inmate in Texas who says his judge was antisemitic has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Randy Halprin is set to be executed on Oct. 10. He was part of the “Texas 7” group of prisoners who escaped from a prison in the state in 2000 and were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer who responded to a robbery they committed. Four of them have already been executed.

In May, Halprin said in an appeal that the judge who sentenced him in 2003, Vickers Cunningham, referred to him using anti-Semitic slurs, including “f****n’ Jew” and “g*****n k**e.” The court denied his appeal last month.

“Halprin fails to present any evidence in his motion showing that Cunningham’s bias against him would establish by clear and convincing evidence that, absent such bias, no reasonable factfinder would have found Halprin guilty of the underlying offense,” the court’s ruling reads.

On Thursday, Halprin appealed to the Supreme Court.

“Texas made an antisemitic judge the sole arbiter of whether a Jewish defendant facing the death penalty would get a fair trial before a fair tribunal. We hope the Court will agree that is an extreme malfunction,” his attorney, Tivon Schardl, said in a statement announcing the appeal.

A number of Jewish groups, including  the American Jewish Committee, Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League, expressed support for Halprin’s original appeal. The appeal followed a report the previous year in The Dallas Morning News that Cunningham set up a trust in 2010 to give his children money if they marry a white Christian of the opposite sex.


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