The Appeal Court in California Overturns an immigrant’s Gun Conviction Charged with the Murder of Kate Steinle

The court of appeal in the state of California has dropped the charges against an immigrant

The Appeal Court in California Overturns an immigrant’s Gun Conviction Charged with the Murder of Kate Steinle

The court of appeal in the state of California has dropped the charges against an immigrant who allegedly killed a young lady on the waterfront in San Francisco, a legal case that raised a national immigration controversy.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, the defendant was charged with the murder of Kate Steinle on July 2015, while she and her father were taking a walk on the pier before being shot with a gun that hit her on the back.

The Los Angeles appeals attorney who advocated on behalf of Garcia-Zarate indicated that the case became very challenging because he was illegally in the country and had been extradited for about five times. This was the main topic of discussion of the many addresses made by President Donald Trump in 2016.

However, his gun charges were overturned by the First District Court of Appeal because the opportunity of exonerating the defendant was provided to the jury by the Judge based on the fact that he was only with the firearm for a brief period.

This enabled the prosecutor to make him stand trial again in the Supreme Court of San Francisco, on that one count, but the truth is that they were effective in remanding Garcia-Zarate into custody for federal crimes.

Garcia-Zarate claimed he grabbed the firearm covered in a T-shirt which accidentally went off. He indicated that the bullet rocketed past the walkway and knocked down Steinle who was with her father and a friend of the family.

The firearm that was used belonged to the ranger at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management who had earlier reported that it was stolen in San Francisco from his car.

The defense attorney of the defendant during the appeal justified that he couldn’t be charged with unlawful gun possession since he only had the gun for a brief moment.

However, the prosecutor responded by contending the fact that there was an insignificant lapse in the ruling of the jury since Garcia-Zarate confessed he fired the murder weapon accidentally, which experts claim is impossible except if the trigger is pulled.

Although the court objected because the decision of the jury revealed that they were against the judgment of the prosecutors, that the shooting was, deliberately or carelessly done and the definition of possession should be specified by the judge if there was a required time this would be in effect.

Justice Sandra Marguilles specified in her 3-0 judgment that the question centers around brief handling and the inquiries made by the jury and the needed time to enact possession reveals that there was controversy on the period the gun was handled.

Matt Gonzalez, the public defense lawyer who contended with the case presented to the jury, stated that the inaccurate information indicated that a fair trial was not given to the defendant.

He stated that it was not in any way surprising and they were entitled to the information provided and Mr. Garcia-Zarate should have been exonerated if the information hasn’t gotten to the jury, which is satisfying. He unknowingly grabbed an object that fired and dropped it immediately after the incident.

During the arrest, Garcia Zarate was having deportation issues from which he was freed three months before the sad occurrence.

A request was presented to the Sheriff’s Department by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to inform them whenever he was freed and detain him till he was arrested. However, San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy prohibits any collaboration of the law enforcement agents in the area with the investigations of federal immigration.

Trump argued the need for strict immigration policy as he referenced the incident during one of his campaigns as he gave an address about the sanctuary city.
Trump, in 2017 stated in a tweet that the exoneration was a shameful decision and the policy at the sanctuary city was claimed by the former US Attorney General to be responsible for Steinle’s death.

Garcia-Zarate was, however, condemned to three years’ imprisonment under the gun conviction but did not spend any additional time because of the period of his awaiting trial.

He has been detained nonetheless till he stands trial on Jan 13 for gun possession.
The lawyer advocating on behalf of Garcia-Zarate on a federal conviction, Tony Serra stated that the reversal of his client’s conviction indicates the possibility of his client to stand trial again under gun conviction.

Tony Serra stated in a report that the omission usually results in a reversal which the prosecutor must attend and the possible decision will be a big one.

Similar cases usually do not result in the prosecutor indicting a defendant on a jail time that can no longer be served, but the political connection of the case can result in an unpredictable outcome.

The spokesperson at the San Francisco district office, Alex Bastian indicated that the retrial of Gracia-Zarate’s case is still under consideration. Additionally, the Attorney General’s office in the state which filed for the appeal is also evaluating the case. 

Updated Date: 04 October 2019, 13:26

John Thunberbold

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