A jury rendered not guilty verdicts on all murder accounts levied against Jose Inez Garcia Zarate in the Kate Steinle murder case. Defense attorneys immediately used their national platform in San Francisco to denounce the policies of President Trump following the verdict. The verdict was shocking.
Zarate was convicted of being convicted of a felon in possession of a firearm involving a death that carries a substantial penalty. Matt Gonzales, Zarate’s public defender, said he was reminding Trump and others that they are currently under investigation and should be appreciative of the rights all defendants in the country have in criminal cases. The Department of Justice may file charges against Zarate. The rules of double jeopardy do not necessarily prevent federal charges that are distinct from state charges.
The case was troublesome from the start because it was clear that the bullet that killed Steinle ricocheted from the pavement; this undisputed fact mitigated against intent, however, Zarate’s actions appeared to be recklessness, an element contained in the lesser counts.
Steinle, 32, had been walking with her arm around her father on Pier 14 when she was struck in the back by a single bullet. The round had skipped off the concrete ground after being fired from a pistol that had been stolen, four days earlier, from the nearby parked car of a federal ranger.
The evidence was primarily circumstantial, and the jury was not permitted to consider the defendant’s illegal status in the country. (although defense counsel probed this issue during jury selection). The defendant had given conflicting statements. The defendant had said that he was sitting on a bench on a San Francisco pier when he reached down to pick up a shirt or bundle of clothes when the gun accidentally discharged. He had also said he was planning on shooting seals or something similar. However, there was apparently some evidence that the police had twisted his statements.
OUR FREE OPINION
The manslaughter case seemed to present an easy win for the prosecution. However, the defendant enjoyed the benefit of an extremely liberal jury panel that no doubt was aware of the political immigration issues surrounding the case. The public defender’s comments about Trump were clearly inappropriate and unethical. The recklessness of the defendant was evident; he was a felon who illegally carried a weapon and caused it to be discharged.
The fact that he was in the country illegally, and that he was a habitual criminal is irrelevant in the technical legal sense in the criminal trial. However, the fact remains had local authorities provided immigration officials of Zarate’s presence, in San Franciso, Steinle would not have been killed. Her death is the result of California politics.