(JTA) — A Jewish death row inmate in Texas who says his judge was anti-Semitic has appealed to the Supreme Court.
Halprin was part of the “Texas 7” group of prisoners who escaped from a prison in the state in 2000 and were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer who responded to a robbery they committed. Four of them have already been executed.
In May, Halprin said in an appeal that the judge who sentenced him in 2003, Vickers Cunningham, referred to him using anti-Semitic slurs, including “f*****n’ Jew” and “g*****n k**e.” The court denied his appeal last month.
“Halprin fails to present any evidence in his motion showing that Cunningham’s bias against him would establish by clear and convincing evidence that, absent such bias, no reasonable factfinder would have found Halprin guilty of the underlying offense,” the court’s ruling reads.
On Thursday, Halprin appealed to the Supreme Court.
“Texas made an anti-Semitic judge the sole arbiter of whether a Jewish defendant facing the death penalty would get a fair trial before a fair tribunal. We hope the Court will agree that is an extreme malfunction,” his attorney, Tivon Schardl, said in a statement announcing the appeal.
A number of Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee, Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League, expressed support for Halprin’s original appeal. The appeal followed a report the previous year in The Dallas Morning News that Cunningham set up a trust in 2010 to give his children money if they marry a white Christian of the opposite sex.
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .
Supreme Court Appeal From Jewish Death Row Inmate