Citing Anti-Semitism, Texas Judge Urges New Trial for Jewish Death Row Inmate 

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Texas Judge Lela Mays of Dallas County Criminal District Court has strongly recommended that Randy Halprin, a Jewish member of the so-called Texas Seven who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2003 for his role in the killing of a police officer, be granted a new trial because of the blatant racism and antisemitism that she said the trial judge had displayed, reports the New York Times. Halprin received a stay of execution in 2019 after his lawyers found that Vickers Cunningham, the judge who oversaw Halprin’s murder trial, had consistently used racist language and antisemitic slurs when referring to Halprin.

Mays said in her recommendation that Cunningham had “possessed an actual bias against Halprin, because of Halprin’s religious faith.” Cunningham has previously denied using racist language and said his personal views did not affect his decisions in court. Mays cited several examples in which Cunningham had used expletives when referring to Jewish people. Additionally, Judge Mays wrote about a friend of Cunningham’s, Amanda Tackett, who recalled hearing Cunningham refer to Halprin as “the Jew.”  Judge Mays’s recommendation will now be considered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

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