The recent “not guilty” verdict in the Kate Steinle murder case makes a mockery of our criminal justice system. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was an illegal immigrant who was deported five times, each time returning to the U.S. He admitted moving to San Francisco because it was a declared “Sanctuary City” where illegals who break the law are shielded from federal immigration authorities. The very law enforcement that is supposed to be protecting its citizens is putting them at risk by releasing them onto the streets rather than holding them for federal agents. Zarate was a convicted felon who local law enforcement let out of jail three months before the Kate Steinle shooting. In July of 2015 Zarate claims to have found a handgun wrapped in a tee shirt along the San Francisco pier. The gun was taken from the car of a Bureau of Land Management. Zarate did not admit to taking the gun but said that he found it the day of the incident. The weapon was a Sig Sauer 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Zarate’s defense was that he didn’t realize it was a firearm and it accidently discharged. This is a convicted felon who most certainly should have known that this was a firearm and not some toy. Firearm manufacturers build their weapons with multiple safety devices to reduce the chances of an accidental discharge. Some willful effort on the part of the user must take place to “arm” a handgun or rifle before it can be fired. Regardless of the type of weapon, an initial round must be actively placed in the chamber and the trigger activated before a round discharges. Why do you suppose it is a federal offense for a felon to have a firearm?
I blame the prosecuting attorney as much as the jury for the final verdict. When someone is killed and the killer admits doing the deed, how can a “not guilty” verdict be the end result? Perhaps Zarate did not intend to kill Kate, but at the least he should have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter (accidental death). Kate Steinle was a vibrant 32 yr old with a bright future. Instead she died in her father’s arms, a parent’s worst nightmare. Had this trial been conducted in another city we would likely have had a different outcome. Santuary cities “permit” criminals to commit additional crimes against law-abiding citizens.