« "What to Know About the Death Penalty in 2018" | Main | "Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study" »

January 5, 2018

In prelude to federal prosecution, killer of Kate Steinle gets three-year sentence on sole state count of conviction

As reported in this local article, "the Mexican national accused of shooting Pleasanton native Kate Steinle was sentenced today to three years in prison but will not serve any more time in state custody because of credit for time served." Here is more:

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, will now be handed over to federal authorities to be prosecuted again.

After a four-week trial that drew national attention, a jury in November acquitted the undocumented immigrant of murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm in the July 2015 shooting of Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14. But jurors convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Judge Samuel Feng this morning sentenced Garcia Zarate, who has already spent two and a half years in jail waiting for his trial, to time served on his possession conviction.

Garcia Zarate’s defense team urged Feng to throw it out, arguing that the jury received improper instructions about the charge. But Feng denied the motion this morning at San Francisco’s Hall of Justice....

In the coming days, Garcia Zarate will be arraigned in federal court, where he faces similar charges of being a convicted felon and an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm.

His defense attorneys have argued that the shooting was an accident, suggesting that Garcia Zarate found the gun on the pier and that it accidentally discharged when he touched it, with the bullet ricocheting 78 feet before hitting 32-year-old Steinle. Garcia Zarate threw the gun into the water after it fired.

Prior related post:

January 5, 2018 at 03:36 PM | Permalink



Should have been maxed out. The authors of the sanctuary city policy in SF should be utterly ashamed of themselves, the unAmerican scum.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 5, 2018 7:49:10 PM

I don't think the single firearm charge should have been maxed out and am unsure why it should have been. The jury didn't convict for the other charges. We can assume, perhaps, it was wrong. As was in my view a legally innocent person spending over two years in prison as in this case.

But, the "authors of the sanctuary cities" didn't failed to convict him. The jury didn't. The juries from the community in question that voted in people with certain views on "sanctuary cities," thinking as a whole that is a good policy for various reasons. A city without such a position will still have undocumented individuals, who at times will commit crimes. The crime here by the jury being unauthorized having a weapon. The desire to have strong gun enforcement policies is not something the Trump Administration as a whole is pushing that hard as compared to California.

Anyways, per current accepted doctrine [that in a recent case, Ginsburg and Thomas flagged as troubling], in effect a second bite of the apple is now possible. The Administration's position as to "sanctuary cities" [honored by the Bible, which some in the Administration find appealing but if respecting sojourners from other lands [while of course not giving them carte blanche to commit crimes - e.g., by prosecuting them as here] is thought as "unAmerican," one can have that view as desired, including by interpreting religious texts differently] is different than the city here, but a jury will again have a chance to not convict after the authorities prosecuted.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 6, 2018 3:47:33 PM

The sad thing, Joe, is that you believe that bullshit.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 7, 2018 8:35:43 AM

Where's the respect for the jury's verdict? Pathetic.

Posted by: Mark M. | Jan 7, 2018 3:23:29 PM

Mark. San Fran Jury = Bronx jury. Both are totally pro-criminal. Should a jury of KKK members judge a white man who attacked a black man? Would you respect or criticize that verdict?

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 8, 2018 9:43:58 AM

Joe. The typical sentence for involuntary manslaughter in California is 3 years. Justice has been done, albeit through slowness and incompetence.

The real crime is to suborn illegal entry into the US by the mayor and by the governor of California. The failure to prosecute those two is the real injustice.

Trump is a NY liberal, and a weak leader. Watch out for the next guy, in 2024, after the country learns, Trump was not enough. Such California officials will then be arrested, and federal funds will then be cut off to their jurisdictions.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 8, 2018 9:50:41 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB