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December 4, 2017

Is no one at fault in Kate Steinle’s death?

Jason Miller

The verdict in the Kate Steinle murder case has me wondering if criminal justice has been replaced by social justice. I have read and heard countless explanations by progressive talking heads, who are saying – or who have written – that the acquittal of Ms. Steinle’s accused murderer Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was shocking, but fair.


The jury out in San Francisco found that Kate Steinle’s murder was an accident and that – even the though the illegal foreign national did commit the act – he was not criminally responsible for the accident. I find this troubling because of two related facts I feel contributed to this compounded travesty of justice not yet served.


The first fact being that this California jury was allowed to redefine criminal negligence in this one case. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is – and remains – and illegal foreign national with a criminal record, who returned to this country after having been deported five times over the last 20 years.


Zarate’s defense argued successfully that the weapon went off in Zarate’s hands in what was a tragic accident. This is even more troubling when you consider that in an initial police interrogation Zarate admitted to firing the gun, saying he was aiming at a seal.


Zarate was acquitted of every other count in Kate Steinle’s murder except one count of being in possession of a stolen gun. Findings like this “accident” is manslaughter: a negligent action committed by an individual leading to the death of another individual is a criminal offence under normal circumstances. Drunk drivers seldom mean to kill in auto accidents but that does not grant them immunity from their poor choices.


This verdict is like giving a drunk driver who caused a fatal accident a pass for the death of an innocent person while convicting the drunk driver of stealing a car.


Had Zarate not been in possession of a stolen hand gun, the gun would have never been accidentally discharged which resulted in the death of Kate Steinle. At the end of the day, Zarate still killed Kate Steinle regardless of whether it was intentional or not.


The second fact is San Francisco’s “sanctuary” policy, whereby San Francisco’s sheriff refuses to communicate with federal immigration authorities as a matter of policy. Zarate, also known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, and several other aliases he is known to have used, was at one point released under San Francisco’s sanctuary policy in 2015. federal authorities were never notified of his release.


A federal warrant was pending for this man, yet San Francisco senior law enforcement authorities refused to honor a federal detainer for custody. Zarate may or may not have accidentally pulled the trigger, but San Francisco provided him the opportunity to do so, and that resulted in the death of Kate Steinle.


One fact in this case is crystal clear. Zarate either lied in his court testimony about the accidental discharge, or he lied to the police during his interrogation about shooting at a seal. You can’t intentionally and accidentally discharge a firearm at the same time.


I guess it’s no one’s fault.


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