News

Steinle case: SF prosecutors drop conviction for defendant in lieu of federal charges

Appellate court had overturned lone guilty finding for poor jury instruction

A San Francisco judge on Wednesday agreed to discharge a state gun conviction from two years ago for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate -- the man who held the pistol that killed Pleasanton native Kate Steinle as she walked on The Embarcadero in 2015.

Garcia Zarate's conviction for being an ex-felon in possession of a gun is from a 2017 San Francisco Superior Court trial in which a jury found him guilty of that charge, but acquitted him of additional charges of murder, manslaughter and assault with a gun for the death of Steinle, 32, on July 1, 2015.

Garcia Zarate, an undocumented Mexican national, claimed that the shooting was an accident and that he found the gun covered in rags beneath his chair, picked it up briefly when it fired and threw it into the Bay when he realized it was a gun.

On Aug. 30, a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal overturned Garcia Zarate's state gun conviction. Because the conviction was overturned, Judge Sam Feng agreed to discharge the conviction during Wednesday's hearing.

According to District Attorney's Office spokesman Alex Bastian, the conviction was discharged because Garcia Zarate is facing similar charges in federal court: two counts of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun.

"We make these methodically. There is a superseding indictment in this case. The federal government has charged this particular person with the same conduct that is occurring here. As a result, we're going to step aside and let the federal government take the case," Bastian said.

Garcia Zarate's defense attorney, the Public Defender's Office chief attorney Matt Gonzalez, was not immediately available for comment.

In addition to the two counts of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun, the federal government has also indicted Garcia Zarate for being an undocumented person in possession of a gun.

Garcia Zarate, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled to go on trial on those charges in the court of U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in January.

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 7, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

My wife and I are huge urban walkers where we travel to San Francisco several times a week and walk the streets, enjoy the history and architecture, and talk with people. We always get off at the Embarcadero and trek into the upper districts avoiding those low lining areas demonstrative of the socialist left wing ideology that is destroying this once grand city. But we never miss a moment to remember and reflect on Kate Steinle and her family and their unimaginable loss. We have a daughter older than Kate, and cannot bring ourselves to even ponder life without her. We can’t fix this American tragedy, so we always remember out of respect of her and her family.

San Francisco, as so many of these Sanctuary Cities, have gone to protecting those that have broken our laws by way of coming here, continue to burden our services, cheat our system, and (as we see with Kate) take the lives of our citizens without impunity. Unfortunately, we are, analogically speaking, an hour behind Europe. You’ll understand what I am talking about if you read ‘Them Strange Death Of Europe,’ by Douglas Murray.

If you have history living in the Bay Area than you know the list of San Francisco District Attorney’s that have excreted all over the law by pushing their 3rd world justice system onto the citizenry and visitors of this once beautiful Pearl Of The West. Unfortunately that will not change anytime soon, because the elite’s live behind walls, protected by men and women with guns, and never have to interact with the ugly side of San Francisco. Their concerns, struggles, and goals don’t follow with yours. Theirs are more rooted in grabbing more power, financing their projects that ‘don’t do better,’ but ‘feel better’, all of which will be eventually reflected upon years later as a disaster.

Sorry to you, Kate Steinle, for a community that let you down and refused to understand why.


19 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 7, 2019 at 6:13 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Thanks, Jake, but don't go there anymore. Something bad is bound to happen. I'm gonna look for Douglas Murray.
And always remember that this is the city that spawned Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Gavin Newscum and they ALL live behind walls.


9 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Just a little reminder that the violent crime rate today in San Francisco is way lower than it was 30 to 40 years ago. Important to remember that. I'm grateful to everyone who made that a reality.

Merry Christmas.


11 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Thanks, Bob, but can you provide me with some links to back up that statement? it's not that I don't believe you, it's just that I don't know you and there is WAY too much fake news on the internet today.

And Happy Chanuka to you.


15 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 8, 2019 at 12:44 am

No, the crime rate isn’t lower. They have reduced the proactive police work that SFPD use to do. Not to mention that certain acts of crime are declassified. Walking the city as we do, you don’t see the officers walking the downtown much anymore or in their cars. The businesses hire them to work off-duty as security. It is all smoke and mirrors.


11 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 8, 2019 at 6:16 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Helps to have numbers: Web Link

I’m sure there are other sources with greater detail.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2019 at 9:56 am

BobB is a registered user.

Thank you Kathleen. Decline in crime rates over the past three decades as well documented.


19 people like this
Posted by OK
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 8, 2019 at 10:05 am

If you quit enforcing the laws, as San Francisco has done, the crime rate will go down. The SF DA has clearly stated he will no longer enforce many of the laws. Look at Bart as another example.


9 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 8, 2019 at 10:30 am

James Michael is a registered user.

That link that Kathleen provided only goes back 10 years, not 30 or 40 (Bob) and the violent crime rate is actually up during that 10 year span 2009/485, 2019/581 and the property crime rate is way up 2792/2009, 5301/2019. The only decline in that 10 years was robbery, auto theft, and burglary.

And statistics can be manipulated.


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:05 am

BobB is a registered user.

James Michael,

This is one of those "have you been living under a rock" type issues. Of course the crime rate has dropped over the last 30 years, both here and throughout the country. It has been all over the news for years.

I have provided many, many links in other posts here on Pleasanton Weekly, that you most likely saw and maybe forgot. Go ahead and look. Meanwhile, go ahead and show me some links that contradict that (If you're really being serious -- Are you being serious?)

Maybe it is inherent bias?

"Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data."

"Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data shows it is down. In 18 of 22 Gallup surveys conducted between 1993 and 2018, at least six-in-ten Americans said there was more crime in the U.S. compared with the year before, despite the generally downward trend in national violent and property crime rates during most of that period."

Web Link

Go ahead and look for the San Francisco statistics. Plenty pops up with a quick search. An example:

Web Link

If you can find anything that says the violent crime rate has increased over the last 30 - 40 years in the Bay Area, please let me know. I'll be happy to take a look at it. I'd readily admit if I have this wrong.


8 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:22 am

James Michael is a registered user.

A Chronicle article and national stats. That's hardly 30 or 40 years of SF stats. Where's the bias? I think its in your court.


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:27 am

BobB is a registered user.

@James Michael,

I can't tell if you're serious or not. If you have any data, please provide it.


7 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:32 am

BobB is a registered user.

"Homicides in San Francisco are flirting with a 50 year low, and violent crime categories were not only down last year, they are down again, so far, this year."

Web Link

Go ahead and look back at some of my older links also.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:36 am

BobB is a registered user.

@OK,

I agree that something needs to be done about BART. It is a mess.


10 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 9, 2019 at 9:12 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Okay, BobBo, I forgot about this when the sun came out. But...

Phil Matier 9-25-19 SF Chronicle,
"San Francisco has by far the highest property crime rate in California, with more than twice the number of reported thefts per capita than Los Angeles or Santa Clara counties, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California.
And when it comes to arrests San Francisco is 50th out of the state's 58 counties." Property crime is burglary, larceny, robbery, shop lifting, vandalism, car break ins, you know the usual suspects.

More articles: cityjournal.org (Erica Sandburg, May 19,2019), nbcbayarea.com, realestate.usnews.com, areavibes.com and the list goes on, even the Pleasanton Patch has an article on safe cities today. Plenty of graphs and pie charts too.
Can't find anything to support your assertion that crime is "way lower" than 40 years ago.

You can't just focus on violent crime (which is actually slightly up over the last ten years) and present a true picture of a safe city. There is good news though, San Francisco is safer than Oakland or Stockton but I'm sure that is going to change because there is a new DA in town. No arrests=no reported crimes...simple math. And, yes, I am serious.


4 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2019 at 10:24 am

BobB is a registered user.

Of course much less violent crime means safer. That's why I was specific about violent crime. There is no denying theft and minor crimes are a problem.

Also, I see you comparing other cities to San Francisco, not San Francisco today to San Francisco 40 years ago.


5 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 9, 2019 at 3:00 pm

I have no idea if crime rates are up or down from thirty years ago. All I know is we're more exposed to everything these days (including crime) thanks to the internet, so it will seem like there is an increase in everything. Also, not all crimes are reported, so we'll never really know one way or the other. Stats only report crimes that were reported.


8 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2019 at 3:54 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Nick,

But in the case of murders, probably most of those are reported, and we are at a 50 year low.


19 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 10, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

Enough!

What is your point to the article regarding Kate Steinle? Kate Steinle isn’t the personification of a conclusion to your argument about homicide statistics or the increase in auto burglary. Kate Steinle is the demonstrative breakdown of a judicial system that doesn’t hold all people to the same rules. If an American citizen had discovered that weapon on the pier that day and the gun fired a round as that person held it in their hand they would have been, at the minimum, charged and convicted for Manslaughter.

Kate Steinle was a victim of a liberal political system that was more interested in protecting a class of people that had no standing in this country. A political system that went outside the comprehension of logic by implementing a policy to protect these people that ‘have no standing’ (Sanctuary Cities). As a result, Kate Steinle was robbed of her civil rights. If the roles had been reversed, Kate Steinle would have been charged and the family of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate would have sued her parents.

The sad state of affairs of this tragic outcome isn’t from rising crime rates, ‘Broken Windows Study,’ or even the ‘Ferguson Effect.’ You remove Jose Ines Garcia Zarate from the equation and Kate goes home with her family and lives out her dreams. The Democrats own this one.
.


4 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Jake Waters,

My point was to point out to all of the negative commenters that the violent crime rate in San Francisco has actually been going down, not up, over the last 40 years. The murder rate is down, not up. We should be thankful for that.

Furthermore, you don't know that "if the roles had been reversed, Kate Steinle would have been charged". She may well have gotten the same treatment as Mr. Zarate. At any rate, her death was an anomaly.

Also remember that illegal immigrants mainly come here for a better life and to escape terrible conditions in their home countries.

I'm glad San Francisco is safer than it has been in decades.

Once again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


6 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Give it a rest...you don't need to have the last word. You made your point, yawn.


5 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 11, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My thoughts:
There are sixty-five car break ins, in San Francisco everyday.
The average cost to the victim and tax payer combined is tens of thousands in some cases, generally $1500 in most cases, for the car break ins.

Although car break ins are not murder and rape, they are horrendous crimes that go unpunished.


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