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San Francisco Justice:  The jury in the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate for the July 1, 2015 murder of Kate Steinle returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges but illegal possession of a firearm yesterday.   CBS San Francisco reports that Kate's father, who was walking with her on a pier when she was shot and killed, told reporters "There is no other way you can coin it.  Justice was rendered but it was not served."  Zarate, an habitual felon who has been deported five times, was living in San Francisco specifically because it is a sanctuary city.  At the trial, defense attorneys argued that Zarate's shooting of Steinle with a stolen gun was a tragic accident.  The jury bought it.  Its been an open secret for at least the last 40 years that the worst news a prosecutor anywhere in California could get is that a murder defendant has won a change of venue to San Francisco.  There are few places in the country where the public is as reliably pro-defendant than in the city by the bay.   In just about any other place in the United States, Zarate would most likely have been been convicted of at least manslaughter.  In San Francisco Zarate is a member of a protected class.  Kate Steinle was not.   

Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald has this excellent piece in the City Journal on the Kate Steinle murder and the verdict in this case.

More Murders in Baltimore:  The number of murder's in Baltimore hit 319 Thursday, beating the 318 total for all of 2016 and approaching the record of 344 set in 2015.  Kevin Rector of the Baltimore Sun reports that a 21-year-old man shot dead in an East Baltimore neighborhood Thursday morning occurred just hours after police discovered a man's body in a burning vacant house in West Baltimore.  Calling the violence "out of control"  Mayor Catherine Pugh has promised to add 3,000 officers to the city's police force.  Unfortunately her agreement last April to a federal consent decree restricting pro-active policing in the city means that any new officers will be joining a hobbled department.  A 40-year old woman who heard the gunshots and saw the victim lying in the street Thursday morning told the Sun reporter, "we at a bad spot in this city."   

4 Comments

Good invective, but here's a slightly more nuanced look at what might have gone wrong with the prosecution's case, from a prosecutor (on RedState, no less):

https://www.redstate.com/patterico/2017/12/01/lawsplainer-california-homicide-statutes-relevant-steinle-murder-case/

- Victor

Elements of involuntary manslaughter:

1. Someone was killed as a result of the defendant's actions.
2. The act either was inherently dangerous to others or done with reckless disregard for human life.
3. The defendant knew or should have known his or her conduct was a threat to the lives of others.

I've caught fish that could prove these elements to a jury outside of San Francisco in this case.

Decencyevolves: And if the prosecution hadn’t succumbed to political pressure to press for a murder conviction and settled instead on a more sensible course of aiming at an involuntary msnslaughter conviction, they might have gotten one. Overreaching is a dangerous strategy, as this analysis by Redstate points out, and the defense theory wasn’t implausible. https://www.redstate.com/sarah-rumpf/2017/11/30/lied-kate-steinle-case/amp/

Here is a bit of background for our readers outside California.

California district attorneys are elected by county. California counties range from tiny to behemoth.

The City of San Francisco is its own county. Technically, the municipality is "the City and County of San Francisco." The city, and hence the county, is actually quite small in land area and not all that big in population. It is only 12th in population in the state, behind Kern (Bakersfield and vicinity) and Fresno.

When people run for District Attorney of San Francisco, they don't have to care what the people of the rest of the Bay Area, the rest of the State, or the rest of the country think. They only have to care what the people in that little fingernail on the pinky of San Francisco peninsula think.

The DA was under political pressure to press for a murder conviction? That doesn't sound plausible to me. San Francisco politics consists entirely of lefties, beginning with people who would be considered out of the mainstream on a national scale and going further left from there. From whom would this pressure come?

The case was being used, and continues to be used, by political forces advocating more effective border control and deportation of illegal aliens already here. To say that San Francisco politics is rabidly to the contrary is an understatement.

If anyone prominent in San Francisco politics was pressuring the DA to go tough on this defendant, I would like to know who it was.

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