Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Jewish Death Row Inmate Files Appeal Claiming Judge Was Anti-Semitic

(JTA) — A Jewish death row inmate in Texas has filed an appeal alleging that the judge in the case was anti-Semitic and racist.

Randy Halprin, 41, said in the appeal filed last month that Judge Vickers Cunningham referred to him using anti-Semitic language and should have recused himself from his case.

Halprin was part of the “Texas 7” group of prisoners who escaped from the John B. Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas, on Dec. 13, 2000; six were apprehended over a month later. One committed suicide.

They were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a Texas police officer who responded to a robbery perpetrated by the prisoners.

Cunningham sentenced Halprin to death in 2003. Four of the prisoners have been executed.

The Dallas Morning News reported last year that Cunningham, who is white, rewarded his children with a trust if they married someone who is white, Christian and of the opposite sex.

The appeal says that Cunningham’s anti-Semitic beliefs and statements violated the Constitution’s due process requirement, according to the Dallas News, and that Halprin is entitled to a new trial regardless of how strong the evidence is against him.

“Before, during, and after Randy Halprin’s trial, Judge Cunningham harbored deep-seated animus towards and prejudices about non-white, non-Christian people,” Halprin’s attorneys wrote. “He expressed these views frequently in private and they informed his thinking about his public service in the law. Judge Cunningham had a duty not to preside over a case in which he considered the defendant a … ‘[expletive] Jew.’”

Halprin, who was serving a 30-year sentence for injuring a child at the time of his escape, has said he did not fire his gun the night Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins was shot 11 times and run over.

Another member of the Texas 7, Michael Rodriguez, also was Jewish, according to the newspaper.




Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.