Rebecca Kavanagh+ Your Authors @DrRJKavanagh Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorney, Writer, Legal & Media Analyst. @theappeal @nyulaw @sydneylawschool @sydney_uni. Sydney ✈️ NYC. she/her. Views my own. Sep. 07, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

On October 10, Texas plans to execute Randy Halprin, who is Jewish. His attorneys are seeking a stay based on anti-Semitic and racial bias shown by the trial judge, Vickers Cunningham, who referred to Mr. Halprin as "that fuckin' Jew" and a "goddamn kike.” 

Cunningham also commented that Jews "needed to be shut down because they controlled all the money and all the power."

As per Sister Helen Prejean, he made these comments after leaving the bench, about Black and Brown people who came before him as defendants, several of whom he also sentenced to death.

Last year when Cunningham ran in the Republican primary for Dallas County commissioner, it was revealed that his will contained a provision that his children could only receive an inheritance if they married someone straight, White and Christian.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot is not opposing Mr. Halprin's filing, which is very unusual and lends weight to his lawyers' argument that there was substantial racial and anti-Semitic bias by the judge.

Overturning Mr. Halprin's conviction and sentence would be the first step. Think how many other death sentences this judge has handed down. Think how many jaila nd prison sentences, how many trials he has presided over. All of them have to be re-examined.

And going further: before he was a judge, Cunningham was a prosecutor. This is one case. Thank God it is getting some media. But there are thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, who have come into contact with Vickers Cunningham as prosecutor or judge.

The state of Texas owes all of them justice.

And here is more about Mr. Halprin by the brilliant @keribla: 

PS. Another part of this story: Mr. Halprin was convicted under the Texas equivalent of the felony murder rule - called the "law of parties." That's been abolished in many states. It was an issue in the stayed execution of Patrick Murphy earlier this year. 

PPS. Here, in one of her stories about Joseph Garcia, who was executed last December, and like Mr. Halprin, one of the so-called "Texas 7," Keri explains more about the law of parties. 

PPPS. If you're interested in learning more about the felony murder rule you should 100% follow my friend and colleague, @ChatfieldKate, who authored the bill that pretty much eliminated the felony murder rule in California as well as @endfelonymurder.

You can follow @DrRJKavanagh.


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