October 6, 2019 — Dallas, Texas
American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision to stay the execution of Randy Halprin. The court remanded the case to a Dallas County court to review the allegations that the judge who had sentenced Halprin to death was biased against Jews and other minorities.
“The appellate court has averted, at least for the moment, an act of injustice by reaffirming that hateful and prejudicial rhetoric cannot hide behind the robe,” said AJC General Counsel Marc Stern. “Now the very serious and valid claims that Judge Vickers Cunningham was hopelessly biased against Jews can be fully examined in a court of law.”
Cunningham sentenced Halprin to death in 2003 for his role as a member of the Texas 7 gang of prison escapees in the murder of a police officer in December 2000. His execution was scheduled for October 10.
“The right to an impartial judge is not only a blackletter rule of constitutional law, but also integral to the functioning of the entire Texas judicial system,” AJC argued in an amicus brief. The brief disclaimed any view on Halprin’s guilt or innocence. What mattered was that his “trial” was fundamentally and irreparably flawed due the presiding judge’s racism.