A man who was part of “Texas 7” wants his case reviewed and ultimately dismissed.
Randy Halprin is one of two men waiting on death row. His lawyers say the judge who convicted him of the 2000 murder of an Irving officer was biased and prejudiced the jury against him.
“We have significant evidence of the existence of bias throughout all of these proceedings,” said lawyer Paul Mansur.
Halprin is one of Texas Prison 7 escapees convicted of the murder of constable Irving Aubrey Hawkins outside a sporting goods store in 2000. He is one of only two still pending. execution.
Halprin, who is Jewish, argued in court records that former judge Vickers L. Cunningham is racist and anti-Semitic and that his bias affected Halprin’s trial.
District Court Judge Lela Mays is responsible for reviewing the case.
Both sides had 40 minutes on Wednesday to present their arguments. Cunningham was not present in court for the hearing.
“We have statements made specifically about the defendants in the Texas 7 trial and Mr. Halprin in particular,” Mansur said.
Some of these statements were said to have been made years after the trial when Cunningham unsuccessfully attempted to run for district attorney.
Anne Grady is the Tarrant County Special Prosecutor representing the state.
“The language used in these statements, the ethnic slurs were reprehensible, but they are not sufficient to support the inference that the defense is asking the court to draw that the judge therefore harbored a real bias against Halprin at the time of the trial.” , she said. .
Grady pointed out that during the trial, Justice Cunningham took steps to ensure Halprin was treated fairly in the eyes of the jury, for example by ordering his legs removed before testifying despite the sheriff’s objection. .
“He said to Mr Halprin ‘This is your trial. My job is to make sure you get a fair trial,” Grady said.
Russell Wilson is a lawyer not involved in this case. He says the defense faces an uphill battle.
“I don’t mean to say it doesn’t matter at all, but I think what matters most is what happened during the trial,” he said. “You have to be able to point things out in the actual trial.”
Cunningham has not commented on the allegations made against him.
Lawyers for both sides have until August 13 to provide any documents to the court for review.
Justice Mays has until Oct. 11 to submit her recommendation to the Criminal Appeals Court, which will make the final decision.