We were hoping that the story around the horrible murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal alien was over, but thanks to the appellate court, it continues.
Although Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was only convicted of one minor count in the murder, that one has been overturned on a technicality. NBC News explains the ruling here:
A California appeals court on Friday reversed a conviction against a Mexican man in the country illegally who was acquitted in the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 46, did not get a fair trial when he was convicted of being a felon in possession of the gun used in the shooting, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District ruled Friday.
The San Francisco Superior Court judge who oversaw the murder case disallowed his argument that he never had legal possession of the deadly weapon.
“Because the error was prejudicial, we are compelled as a matter of law to reverse,” the appeals court said in its ruling.
Cuccinnelli was upset about the ruling:
Kate Steinle was tragically killed because San Francisco proudly proclaims itself a sanctuary city. How many more innocents will die b4 sanctuary cities stop harboring violent criminals? This defies common sense, public safety, & human decency. #NoJustice https://t.co/rFeungS0wK
— USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (@USCISCuccinelli) August 31, 2019
The ruling is a little difficult to understand – here’s how Fox News explains it:
On Friday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned that conviction because the judge failed to give the jury the option of acquitting Garcia-Zarate on the theory he only possessed the weapon for a moment.
Prosecutors argued that the jury instruction lapse was harmless because Garcia-Zarate admitted firing the gun and experts said he couldn’t do so without pulling the trigger. The court disagreed, saying the jury’s verdict showed they rejected the prosecution theory that the shooting was intentional or even negligent and they had asked the judge to define possession and whether there was a time requirement for possession.
“These questions go to the heart of the momentary possession defense,” Justice Sandra Margulies wrote in the 3-0 decision. “The fact the jury asked whether there was a time requirement for possession suggests jurors were wrestling with how long [the] defendant had the gun.”
Zarate still faces a trial for federal charges of gun possession and being in the country illegally, and that trial will begin in January. Although he won’t get what he deserves for the murder, at least some small semblance of justice will be served.