(April 6, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear the appeal of a Jewish death-row inmate who was scheduled to die on Oct. 10, 2019, for being part of “The Texas Seven” that escaped from prison two decades ago and killed a police officer after they held up a sporting-goods store, following allegations that he was sentenced by a judge who made anti-Semitic remarks and has a history of bigotry.
In a four-page opinion, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that while the allegations surrounding Randy Halprin’s case are “deeply disturbing,” the “state-court proceedings are underway to address—and, if appropriate, to remedy—Halprin’s assertion that insidious racial and religious bias infected his trial.”
“I trust that the Texas courts considering Halprin’s case are more than capable of guarding this fundamental guarantee,” she wrote.
Sotomayor noted that the Supreme Court’s decision to not review Halprin’s case does not mean that the high court won’t review it at a later date.
“We will continue to seek a new, fair trial for Mr. Halprin,” said his attorney, Tivon Schardl, in a statement sent to reporters on Monday.
The judge, Vickers Cunningham, has been accused of privately referring to Halprin, now 41, as he sentenced him to death in 2003 for being part of the murder of Irving, Texas, police officer Aubrey Hawkins at an Oshman’s Sporting Goods store on Christmas Eve 2000, with an anti-Semitic slur and as “that f***in’ Jew.”
At the time of the escape, Halprin was serving a 30-year sentence for injuring a child. He said he did not fire his gun at Hawkins, who was shot 11 times.
Cunningham allegedly also said that Jews “needed to be shut down because they controlled all the money,” according to Halprin’s attorneys.
Four of “The Texas Seven” have already been executed. A fifth shot himself to death before police could apprehend him.
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