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Garcia Zarate found not guilty in Steinle murder case

Original post made on Nov 30, 2017

Jurors Thursday afternoon found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the 45-year-old Mexican citizen charged in the 2015 fatal shooting of Pleasanton native Kate Steinle, not guilty of murder charges.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 30, 2017, 3:26 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by Linda
a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Shame on California. A young women was murdered in cold blood. Turn the other way until it's your Mother, sister, daughter. Wake up California! You are a very sick state. God help you.

Posted by RozRogoff2
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 30, 2017 at 7:28 pm

RozRogoff2 is a registered user.

I'm shocked! This man literally got away with murder. He claimed he was shooting at something in the water, a dolphin or a seal, and the bullet accidentally hit Ms. Steinle.

BS I say. Garcia Zarate got exactly what he wanted. Now he'll spend some time in a comfortable American prison, with (as they say) three hots and a cot, and won't have to go back to Mexico. I really think that's why he did it; so he would not be bused back to Mexico for the fourth or fifth time.

And for the comment above about not being convicted of murder, I believe he didn't care. He figured he could live on Death Row for 10 more years with appeals and retrials, and that would still be better than going back to Mexico.

OK I'm speculating on his motive, but there's always a motive. This was not an accidental shooting.


Posted by daveday
a resident of Danville
on Nov 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm

A true victory for political correctness, incompetent district attorneys, progressive liberalism stupidity and criminals everywhere. This is a highly visible example of the California justice system's total disregard for victims. God help us all.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 7:12 am

Wrongful death lawsuit coming for SF I hope! Seems like a slam dunk. If SF didn't itentionally disobey Fed law Kate would still be alive.

Posted by Danville Newbie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 7:43 am

If dear Ms. Steinle, may she rest in peace, was of a different "persuasion", there would be riots in the streets.
Justice system? Doesn't seem to exist here. Shame!

Posted by Learned Hand
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 7:45 am

Learned Hand is a registered user.

The jury who heard the actual evidence has spoken.

This was an unfathomable tragedy with an unsympathetic defendant - but it was also a victory for the justice system that the process worked as it should. We don't do mobs with torches and pitchforks any more. Zarate was badly over-charged on the murder counts (it was a ricochet off the pavement, for cryin' out loud), and the fact that they couldn't even get a conviction on involuntary manslaughter speaks volumes.

Trust the system - not the fires of your emotional predilections, fanned by execrable right-wing media and political demagogues.

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:00 am

This unjust verdict is the result of San Francisco voters electing a man, George Gascon, who literally had never practiced law a day in his life, head District Attorney. Gascon went to Western State Law School, which is an unaccredited law school that does not even require an undergraduate degree to be admitted. After graduating from this unaccredited law school, he never practiced law, and never worked an attorney. However, the voters of San Francisco elected him head District Attorney, as his liberal politics were in line with theirs, as his campaign focused on decriminalization of drugs, and only being tough on crimes where the victim was politically correct and involved a hate crime, or the criminal defendant was a police officer.

Imagine a hospital having a chief surgeon who never did a single surgery in his life. This is what San Francisco did in electing Gascon their District Attorney, despite never practicing law a day in his life. His election led to the fleeing of experienced, competent trial attorneys from his office, with largely only political zealots remaining.

This case was not a priority to his office, as the victim was white, and more importantly the criminal defendant was the face of his political enemies attack on his cities sanctuary city policies. Politically, the criminal defendant was "on their side", so his office did not use their resources in hiring experienced experts, as they save their money for experts in cases where the victim is politically "on their side". The attorney in his office who he assigned this case to did a horrific job in trying this case, making one blunder after another. The worst mistake she made, that even a new trial attorney would never make, is overcharging, by charging the defendant with murder(and manslaughter and felon in possession of firearm), as it forced her to stand up and look the jury in the eye during her opening statement and tell them the evidence would show facts justifying murder. She then proceeded to try the case without putting on a single witness, or any evidence, of murder. A trial attorney must have credibility with the jury, and she lost all credibility by charging murder, telling the jury there would be evidence of murder, and then not presenting any evidence of murder. This was a slam dunk manslaughter case, but she blew the manslaughter conviction, by overcharging murder, and losing credibility with the jury. The jury did not trust her, based on her misrepresentations, and thus she lost the manslaughter conviction. Any experienced attorney would know this, but when you elect someone who has never practiced law to be head District Attorney, you get an office that is more comfortable at press conferences than in actually doing their job in court with a jury.

I have tried cases in San Francisco, and yes, in general they have liberal jury pools, but they are no different than any other county, in that the trial attorney must have credibility with the jury to win. The jury got this verdict wrong, but the majority of the blame needs to be with the San Francisco District Attorney's office, as they blew this trial, and the unjust verdict is on their hands. But then again, it was the citizens and voters of San Francisco that elected as head District Attorney a man who had never practiced law, based solely on his liberal political views, and the unjust verdict is the result.

Politics over justice in the city that is actually a "sanctuary from justice".

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:05 am

Thank God there is "Learned Hand" in our area who answered with wisdom and a knowledge of justice. (see above) Thanks for posting! I wish more people with compassion and common sense would share their thoughts.

Posted by Ralph Kramden
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

Kate's blood is on the hands of every low-IQ Leftist that supports the illegal sanctuary city movement. Your punishment is coming...

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:19 am

Hadn't read "American" before I posted. I agree a murder charge was completely wrong and affected the outcome of the case.

Too bad the readers of this site bring out so many name callers like Kramden above.

Posted by Lead by Example
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:39 am

You just have to look at who our president, Donald Trump, has selected to be in the top cabinet posts to see what the definition of unqualified or have no experience in the area is. Let's see - Betsy DeVo? Any experience in public education? No! Dr. Ben Carson. Any experience in Housing and Development? No! And, the list goes on.

Posted by Learned Hand
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

Learned Hand is a registered user.

Arlene - thanks. And don't worry about ol' grumpy Ralph - there are No "low-IQ leftists." He's just relieving steam into a strong wind, with predictable results. All wet.

Posted by Disgusted
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 9:32 am

Disgusted is a registered user.

Justice system?? Justice for whom? Does anyone think that the Stinely family feels they got justice for their precious daughter? If Kate was a non white and her murderer was found not guilty, there would have been riots last night. I'm not advocating violence, but where is the outrage, where are the feminists, the ACLU, the talking heads who scream for civil rights? I don't hear them. Will the Justice Dept. sue this murderer for violating Kate's civil rights like they did with people who have killed non-white citizens? I'm not a bigot or a racist; I want justice for EVERYONE, and letting this guy off with a slap on the wrist is not justice. If you have a gun in your hand, which they admitted that he did, and you kill someone with that gun, intentionally or not, you are guilty of manslaughter. How could they find him guilty of possessing the gun, but not of the consequences of that possession? It makes no sense. Be proud San Francisco, your bleeding heart liberal polices have caused another murder. Don't blame Donald Trump, anti-immigration polices or anyone/anything else - take responsibility; you are to blame.

Posted by Chris_SR
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 10:05 am

Chris_SR is a registered user.

It is very sad to see Kate's death being used for political grandstanding.

The defense argued that Zarate picked up a tee-shirt with the gun wrapped inside and that the gun went off and the prosecution didn't have any evidence that contradicted this theory.

In the end all the prosecution could prove is that he possessed the gun through the defense's own admission that he picked up the tee-shirt with the gun wrapped inside.

Posted by RozRogoff2
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 10:16 am

RozRogoff2 is a registered user.

I agree in part with both American and Learned Hand. Zarate is not a murderer but he is a killer. He deserved harsher punishment, but at least he is getting some punishment. Although as I pointed out above, he will be better off in prison than living on the streets or bused back to Mexico.

However the aptly named "Ralph Kramden" represents the attitudes of many low educated right-wingers (there are also low-educated left-wingers who are not any better).

By the way for those who are not old enough to remember Jackie Gleason's "The Honeymooners," Ralph Kramden was a working-class character he played in the sitcom. Kramden always came up with big schemes that never worked, so I wonder if that "nom de blog" is intended to be sarcastic.


Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 1, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Several jurors were reported on television news to be "immigrants", code for illegal immigrants in a sanctuary city like S.F.(could that possibly be true?--this is S.F. however).

During selection process, jurors were asked if they could reach a verdict that went against the position of Donald Trump.

The shooter said that he was shooting at seals. He shot the gun. He threw the gun in the water to hide the evidence. He did not rush to the person he shot to offer aid, rather he left the scene & was apprehended later.

Although not first degree murder, this is manslaughter. The verdict is a indelible stain on the sanctuary city of S.F. the sanctuary state of CA.

The city of S.F. deserves a huge lawsuit as a result of this.

Posted by Ticked off
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm

The DA got hoodwinked. The jury didn’t understand the law and blew this one. Maybe this is why they refer to a jury as “12 rocks in a box”. This is a clear signal that victims of serious crimes committed in SF will more than likely not find justice under the law. It tells criminals that SF will accept you with open arms and provide sanction for you from the law. What a disgrace and spit in the face to the Steinle family.

Posted by Gail
a resident of Danville
on Dec 1, 2017 at 7:11 pm

He should have at least been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter! Maybe he didn't intend to commit murder that day, but because he acted irresponsibly by picking up the gun and firing it, he caused Kate's death! If you get into a car after drinking alcohol and then get into an accident that kills someone, you sure as hell are going to be charged with Manslaughter and most likely convicted . . . I don't see what the difference is in these two scenarios.
San Francisco, by protecting CRIMINAL illegal aliens, has gone too far! No wonder Donald Trump got elected! It's about time our Country started taking care of
American citizens FIRST! This kangaroo court decision in San Francisco is a JOKE!

Posted by Laurie
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with American. I knew Kate professionally and her death is a great loss to the medical profession. Her expertise and knowledge as a device representative improved the quality of life of many patients. It is a shame that the district attorney/ prosecuting attorneys were not as competent in their professions as Kate was in hers. The only thing that will evoke a change in this broken system is if someone viewed as “important “ such as a judge, politician, etc is killed in a similar manner.

Posted by Scott
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm

San Francisco and other "sanctuary" cities are becoming less and less appealing every day.

Posted by donparking
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2017 at 11:20 am

often in criminal cases you do not give jurors info about priors . over charging is common, think about the Balt. Md. police case with freedy gray, the were over charged and all have walked. Same as the Frisco case. Why did the public not know the bullet bounced into Ms. Stienly. The verdict was overwhelming. Not suprized , the case as charged was weak. Have lived on or near the boarder for many years. We have to work with B.P and ICC in criminal cases. If I am not mistaken the area around San Diego does have a wall. Wall , bad idea, Border Patrol, good idea. San Francico seems in its own little world.

Posted by Tom T
a resident of Danville
on Dec 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm

This is a good view of the body politics of SF. Protect the illegal at all costs. No matter what if Trump is for it you must be against it.
Of coutse there are no riots, it take a specific demographic for that to happen.
This state is a mess and I for one and soon going to move and take my tax paying dollars with me.

Posted by Tom T
a resident of Danville
on Dec 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Learned Hand nobody even threatened a riot. There were no calls of no justice no peace. We all know why that is. Agree or disagree violence is never the way but we can vote every election and ask for better. To the people of this once great state, you gave one part a super majority. That is a huge mistake. Never ever give any party this much power. To tax payers and law abiding people. The DNC does not care about you. They want prop 47, sactuary states etc.

Time to wake up and see them for what they are.

Posted by Learned Hand
a resident of Danville
on Dec 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm

@TomT. The "torches and pitchforks" allusion was intended to be A METAPHOR for the unhinged knee-jerks who were and are bellyaching about a verdict that was properly arrived-at. It's a misplaced display of angry frustration, based on misunderstood civics lessons long since forgotten.

Ms. Steinle's death was unbelievably tragic, but that does not make the defendant guilty of murder. I think the jury got it right, although there was a pretty good case for Involuntary Manslaughter. All this sanctuary city blather and generalized anti-immigrant hostility is frankly shameful. We should be better than to give into base instincts for vengeance. Sometimes, unbelievably tragic things happen.

It ain't fair - but it ain't murder, either.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Visit Pleasanton Town Square and read "Political Correctness and the Criminal Element".

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Dec 3, 2017 at 7:51 am

Tom, AKA Learned Hand:

You think the jury got it right, and you think the anger people have for this verdict is " shameful".

Factually, all the elements for involuntary manslaughter were clearly present, and this should have been a slam dunk manslaughter conviction. But when voters elect a DA who never practiced law a day in his life, the victim does not belong to a " hate crime class", the criminal defendant is an illegal alien so the DA refuses to spend $ to hire experts on causation and forensics, and the DA commits malpractice in overcharging murder, and a liberal jury pool decides the case, the result is a true kangaroo court verdict.

People do not like injustice, Tom, you know this. If the same facts existed but Ms.Steinle was an African American lesbian in a wheelchair, the defendant was an Aryan Nation skinhead, do you think the DA in SF would hire proper experts, not overcharge the case and screw it up, and the liberal jury pool would have convicted on manslaughter. This was not a murder case, factually, it was manslaughter. It shouldn't matter who the victim or defendant is, factually the verdict should be the same. But it was not, so people are upset, and don't need a lecture from you.

God bless the Steinle family, and God bless those who are upset at injustice, no matter who the victim or defendant may be.

Posted by Greg T
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 3, 2017 at 8:38 am

Of course San Francisco "Justice" is really all political posturing. Had the shooter been a white American male and conservative or Republican you know that jury would have hung him!

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 4, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Some people lack critical thinking, example: "Learned Hand" states "The jury who heard the actual evidence has spoken.------ but it was also a victory for the justice system that the process worked as it should."

Let's extrapolate from Learned Hand's Pollyanna style thinking and apply his "wisdom" to the O.J Simpson trial where the jury ruled O.J.not guilty. I bet "Learned Hand" would say "The jury who heard the actual evidence has spoken.------it was also a victory for the justice system that the process worked as it should." I bet Learned Hand also believes that now that O.J.'s out, O.J. is spending all his time looking for the real perpetrator.

Posted by Learned Hand
a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm

@ Resident - you've spilled a lot of bile over one poor comparison. OJ was long ago, but if I remember correctly, that evidence was pretty good - whereas this evidence would not support the charges brought, except, as I've indicated twice, IM. The jury was right to acquit of the murder charges.

By the way, did you ever stop to consider how many jury verdicts have been rendered SINCE the OJ case? Shall we "extrapolate" and say they're ALL wrong? The justice system isn't perfect, but it's a whole lot better than the mob that inhabits this Town Square.

Posted by dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

You're right Roz! This was no accident. I bet you he is out free before he spends anytime with federal authorities.

Posted by Tom T
a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm

@ Mr. Hand

Some level of manslaughter would have been appropriate. The jury completely screwed this up and my speculation is Trump hate derranegment syndrome played a role here.
Allowing anyone that wants to cross the border come and stay is insanity.

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