*NEW* Journals - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson
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September 12th, 2022

Today I was able to get outside. Because it's an 'even' day with the date, they should've started on two row, so I was expecting to get a start on the day, and get outside in the sun around 3rd round or so, but the guards started on one row first and everyone downstairs slept in, so I was out first anyway. It was fine.  

I enjoyed the cool morning air and watching the sun come up and hearing the birds chirping. I told the guy I was outside with all about the tablets and everything it can do, and explained a little about how to use it. It was funny, because as I was explaining this outside, the Securus people showed up and were putting up conduits on our section. Things are moving along and there is a growing excitement.  

Yesterday evening was quite surprising. The guys around me had told me they showed movies last Friday and they were able to watch two. Well, we didn't expect that Field Minister Troop would show our section a movie so soon after, and when he came and said, “I have Avengers: Infinity War, Transformers, or Hunger Games. What do y'all want to watch?” I jokingly said, “You don't have anything else because I just watched all of those!” Then my neighbour said, “Keep rubbing it in our face, Randy.” (ha ha). Everyone decided on Transformers which I have to admit was pretty cool seeing it on a huge flat screen TV.  

So...Today I'm missing my Taffy so much! I know I don't get into details about my personal stuff in our relationship, but having had a month of time – in real time – back in Dallas, just further cemented my heart in everything, and I'm really blessed and lucky. There's nothing in the world I wouldn't give up to have those moments again, and I know they'll come again, I just have to be patient. I'm just one lucky dude and I really miss the laughs and the calls and sharing things. We teased each other a lot, talked all sorts of things, and I just really realised how fortunate I was during that time and what I want in my life going forward. I think at times, especially based on past relationship experiences, you wonder about things, get scared, and worry about how life gets in the way, or it won't work out or the thousand other fears and sometimes it causes me to do or react in dumb ways that kind of self sabotages things. It's a selfish form of self-preservation, but I thought, “No...not this time around. No way am I going back to dumb ways and this is what I want.” I've been thinking about it all weekend and I'm just sure and I know...I know this is what I've been looking for all of these years. I'm incredibly fortunate and blessed...I have a family and I feel a part of a family, surrounded by love. I just hope she knows how much I love her and can't wait for a new life and journey far away from this past life of mistakes, being on death row, and not really having any direction or goals until Taffy came along. I have purpose now, and I'm ready to explore that purpose with her.  

Tonight is Voyager class and I had to write to make sure I can continue on with the class. I'll be disappointed if I can't, but there are going to be other classes that start soon, like, Overcomers and another version of Voyager that I'm going to take. I'm looking forward to it. Still, I'd really like to complete the current class I'm taking.  

I'm trying to get moved out of this cell. I don't mind where I'm at and I'd really hate to give up my Saturday night call, but I don't like being in the corner cell. I can't really see the day room when the movies come on and it gets hot and stuffy over here because the air flow is jacked up. We'll see if I get moved today or not at all.  

That's about it for the day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.  

September 8th, 2022

Today started off well. Recreation was set up and things were running smoothly. There was also a bit of excitement because Securus was on the pod doing the wiring up and installing the wifi system for the coming tablets. I was going to go outside so I was looking forward to sunshine and fresh air.  

After lunch everything went to crap...A chaos bomb exploded! The guards stopped working and then the outside rec yard was shut down. For a second it looked like I was going to get screwed out of rec, but I was rescheduled for the day room and made it out at 3.30pm, and got back to my cell around 5.30pm. That'll be it for rec until next Monday, which stinks.  

One of my friends over here is going to be moving to A-Pod. He made it to the the faith based program so I'm happy for him and hope he finds success.

As I write this, I'm listening to the Walking Dead and waiting on mail...I hope to have a letter from my girlfriend because I miss her so much, and miss talking to her every day. Sigh...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.

September 6th, 2022

I'm back at Polunsky Unit...Today was the road trip from hell! My body still feels like it's moving, and a bit on the tender side, but here I am in in the exact same cell I left a month ago, and at least I already have my property.

So, last night I really thought I was going to stay another day. I had my 'magic hour' with my Taffy in the afternoon, started the movie Deep Water Horizon (sooo good!) a little after 4pm, and then paused it at 5pm to call my friend, Clinton, but he didn't answer. I went back to the movie and when it ended and it looked like my tablet battery was holding up, I started the movie The Circle (which was a bit 'meh') and when that finished I was still doing good on juice so I started another movie Venom, and that was pretty cool. That all wrapped up around 10pm and so I did a few emails and decided to hand my tablet in and call it a night. Unfortunately, it was super rowdy so I didn't fall asleep until after midnight, but I felt I was safe for another day because last year they told me to get ready to leave at midnight.

I finally fell asleep, only to be woken up at 2 in the morning to grab my things and it was time to go. I was like, “Crap!”...The guard took me to the same holding area I was in last year and there's nowhere to lay down so I was just forced to stay up until after 6am when the deputies were ready to take me back. It was the same crew for the last two trips. I was chained up and thrown in the back of a windowless van. Well, I could see out the front window but it's not that good a view.

The ride was pure torture! I was bounced, banged and thrown around the back (not seat belted in I should add, because someone in Dallas and in TDCJ for that matter doesn't think an inmate shackled up to where he can barely move as it is, should be in a seatbelt. Let's throw caution to the wind and live on the edge! Yaaaaay!) for a good 2 ½ hours on the ride to Huntsville. I'm not kidding about this, at one point we hit a pot hole and the van bounced and I was airborne, landing hard against my back where the chain was, and it slammed into my spine, sending a jolt of pain through my body. It sicked.

So, we pull into Huntsville a little after 8.30am, and I'm set free, strip searched, and given a pair of boxers to put on and told to sit in a steel cage for a good hour and a half, freezing. Finally we leave, and I'm all shackled up again and thrown into a death trap, and bounced around until we get to Polunsky.

When I got there they dropped me off at the medical building and I was taken to a shower, strip searched again, and locked in until they brought me new clothes. Fortunately, the sergeant was really cool and said I could keep my property from Dallas, and then they'd probably get my other property tomorrow. I was okay with that because my Dallas stuff had my hygiene items.

I went through a check and then as I was walked back to my building, two inmates were on the side walk. The sergeant told them to get out of the way, they were escorting a death row inmate. Then one of the inmates said, “Try not to kill anyone else!” To which the sergeant replied, “Thing is, he didn't kill anyone.” They laughed and I said, “Well it's true!” What can you do? I got in and was told I was going back to my same cell which was a relief. I like this section and cell. I got my stuff from Dallas and to my surprise the sergeant rounded up my other property and dropped it off and said I'd get some laundry soon. I was happy about that.

As I was waiting, everyone asked me how Dallas was and then hit me with tablet questions which I was happy to answer. The rumor now is we may have them by November, and apparently most of 12 building is wired up with only B-Pod left to go. They made a lot of progress in a month!

Well, I did get laundry but no mattress, so tonight I'm sleeping on a freakin' blanket until they can find one for me. What a capper to the day....Ugh.

I'm sure I'll have more to write on the day in coming entries, but right now I miss my Taffy so much and I'm sooooo tired. I'm beyond tired, but I'll get through it. I plan on crashing before ten for sure.

More to come!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

September 4th, 2022

September is already moving by quickly. It's what could be my last Sunday here and I'm doing my best to use up the movies I had downloaded before I leave. Amazingly, I squeezed in 4 movies yesterday and still had battery juice to spare. The day before, one movie just about killed the battery. The tablet is weird!

So, on Friday I watched Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which was so funny. Yesterday I did A Quiet Place 1 and 2 with my Taffy, and then I watched Tenant and The Bourne Identity. Today I'm doing It's a Wonderful Life with Taffy, and after that I'm not sure. Instinctively I feel like tomorrow is my last day here, but it would be nice for a couple of extra days.

Well...My tablet wasn't charged again...Very frustrating, but the officer did take it back and put it in the charging cabinet, so hopefully it'll all be good in a little bit. I don't want to miss out on my movie date with Taffy today – that would suck!

It's later now...I think there's something wrong with this tablet...It had been charging over 3 hours and it was barely at 64%. I went ahead and asked for it because that's at least enough time to do calls and watch a movie. If by 5pm I'm not below 40% I think I can squeeze in another one. My battery stats says it's good for 13 hours but I don't trust it. We shall see.

It's night time now...Watching It's a Wonderful Life just about zapped my battery, but I had just enough juice to get in World War 2 a little while ago, and then I shut it off at 12% battery life. I can only hope the thing gets a full charge tonight. 13 hours battery life, my butt!

It's been a rowdy evening here but it's calmed down a little now. I'm just waiting on the night shift so I can shave. I look like a lumber jack right now! Then I'll go to bed. I'm sitting here wondering if tomorrow is my last day in Dallas – it could be. It'll be this week for sure. Why else would they give me a COVID test and then let me wait just so I could catch COVID?!? No...It'll be in a day or so. I'll probably have to nap a bit tomorrow in case I have to stay up all night in a holding cell like last year. I suppose I'll know tomorrow night.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

September 2nd, 2022

My time in Dallas is coming to an end...I went to rec at 7.30am and was out until around 9.20, came back to my cell, got my tablet and panicked because it only had 22% charge on it. It didn't get charged last night! I asked a guard to charge it and he told me “no” so I called Taffy explaining the situation and then as we talked, a nurse showed up to give me a COVID test in readiness for going back to Polunsky. My heart sank!  

Now, because it's a holiday weekend I wouldn't expect to return until Tuesday, but it's not outside the realm of possibilities that I could go back this weekend. All I do know is I'm headed back soon. I'd have liked just a little more time but I keep telling myself it's okay....I WILL be back in Dallas! I just need to be patient.  

Then another guard offered to charge my tablet, so it's charging now as I write this.  

Last night I watched Captain Philips and Top Gun (the original). Top Gun still holds up and I really enjoyed Captain Philips as well. If I'm here for the weekend I have about 3 more days to watch movies and I'm not sure what I want to watch.  

I just received my tablet back and it's fully charged now so I should be good for the rest of the day. I hope! It's wild that they  might be sending me back to Polunsky so quickly, but it is what it is and at least my stay here was pleasant and positive.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.

August 31st, 2022

My hearings concluded today, and I can say with all honesty that it's been a long and exhausting process for all concerned. But it was a very productive and interesting few days, and to sum it up, we put on two full days of witness testimony from people that knew the judge and worked with him, and who testified that he was not only a racist in his private life, but that he expressed those things towards me about my being Jewish, during my trial. Not only that, but he also expressed before, during, and after my trial that his only conclusion for me was the death penalty. Never mind how you feel about me, my case, or whether or not you think I'm innocent, although I can provide a mountain of evidence and proof that I wasn't a shooter – much of it is already posted on my website. The question at hand is a Constitutional one: Did I have my fundamentally guaranteed Constitutional RIGHT to a fair trial? Don't cherry pick the Constitution...If you believe in it then you should believe that I should have a fair trial. The evidence is abundantly clear that I didn't, and couldn't have.  

The second day of my hearings was more 'academic' in that we had three experts: two on anti-Semitism, and one on judicial bias. They all came to the conclusion that the judge was a bigot and he was biased, and I could not have had a fair trial.  

Today, the state had their three witnesses...One, a Jewish 'friend' of the trial judge; another was my trial attorney, and the other a bailiff present at the time of my trial. The first witness – the friend – was a hot mess. It was clear that this guy wasn't 'right'. He either believed a lot of what the judge believed, or he was clueless...The hearing judge even asked him a simple yes or no question. She said,  

“Do you believe a person that uses the n-word regularly is racist?” There was a long pause before he answered and then he said, “No...it depends on how it's used.”

My jaw dropped! It took the air out of the room...I literally thought, “What the eff?”

My trial attorney was helpful in a way. I thought it'd be difficult, but actually he was quite pleasant and even said that he didn't believe I deserved the death penalty.  

The third witness – a bailiff at the time of my trial – said he hadn't seen anything with the judge that stood out to him at the trial. That's all that was said, and after that it was all done.  

During the hearings I was able to wear regular clothing which was nice. The bailiffs were kind and professional and overall, while emotionally draining, I feel good going forward. What happens next is that the State and my team have to submit new 'fact findings and conclusions' to send to my judge, based on the hearings. The judge will then weigh everything up and she will have to give a new recommendation for or against a new trial, to the CCA. This should happen around mid-November. After that, we wait on a final decision from the CCA. Who knows how long that will take??

I feel good though. It was a really good three days that allowed us to present even more evidence as well as new evidence that came to light in recent weeks. Now I can breathe a bit, enjoy my time in Dallas – who knows how long it will take to get back to Livingston? - with my Taffy, and friends.  

Tonight I'm re-watching the new Doctor Strange movie. That  movie is nuts! Really bonkers. I liked it though, it just requires a re-watching with so much going on in it. Then I'll probably watch the new Bill and Ted movie.  

Really, I want to just decompress, and process everything that happened in the last few days, and breathe...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.

August 28th, 2022

Sunday...As I write this I'm waiting on a legal visit before the start of the hearings tomorrow. They should also be dropping off dress clothes for me as well. I found out on Friday that the court wanted me in dress clothes, which was surprising, but nice to be able to look normal.

I'm a bit nervous, but it's natural. I just keep thinking, “Wow...this month went by so fast! I left Polunsky a month ago!”

Yesterday I watched Dumb and Dumber with Taffy, and it lifted my heart when I called her afterwards and she was still laughing! A bit later I watched Star Wars: Solo which I actually really enjoyed. I don't know why fans must be so precious...The younger actor playing Hans Solo did a really good job, and the movie hit all of the marks that makes it Star Wars.

It's a bit later now and I had a good legal visit today, and everyone is excited about tomorrow. I'm nervous, but ready.

They day really flew by...I had a god day, a movie date with my Taffy, and then watched Edge of Tomorrow and an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Here's hoping the hearings go well! I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 25th, 2022

As I write this I should be asleep...but it's too loud! It's one of those nights where the youngsters are restless and loud – and yes, I said 'youngsters' (ha ha). I'm almost 45 years old for crying out loud.

These days are flying by and I can't believe I've been here almost a month. Today was easy going and I watched the second Transformers movie, which, I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Then I watched The Hangover which was sooooo funny! I couldn't stop laughing even though I've listened to it a gazillion times. But seeing it really brings it up several notches.

After that I watched a really interesting TED TALK video that combined animation and introspective dance. There are tons of TED TALK videos on the tablet and I'm going to try to catch one or two before I wind down for the day. I always close my night out with music...I downloaded The Cure's Bloodflowers album today, and a few songs.

Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 24th, 2022

It's early Wednesday morning, and I'm waiting on the phone to say 'good morning' to my Taffy...They don't turn on the tablet apps until after 9am, so I get the phone at 8am and make my calls.

I can see that the sun is back after a few days of much needed rain – well, Dallas didn't need a 1000 year flood, which they got, but they did need some rain. The sun shines in from the gym and splashes against the open area in front of my cell. It's usually  how I can guage the time.

Over the past couple of days I've watched The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker and both were really good. I only have one more Star Wars movie to go – Solo and then I'll have seen all, finally, after 20 plus years! I also watched A Quiet Place which was amazing, and Transformers which was okay. I'm not sure what I want to do tonight...I have a few more movies in my queue, and I've not made up my mind – I rarely do! (ha ha).

It's later now and I just finished watching The Hunger Games – not bad, and very close to the first book. After that I watched A Quiet Place again, and planned on doing Rise of Skywalker but now the danged thing won't let me access the movies...It keeps saying, 'wifi connection lost' but the tablet lets me access everything else, and those things require wifi...Weird, and frustrating!

Well, whatever...I'm pooped anyways so I'm going to hop into the shower, then go to bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 22nd, 2022

Last night was rough...There are times here when it can be so quiet you can hear a pin drop, and then, there are times when everyone is so loud it rattles your brain. And it's not like a couple of people either – it's the entire floor! Noise erupts...Guys begin to spit box...People are rapping and banging on their doors...And I'm thinking, “What on earth is going on right now?!?!?”

Last night was one of those nights and it didn't taper off until after 1am. I slept until 7am and got up feeling like I could've definitely used more sleep. It's all good though, and nothing a power nap can't fix. It sucks I have no coffee here...The jail doesn't allow it anymore – another thing gone because of the K2 drug problem. Apparently, guys were soaking their coffee in that crap, letting the granules dry, and then smoking it. I remember when TDCJ banned tea because of that same problem. K2 has by far been the worst drug problem I've seen in 20 plus years of incarceration. Because it's liquid, it can be smuggled in a thousand ways, and nothing the prison does to stop it has worked yet. It's horrible stuff.

So, as I write this I'm waiting on my tablet to be recharged because it wasn't charged up last night. This is the third time this has happened to me. It's been recharging for about two hours now so after our delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, I'll ask the officer to grab it out of the charging station.

Honestly, outside of using the phone app and watching movies or listening to music, the coolest function is the e-messaging. They're instant, like text messages, but it sucks that it only seems to work in the US, at least here in the county jail anyway...Taffy has spoken to Securus a few times, and they told her that overseas Jpay customers will have different steps to go through once the tablets are rolled out on Polunsky – we just have to be patient! You have to go through Jpay and merge it with the emessage system, and voila! Anyone with a tablet can receive messages from their family and friends. It's really fast, and very cool. I'm getting pretty quick with the little keyboard too. The only frustration I have is that the space bar is right above the home button and my thumb hits it sending me back to the apps and I'm like, “Arrgghh!” But the worst is when it doesn't save and I have to start over. I have no complaints though. It's a treat and a blessing to have this experience. All that being said, I do miss holding a physical book though.

Well, tonight I'm going to watch The Last Jedi and maybe The Quiet Place depending on how much battery juice I have.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 21st, 2022

Today is Star Wars day for me. I do want to watch Greenland again before it expires. With Securus you can hold the movie for up to 30 days after purchase, but once you press play it expires after 48 hours. So, within that 48 hour window you can watch it as much as you want – and I would, if not for the fact that the tablet is only charged once per day. I believe when the Death Row section receives them they'll have individual chargers per person.

Well...on with the day!

It's later now...I ended up watching The Force Awakens and re-watching Greenland. Then I watched a scary movie, Slenderman. It felt like variety night tonight so that's what I did. Slenderman was kind of creepy, I admit. No happy ending either.

All I need to do now is shave and go to sleep.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 20th, 2022

Today was all about the movies...I watched Greenland with Taffy, which was really cool and a great movie! Then, after dinner, I watched Ready Player One which was cool visually, but the book was far better. There was just too much going on in the  movie with the gazillion Easter Eggs to really feel engaged. After that I watched a computer animated Star Wars movie, The Clone Wars. It was pretty cool and not bad at all. Still, Greenland was by far the best of the movies today. It's really good, and I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow is all about the new Star Wars Trilogy. I'm pretty excited. I think that outside of my calls I'll not waste any battery juice and watch Greenland again as well.

Well, time to call it a day and get to bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.  
August 19th, 2022

What a day! It was chock full of good news!! I've been happy dancing about things all day, and it felt like a dream! I had wonderful phone calls with Taffy, who gave me some amazing news, and then in the afternoon I had a video visit with one of my attorneys, and he told me the new evidence was found and I was so excited! It's a pretty big deal, and will be a huge revelation for the hearings because, even though we're not required to show or prove bias/harm at the time of my trial – the judge having life-long bigotries is enough – we can now also prove bias during my trial! There's no more wiggle room for the State, and this news has lifted my spirits. Taffy and I have been up in the clouds all day!

So, I watched The Dark Knight last night and it was a great film, even though violent and dark. For me, Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker has been the gold standard. I've listen to Dark Knight quite a few times, but to watch it? To see Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker? He topped Jack Nicholson! I didn't feel that way until actually watching the movie. I'm going to watch it again in a little while, then I'm going to watch Wonder Woman.

Back on Polunsky we listen to movies on The Tank radio station...When I listen to a movie I build an image from the sounds, the vocal nuances of the actors, and I can see a movie in my imagination. Now that I can actually watch these movies it's interesting for me to see how much my imagination got right, and how much it didn't. I actually think, “oh, wow...I didn't know that was happening.”

It's been great to have this early taste of the tablet before I return to Polunsky. I'm also looking forward to helping these guys around me to navigate the tablet when we do finally get them.

Time to watch the movies!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 18th, 2022

Today feels a bit weird. Not that anything bad has happened – it hasn't been a bad day at all, but with the execution in Texas yesterday, I had a dream of another executed inmate, Justin Hall, who was my neighbour when I was on death watch in 2019. He was talking to me, and then afterwards, I was like, “I appreciate you coming from the afterlife and talking to me.” Weird!

So, I woke up at 6am feeling a little groggy, but I got the day going and as I write this I'm listening to the World Music Cafe podcast, and a live performance from a band I've never heard of called, Catbite. It's a bit ska...I don't mind ska, but I can take or leave it. I was never a big fan of bands like Rancid or Sublime – it was just “meh” to me in the '90s.

I'm actually sitting here wondering if my lawyers will have time to stop by for a visit. They're in Dallas today for some potentially positive new evidence in my case. We don't know if it'll shake out or not, but I'm praying it does. It would be that last piece of the puzzle that proves my judge harboured anti-Jewish bias against me. Not that we don't have enough evidence already, but this would be big!

It's later now...I paused because I had to go to a legal visit. It was nice, and I'm pretty excited/nervous, but definitely excited about the 29th.

I'm going to watch a movie tonight, and I'm looking forward to winding it down before bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 17th, 2022

It's been a busy few days...I had court yesterday – well, a Zoom meeting in court, and the judge is going to allow all of our evidence and witnesses. That was a relief! I also had some legal video visits and calls to my Taffy and friends, so the day was pretty full.

Yesterday evening I watched a movie which is a nice way to wind down. I've watched Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame which was really, really good. I thought they were awesome. Tonight I watched Batman, the original, and it's a little dated visually, but it still holds up. Tomorrow night I'm doing the Dark Knight which I'm looking forward to.

I do have a heavy heart tonight as I learned that a friend from DR was executed today. I don't really have words for it, but I can only hope it was painless and his soul is at peace. When does this madness stop? It's 2022 for crying out loud! What the hell is wrong with this state/country?

More to come...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 14th, 2022

So, I ended up watching Arrival last night and it blew my mind. Now, this is a movie I've listened to a few times and I've read the short story it's based on, but watching it...Holy cow it was so good!!! I can't recommend this one enough. It's one of the most emotionally satisfying and deep sci-fi movies I've caught in a long time! I've never seen Amy Adams act, and she was a force to be reckoned with.  If you watch it and understand it – sorry....it's absolutely a 'thinking person's'  movie – you will cry, so be warned!

Unfortunately, this morning, my tablet wasn't charged up again, so I have to wait until it's charged before I get it back. This is two days in a row now, and it feels a bit intentional. Everyone around me hasn't had any problem...I don't like having any paranoid thoughts, but it does feel like someone at night is not charging mine.

Well, when I do get it back I'm not sure which movie I'll watch tonight. I may go ahead and do Avengers Infinity War, or Star Wars. Choices...choices!

I just had a nice surprise when one of my attorneys dropped by for a visit. The other two couldn't make it, but it was good to see him!

And that's been my day...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace

August 13th, 2022

As I write this I'm waiting on my tablet to be charged because it wasn't charged last night. I don't know why, but when they gave it to me at 7.30 this morning, it only had 20% power on it and I was like, “That's what it was when I turned it in last night!” The officer was cool though, and put it back in the cabinet to charge.

This morning, my girlfriend told me that my good friend who got off death row this year, is sadly back in jail through no fault of his own. I had just spoken to him on the phone the day before as he was driving home from work. I was really down about it and I hope he can get it sorted out and get back to his job. I've known him for almost two decades, and he's always been a good and loyal friend to me, which means a lot to me, and I hope he'll be okay.

So, the tablet is really cool. The e-messaging is one of the best features, because at least in Dallas County, it really is 'instant'. On the movies side of things, I've watched Rogue One twice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and 50 First Dates, and tonight I'm going to watch Pretty Woman with my Taffy – it's a favorite movie for both of us! I'm also going to start catching up on a lot of newer movies. They had a 'sale' on sci-fi movies so I ordered Arrival, Gravity, and Transformers. I've never seen any of them. I also have Avengers Infinity War on standby...Yes, I'll be doing Star Wars...I'm saving the best for last, probably after my hearings.

My music playlist is pretty good right now...I've got The Cure, U2, Morrissey, Mazzy Star, Concrete Blonde, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows, The Sundays, and Ultravox, so far. Songs are a bit pricey, so I have to be selective...otherwise I'd have a thousand songs if I could!

When I was back at Polunsky, they talked of various subscriptions, and the Associated Press subscription, which gives you up to the minute news stories as they hit the wire. It's pretty cool. I'm not really into video games, and the ones they offer are all knock off games of things like Candy Crush etc,

Well, I've got my tablet now and I've called my Taffy which always puts me right up in the clouds. Right now, I'm going to listen to some newscasts, and then listen to some world music cafe podcasts. I've pulled up Sharon van Etten for today – I love her music and its refreshing.

Well, it's much later now and I've watched Pretty Woman with Taffy and then I called her up straight after. It's been so long since I've seen it, and wow....! It still holds up! I'm debating whether or not to watch another movie tonight. I'd like to watch something I've never seen, but I'll probably wait though. The battery is waning, which doesn't seem right. I used it more yesterday than today, so it's baffling...I'll make my mind up after I've had a shower.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 10th, 2022

It's been a long day and having had only 3 hours of sleep last night because of an unusual amount of noise, I was really dragging my butt all day...but somehow I managed to make it through.

So, I got up and started the day as usual. They gave us our tablets at 7.30am but they don't turn on the network until after 9am. Fortunately for me, after a call to my girlfriend, I went to rec. It was hot outside, even at 8.30am! There was pollution over the city and the air was static, but it was still nice to get out for a bit. When I came back in I made a few more calls from the tablet, and then listened to  music until after lunch. I tried a nap, but it didn't amount to anything...So, I killed time as I waited to go to court.

I left my cell at 12.30pm with a full on SRT escort, which was a bit ridiculous, and when I got to the courtroom I sat in a holding cell until 1pm, when a bailiff came in, put me in a belt with handcuffs on each side, and then walked me into the courtroom.

The hearing was via Zoon, so outside of a court reporter and some bailiffs, I sat there alone. I'll just say, the State's argument is so ridiculous...They talk out of both sides of their mouth, like, “Oh, yeah, the Judge is a bigot, just not in Halprin's trial,” and my lawyers did an excellent job of countering that. The big hearing with live testimony will be on 29th August.

I got back to my cell at about 2.50pm, made some calls, had dinner, and then settled in to watch Rogue One again – it's so good! I'm still figuring the tablet out, but I can now e-message through Jpay.com as long as my friends send me one first, which is really cool. What I need to figure out now is how to save battery power so it lasts the whole day.

Please G-d let me get some sleep tonight!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 9th, 2022

Today I fully entered into the 21st century! This morning I was handed the same corrupted tablet I had yesterday and I was worried I'd get stuck with it again today. Around  noon I talked to a different officer and showed him the problem. He went upstairs, found another tablet, and told me to log into it. I entered my info and voila! A brave new world...I've only ordered two Cure songs so far, and I'm going to watch Star Wars: Rogue One later on, after things calm down. It's erupted into chaos for some reason. This is the loudest it's been since I've been here. It's LOUD!!

Anyways, the music sounds great, and having made a few calls with the tablet, those sound great too. The wifi can be a bit spotty, but all in all, not too bad on the whole.

I've yet to explore everything else like the podcasts etc, but I have time. I have my pre-hearing hearing tomorrow, and I'm feeling okay about it. It's not a big hearing per se, but it will set the tone for the big hearing on the 29th.

I'll have more to write in the coming days...It's so difficult to concentrate with this noise...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 8th, 2022

I had a thought last night as I waited on the night shift crew to show up, so I could shave (we're only allowed to shave once a week now and so I had a very grey beard, and a Mr Burns from the Simpsons hairstyle going on! When I'm shaved I still look young, but 7 days without shaving and I turn into a haggard and worn looking old man. But I digress!)

So...sometimes I get scared... I think of all of the guys I've known for years who are on the verge of getting execution dates, and it's not something I want to see. So many friends being killed...It hurts the soul. I don't care what they're there for or how society labels them. I lived with them...I ate with them...I saw sides of them that 12 jurors have not. I think I'm understanding the duality of human nature like the psychotherapist, Carl Jung, wrote about. But admittedly, I get scared from my own situation. I think a lot about the word justice...I think about how the word carries a different meaning and weight depending on who is using it, and in what context.

So, I'm sitting here in Dallas County Jail waiting on hearings in which the State – in the words of the CCA – can “adversarially cross examine” the witnesses that heard my trial judge say things about me being Jewish, when just last year they accepted all of the witness affidavits as factual. The CCA essentially said, “Now, wait a second...Don't just cave in so easily. We want you to question them.” Opening the door – hell, nudging them to change their position on accepting the witnesses as credible and factual to say, “No, we want to challenge all of this on hear say” and then go a bit further and say, “Actually, you have to show us in the trial record where the judge was biased against Halprin for being Jewish. We don't have to show harm and aren't required to pass any harm analysis because it's a structural issue, but they still try to push this...

And this is what I find scary – for all of the talk about justice it means nothing but a 'win' to these people. I'm sure there are those prosecutors that do think they're getting bad people off of the street, and good for them. But what happens when a person presents a real issue with a flawed trial or conviction, or someone presents real evidence that they could be innocent, and the state still pushes ahead to preserve this 'win'....And then, the courts, whose job it is to overturn any wrongs if they can be shown, sides with the state 99/9% of the time because they don't want to do the right thing, exposing their flaws in our judicial system. How is this justice?

It's scary...yes, I have wonderful and amazing attorneys and I trust them 100%. I'm still here breathing because of them, but I'm only human and just want the right thing to happen here. Nobody is saying “Set Halprin free!” It's simply that I need a new trial. I can say I don't want to die for something I didn't do or participate in...And I don't. But I also don't want to die because I didn't have a fair trial with a bigoted judge that hated black people, Latinos, Catholics, and Jews. I didn't make being Jewish a theme in my trial - my prosecutors chose to do that. Why do you think they did that? Could it be because I had a judge that hated Jews? Hmmmm...

I just don't want to die. I have so much to live for...so much good to do...I want to right the wrongs in my life and I'm trying. I just pray for the chance.

So, on a lighter note (but a frustrating day) I was given the loaner tablet today, but had no earthly idea how to log into it. When I asked the guard what to do he didn't know either. My neighbour overheard us and he walked me through it which was really kind, but once I had it unlocked, I could never get a wifi signal. I tried every inch of my cell and it would never let me into the system. I'm convinced there's something wrong with it. Both my neighbours to the right and left of me are getting on with no problem.

Well, in trying to trouble shoot, my neighbour was kind enough to look up the music and movies I'm interested in, and yes, they've got the entire Cure catalogue and all of the Star Wars movies. They've got a ton of '80s classics, all of the Marvel movies, new movies, romance/rom-com. Not a very big horror selection though...I was bit disappointed about that.

So, I'm looking forward to catching a few movies...Wish me luck!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 7th, 2022

Sunday...I'm half way through the Harlequin romance novel. It's pretty awful, but apparently there's a huge market for this stuff. Still, it's another boring day. Thank God I get the phone twice a day which honestly has had me up in the clouds to be able to speak to my Taffy, and my friends...I've been able to talk to everyone I want to, and it's still a blessing to have it for the time I do. G-d please let me get the tablet tomorrow!

It's looking to be an interesting week though. I've got the hearing on Wednesday, and hopefully I'll have a video visit too. I get to call one of my friends on their birthday this week (actually, I might see if they want to schedule a video visit). I also hope I get rec this week.

I'm getting by...This place has been kind of dead compared to last year, but I think everyone is zoned out on their tablets. Hey, I'll take the peace and silence over the chaos, any day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 6th, 2022

Today I scored a Harlequin romantic novel! It was the best of the batch left behind by an inmate. I told the guard, “It's not much, but it'll get me through the weekend. Thank you.”

Interestingly enough, he said that if I didn't have a tablet by Monday, he'd see if they could loan me something called a 'green tablet'. I've no idea what that is, but I'd be happy if I could just listen to FM radio. I'd like to watch videos, but I don't need to. I just need something to do. Especially when the jail won't even allow books anymore.

Maybe on Monday I'll finally have the tablet.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 5th, 2022

Today was a bit of a wild day. Early in the morning I received some legal mail that had me in a bit of a tizzy. On top of that, I had two video visits scheduled back to back, and I was wondering who on earth it could be. I didn't know that anyone had scheduled them and I didn't know that you could schedule video visits back to back?

So, 10am comes and I log into the video monitor (it's a touch screen and I'm working it like a champ now!) and one of my attorneys pops up! I was really surprised, but very pleased. He told me that I have a pre-hearing hearing on August 10th, to suss out what will be allowed in my hearing on August 29th, and that the judge wants me in the courtroom. He calmed me down from my earlier tizzy and said they're on top of everything so that helped me feel a little less anxious.

The two visits were great! Later I learned that the jail no longer allows books or magazines because they have the tablets now. Well...I still don't have my tablet so I have nothing to read or do right now. I think Dallas is trying to go completely digital, including mail. That's the inevitable future for any institution.

I do my best to pass the time...I do a lot of pacing in the cell which makes me look like a crazy person, but I don't care. I also just listen to these guys talk in the vents to one another. Some recommend tablet stuff or help others navigate content, but there's also a couple of bona fide idiots. They get under my skin because they read stuff about people's cases in the newspaper, and then throw insults at them or judge them. Then later, they'll talk about beating women and I'm thinking, “You morons have no right to judge others.” It's a crazy world I live in...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

August 4th, 2022

I am bored out of my mind! I don't know how long it'll take to receive the tablet, but really, if I just had something to read other than a newspaper in the afternoon, I'd be able to pass the time a bit better. As it stands I really don't have anything to do but literally stare at the walls, use the phone for a bit, and do the crossword puzzle in the paper.

When I talked to the officer about receiving the tablet and how long it would take, he initially said “a day or two.” Now it's “a little time, but you'll get it...they've got to get you a brand new one.” I'm no expert or anything, but I doubt Securus throws away a tablet after it's used by an inmate that leaves the jail. I'm sure they just reset it and give it to the next person that comes in...So, what's the hold up? I actually probably wouldn't think about it much if the guys around me weren't always recommending podcasts and I didn't see them get pulled out of the charging cabinet each morning.

I've not been to recreation yet either. I keep trying to get set up, but never get pulled out, which is odd. I'm going to have to talk to a supervisor about that. It's cool having a shower in my cell, though...At least I don't have to depend on anyone for that. In fact, after I wrap this up, I'm going to jump on in.

I wish I had something more substantial to write, but really, it's the same ol', same ol'! I can hear that shower calling my  name...Take that, Polunsky! I can get my showers at my leisure!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

Peace.

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