<< Court Packing | Main | News Scan >>


Federal Warrant for Killer of Kate Steinle

| 10 Comments
Max Greenwood reports for The Hill:

A federal warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Mexican immigrant acquitted Thursday evening of murder charges in the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle.

Steinle's death has been taken up by opponents of so-called sanctuary cities. They argue that stricter immigration enforcement would have kept Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who is residing in the U.S. illegally and was deported five separate times before the 2015 shooting, off the streets.

The arrest warrant unsealed in the Western District of Texas by the Justice Department on Friday accuses Zarate of violating his supervised release.

Given his record, once he is safely in federal custody he can surely be charged with federal weapons violations which can put him away for a long time.

10 Comments

Feds can put him away for ten years on a Felon in possession charge. Although he is in local custody now, a consecutive federal sentence is not a lock as you can look for the publicity seeking public defender to argue for probation in light of a "vindictive federal prosecution."

That there is even a possibility that a "vindictive" prosecution would even be an issue here shows just how far we need to go in getting rid of some of these optics-based ideas that aren't problematic at all. Prosecuting a felon and a repeat illegal immigrant for gun possession in this case is a duty not evidence of vindictiveness.

To be clear, the concept of a "vindictive federal prosecution" was what I anticipate his public defender will argue.

In my years, I was amazed how many times this specious argument fell on sympathetic judicial ears.

I apologize if my post suggested that you thought that it would have merit.

My point, obviously inartfully stated, was that a PD making such an argument should be laughed at. That we (i.e., courts) give credibility to such nonsense shows how far we need to go. Federal prosecution for his repeated violations is just what the doctor ordered.

Would love some refined analysis, especially from Bill given his extended DOJ experience, about whether the feds in prosecuting Zarate should worry at all about which particular charges to bring in light of state prosecution history.

Though felon-in-possession is the easy/obvious federal charge --- and might even carry a 15-year MM based on his priors --- state felon-in-possession was the one charge Zarate was convicted on in state court. For federal prosecutors, that matters not a whit for constitutional purposes thanks to dual sovereignty doctrines; but perhaps it should matter for DOJ policy reasons (and/or might impact federal sentencing arguments).

I surmise there a amble federal immigration charges which might be brought, and perhaps clever prosecutors can find a federal statute that includes a "causing a death hook" in a statute that would allow increased punishment for the death. But I wonder if experienced folks think it would be wise, even though not constitutionally required, to have federal charges against Zarate look to vindicate harms/concerns distinct from what the state court prosecution concerned.

Trump's Department of Justice has the same "second bite at the apple" that the Obama administration used so eagerly and routinely to bring Federal Civil rights violations against police conduct that had brought either no charges or a not guilty verdict locally.

The state court prosecution always had an uphill climb in a radically progressive city like San Francisco.

I doubt that AG Sessions will lose any sleep whatsoever in bringing all applicable charges against Zarate.

As a 31 year retired employee from the DOJ/US District Court, neither will I.

I do not disagree on these basics, mjs, but note that Zarate was CONVICTED in state court on a gun charge.

Federal prosecution after a problematic acquittal at the state level --- see, e.g., Rodney King --- is arguably more justified than after a state conviction (albeit with an acquittal on the most serious charges). Ergo my focus on the prospects for a federal gun charge VS some other charges given that there was neither "no charges or a not guilty verdict locally" with respect to illegal gun possession.

I am not expecting or seeking for the AG to lose any sleep, but rather just interested in some refined reflection on just how any second federal apple bite should best proceed.

This is how it looks:

Gregg Jarrett | Fox News:
If you are inclined to commit a heinous crime, San Francisco is the place for you.
Prosecutors argued that Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Steinle with a stolen
Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun. There was sufficient evidence to convict him
on either 1st-degree or 2nd-degree murder.

But even if the jury was not persuaded that the accused acted intentionally and with malice aforethought, as the murder law in California demands, he was clearly guilty
of involuntarily manslaughter.

A simple reading of the statute, Penal Code Sec 192(b), explains why. It states that an unlawful act resulting in death, or criminal negligence (recklessness) causing death, are both grounds for conviction on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Indeed, the jury found Garcia Zarate guilty of an unlawful act – being a felon in possession of a firearm. And he admitted he shot Steinle. Logically,he should
have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Beyond that, his claim that
the gun went off accidentally is evidence that he was reckless in its handling.
This, too, constitutes grounds for a manslaughter conviction.

But there’s more.
When he was arrested, Garcia Zarate told police he was shooting at a seal. That is an intentional act that establishes the crime of felony murder. In the case of People v. Hansen (9 Cal. 4th 300), the California Supreme Court determined that discharging
a firearm into an area with people nearby is an inherently dangerous felony for the purposes of 2nd-degree felony murder.

Of course, the defendant’s statement to police completely contradicted the claims his attorney made in court. So which story was true and which was a lie? Was Garcia Zarate deliberately firing the gun or did it go off accidentally? Both explanations cannot be true, which means someone is lying. That should have been enough
to discredit and discard the entire defense case.

~ http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/01/gregg-jarrett-steinle-verdict-
is-only-latest-miscarriage-justice-in-san-francisco.html

~More from Gregg Jarrett, asserting that injustice in San Francisco
is ever yet, de rigueur:

Gregg Jarrett | Fox News
Yet no amount of reasoning or evidence appeared to be of any consequence
to this San Francisco jury. And frankly, not much has changed since 1979,
when a seemingly clueless, biased or gullible jury acquitted Dan White of
murdering Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

The 1979 case is still vivid in my mind. I was two blocks away from City Hall,
sitting in a law school class, when the killings took place. One of my
professors represented White in court. I sat in on parts of the trial.
The defense called a psychiatrist to the witness stand. The
psychiatrist testified that White’s diet of junk food,
including Twinkies, donuts and Coca-Cola, caused a
significant change in his mood and behavior.

Armed with this expert testimony, the defense attorney argued that his client
suffered from “diminished mental capacity” so severe that he was incapable
of the deliberation required for murder. The high sugar content and
preservatives, he said, made White act violently, not with malice.

It was a total crock, I thought, but it worked. White was acquitted of the
murder charges, but convicted of manslaughter. After roughly 5 years
behind bars
, he was released. It turns out, he killed again. Himself.

I spent several years trying cases in San Francisco. It was a defense
attorney’s dream
, which confirmed the observation of my professor who
remarked:
“Anything will fly in front of a San Francisco jury. All they need is an
excuse, however improbable or impossible.”

He was right back then and, obviously, now.


~ http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/01/gregg-jarrett-steinle-verdict-
is-only-latest-miscarriage-justice-in-san-francisco.html

2 attorneys with San Francisco backgrounds:
~ http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2017/12/01/gregg-jarrett-steinle-verdict-
is-miscarriage-justice.html

Doug, I think you have pointed out a distinction w/o a meaningful difference. Feds will review the totality of circumstances and bring whatever federal charges necessary to
Satisfy the ends of justice.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives