A death sentence was blocked in Texas because the judge who wrote a Jewish defendant’s sentence was clearly anti-Semitic. Judge Lela Lawrence May ruled that her colleague Vickers Cunningham’s “unmistakable bias against Jews”, demonstrated by “chilling” evidence, was such that it cannot be ignored.. And he recommended a repeat trial of Randy Halprin, sentenced to death for a murder he claims to be innocent of. The decision on this is now up to the Texas Criminal Appeals Court.
Doubts about Cunningham surfaced in 2018, when he told in a video interview with the Dallas Morning News newspaper that he had opened a fund to financially reward children if they married a person of the same race and religion, as long as they were of the opposite sex. I consider it “a traditional family value” to marry someone of the same race, he stressed.
The video alerted Stuart Blaugrund one of Halprin’s lawyers, sentenced to death in June 2003. Collected several testimonies about Cunningham’s blatant anti-Semitism, and thanks to a letter signed by 100 Texan Jewish lawyers, Blaugrund managed to stop the execution of Halprin six days before the scheduled date, October 10, 2019. The case was then returned to the Dallas District Court, which has now ruled in favor of a retrial.
Halprin, who was serving 30 years in prison for injuring a child, had escaped along with seven other inmates from a Texan prison in 2000. The group was accused of subsequently committing a series of crimes, including the murder of a police officer. Cunningham tried all seven of them, sentencing them to death. Many witnesses have now reported that the judge “believed that God had chosen him to preside over those trials.” And that he was particularly “proud” of the death sentences because the defendants included “Jews and Hispanics”.
Of the seven condemned, four have already been executed and one has committed suicide. Halprin, 44, and Patrick Murphy, 60, remain alive. It is possible, but not certain, that the story of the first could lead to the reopening of the case of the second.