Saturday, December 2, 2017
Reflections on Kate Steinle, San Francisco, and #BoycottSanFrancisco
A jury in the arch sanctuary city of San Francisco acquitted Jose Innes Garcia Zarate of first and second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a semi-automatic weapon, but convicted him of being a felon unlawfully in possession of a firearm. Zarate was the five times deported illegal immigrant who shot Kate Steinle to death from the back. She collapsed in her father’s arms and died two hours later in the hospital. Zarate claimed it was an accident, with the bullet ricocheting off a concrete deck. He said the gun went off accidentally when he reached for the gun on the ground. He had said though in the police report that he was trying to shoot at sea lions. Outrage followed the decision. President Trump called it a disgrace. Attorney General Sessions issued a statement: “When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk.” Tom Homan, Deputy Director of ICE, echoed the Attorney General: “San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets.” Was it simply a case of San Francisco being San Francisco? Is it San Francisco sending a message to President Trump? Was it jury nullification? What about judicial nullification? Not all in San Francisco are celebrating the jury verdict. The very liberal San Francisco Chronicle editorialized ”Justice was rendered, but it was not served.” Zarate was released from a federal prison after serving his sentence for unlawfully reentering the United States. The Bureau of Prisons turned him over to San Francisco on an outstanding bench warrant for illegal possession of marijuana. The presumption was that San Francisco would return him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) upon resolution of the marijuana case. However, San Francisco’s leftish, incompetent, spousal abusing Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Zarate on the streets on April 15, 2015 without notifying ICE. The tragic shooting followed 2½ months later on July 1. Much of the blame for the decision should fall on Judge James Feng. Supporters of the jury verdict assert it was based on the facts. That’s true as far as it goes. Counsel are limited in their cases by what the judge allows, or refuses to admit, into evidence. Judge Feng forbad mention of Garcia’s immigration status, that he had been deported 5 times, or had a felony record (7 felonies including multiple heroin arrests). Most significantly, the judge denied the jury’s request to examine the pistol’s trigger. They wanted to determine if it was easy or hard to fire. The prosecution argued the gun, a .40-caliber-Sig Sauer P239 required a high degree of force to shoot. Mayor Lee’s spokeswoman poured fuel on the fire by releasing the statement: “San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city.” Francisco Ugarte, the defense attorney, called it a “vindication for the rest of immigrants.” We’ll see when some prominent residents are killed by the illegal immigrants. San Francisco loosened somewhat its sanctuary policy after the tragic killing of Kate Steinle. Zarate said he comes to San Francisco because he knows it will not deport him. The more San Francisco serves as a beacon to felonious aliens, the greater the risk of more tragedies. Signs of sanity exist in the city. Sheriff Mirkarimi was defeated for reelection in 2015, receiving only 32% of the vote against Sheriff Captain Vicki Hennessey. She advocates a more flexible approach to the immigrants. I’ve reached the point where little surprises me in jury verdicts. The acquittals of O.J., Aaron Hernandez, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, and Casey Anthony continue to mystify me. Some are threatening to boycott California. I live in California; it is impossible for me to Boycott California. Many are promising to boycott San Francisco in response to #BoycottSanFrancisco. Not me. I don’t like boycotts in general. I was born, raised, and educated in San Francisco. Francis Scott Key Elementary School, A.P. Gianinni Junior High, Lowell High School, and the University of San Francisco. The Sunset District a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean was my home for years. San Francisco is in my DNA. San Francisco is to me Neil Diamond’s song “I am, I said.” He sang “LA’s fine, but it ain’t home. New York is my home, but it ain’t mine no more.” Substitute San Francisco for New York, and anywhere I’ve lived for the O.C. No matter how much I like, or even love, Ann Arbor, Ada, Ohio, Tacoma, Seattle, Springfield, Massachusetts, or Tustin, San Francisco will always be my home.