No Justice for Kate Steinle! Killer To Go Free. Not Even Deportation.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty Thursday of murdering Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015. To add insult to injury, Zarate will be allowed to walk free, and won’t even face deportation, despite being an illegal alien, because California is a sanctuary state and will not detain those in the country illegally so that they may be picked up for deportation by ICE.
Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter after six days of jury deliberation. He also was found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon, though he was found guilty of possessing a firearm by a felon—at least the Californians got him for having a gun, right?
Zarate and his defense team maintained that the suspect found the stolen weapon on the pier that day and it “just fired.” The bullet ricocheted on the pier’s concrete walkway before it struck Steinle, who was walking with her father and a family friend when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. She died at the scene.
The prosecution painted a very different picture, telling jurors that Zarate deliberately shot the gun towards Steinle while “playing his own secret version of Russian roulette.” Apparently the jury believed Zarate’s defense.
Steinle’s death sparked a heated national debate over illegal immigration and so-called sanctuary cities. No matter what people’s view on Zarate’s guilt, despite the not guilty verdict, his release into the general public will only galvanize the debate about sanctuary cities even further.
Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.
Following Steinle’s death, Congress took action to pass new legislation called Kate’s Law. The law — passed by the House of Representatives in June, but still awaiting a Senate hearing — increases the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and are caught.
San Francisco is a sanctuary city, with local law enforcement officials barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
In a response to the verdict, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement saying that despite California’s attempt at a murder conviction, Zarate was able to walk away with only a firearm possession conviction because he was not turned over by San Francisco to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk. San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle.
ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan added his thoughts:
San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets.
Because of the verdict, whatever sentencing Zarate gets for the gun charge, as soon as its served, he will be free to go back into the streets, rather than being loaded up and shipped out of the country. All because California won’t help enforce the immigration laws of this country, which, if they had done in the first place, would have prevented this from happening anyway.
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