Texas District Judge Lela Mays ruled Monday that an inmate on death row for the death of a police officer should have his death penalty conviction overturned after claims that the judge who presided over his trial was racist and antisemitic.
Halprin, who is Jewish, was convicted and given the death penalty for the death of a police officer during a month-long prison escape with six other prisoners, dubbed the Texas Seven, in 2000, according to CBS News. In the years following his conviction, concerns were raised about former Judge Vickers Cunningham, who allegedly made racist, antisemitic and homophobic remarks when referring to Halprin and his co-defendants during and after the trial.
“Cunningham not only harbored antisemitic bias at the time of trial, but … he did not or could not curb the influence of that bias in his judicial decision-making,” Mays wrote in her opinin. “As a judge with the power to influence the trials, Judge Cunningham’s use of these terms to refer to the co-defendants was racist because it combined the attribution of group characteristics with the exercise of power over them.”
Cunningham reportedly called Halprin a “f***ing Jew” and a “godd*** k***” after his conviction, according to the Texas Tribune. Cunningham stepped down from his position as a federal judge in 2005 and currently practices law in Texas.
Cunningham admitted in 2018 that he would reward his kids in his will if they married straight, white Christians, according to The Dallas Morning News. Cunningham was running for Dallas County commissioner at the time and lost in the primary by 25 votes.
Halprin was scheduled to be executed in 2019 but the sentence was temporarily stayed after Cunningham’s comments surfaced, according to the Texas Tribune.
“A fair trial requires an impartial judge — and Mr. Halprin did not have a fair and neutral judge when his life was at stake,” Halprin’s attorney Tivon Schardl said in a statement at the time. “We are very grateful the CCA has given Mr. Halprin the opportunity to seek a new trial, free of religious discrimination.”
Currently, Halprin’s sentence is awaiting review by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, according to CBS News.
Halprin, Mays and Cunningham did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact email@example.com
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.