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Thread: Opening statements to begin in case that sparked sanctuary cities debate

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  1. #11
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    Defense Rests Case in Kate Steinle Murder Trial

    November 9, 2017
    By Bay City News


    Defense attorneys rested their case Thursday in the trial of the man charged with shooting and killing Kate Steinle on San Francisco's Pier 14 after presenting testimony from a translator who brought into question parts of the interrogation conducted by police.

    Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Steinle, a 32-year-old San Francisco resident who was walking on the pier on July 1, 2015 with her family when she was struck, seemingly at random, by a single bullet to the back.

    Prosecutor Diana Garcia has not presented a motive for the shooting, and is not required to prove that Garcia Zarate intended to kill Steinle for a second-degree murder charge, but she does have to prove that he fired the gun intentionally. She has pointed to the fact that he threw the gun into the water after it fired and left the scene quickly as evidence of his guilt.

    While defense attorneys do not dispute that Garcia Zarate was holding the gun, a semi-automatic pistol that had been stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger's vehicle days earlier, they have argued that the shooting was accidental.

    Garcia Zarate, a homeless undocumented immigrant with a history of deportations and drug charges, fled the area because he was startled and had reason to try to avoid attention, they argue.

    During a police interrogation after the shooting, Garcia Zarate, speaking primarily through a Spanish interpreter, gave police a number of inconsistent and confusing statements, some of which conflict with the physical evidence in the case. At some points he appeared to agree he fired the gun, even telling officers he was shooting at a sea lion on the pier, while at other points he described the gun as going off by itself.

    However a translator presented as an expert witness for the defense today said the police translator had consistently mistranslated the word "trigger" during the interrogation.

    Instead of asking Garcia Zarate if he had pulled the trigger, as officers asked him in English, the translator asked if he had fired the gun, according to translator Fanny Suarez, a trained legal interpreter and investigator for the public defender's office.

    "The issue of whether Mr. Garcia Zarate admitted to pulling trigger is a very key issue in this case, and the term 'pull the trigger' literally was never translated to him," defense attorney Francisco Ugarte said outside of court.

    Urgarte and Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney for the public defender's office, have presented seven defense witnesses this week including two firearm experts who testified that the bullet ricocheted off the pier before it struck Steinle and that the shooting appeared likely to be accidental.

    They also presented a video enhancement expert who walked jurors through footage showing a group of people lingering near the seat on the pier where Garcia Zarate sat shortly before he arrived.

    Defense attorneys have said that Garcia Zarate found the gun on the pier and fired it accidentally when picking it up to investigate. They used this footage to demonstrate that the gun could have been left there shortly before his arrival.

    Garcia did not present any evidence linking Garcia Zarate with the gun's theft or demonstrating that he possessed it prior to the shooting, but did have a witness demonstrate to jurors that it could have fit into one of his pockets.

    Steinle's shooting draw national attention after it became known that Garcia Zarate had been released from a city jail several months earlier without notification to federal authorities. Republicans including then-presidential candidate Donald Trump used the shooting as a way to attack San Francisco's Sanctuary City policies, which limit communication and cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration authorities.

    Steinle's family filed a lawsuit against the city over Garcia Zarate's release but that case has since been dismissed. Despite the controversy, Garcia Zarate's immigration status has not played a role in the trial.

    Somewhat more relevant to the case have been concerns over ongoing problems with auto burglaries in San Francisco and the theft of firearms from law enforcement. Three law enforcement officers have had firearms stolen from them in the city since August alone, and one of those guns, a personal weapon taken from a San Francisco police officer's car, has since been involved in a homicide.

    Defense attorneys have drawn attention to the role of the BLM ranger in the case, noting that if he had properly secured his weapon Steinle would still be alive. Steinle's family also has a lawsuit pending against federal authorities over the gun's loss.

    Gonzalez said his team was satisfied with the case they had presented. The prosecution will present at least one rebuttal witness on Monday and closing arguments are scheduled for the following Monday, Nov. 20.

    While jurors may have the option of convicting Garcia Zarate of a lesser offense such as manslaughter, Gonzalez today said that was not his aim.

    "We're not trying ot get Mr. Garcia Zarate convicted of manslaughter, our defense is that he's not guilty because it was an accident," he said. "When he picked up this object he did not know what it was and it fired."

    https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/loca...456489123.html
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    "We're not trying ot get Mr. Garcia Zarate convicted of manslaughter, our defense is that he's not guilty because it was an accident," he said. "When he picked up this object he did not know what it was and it fired."
    He didn't know he picked up a gun? He doesn't know what a gun is? This is why he shouldn't have been in our country in the first place. Americans know what a gun is. 2nd Amendment.
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    He didn't know he picked up a gun? He doesn't know what a gun is? This is why he shouldn't have been in our country in the first place. Americans know what a gun is. 2nd Amendment.
    He knew exactly what it was and he was more than likely the one who stole it.
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    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  4. #14
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Duh.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Are there fingerprints on the agents car he STOLE it from?
    [CENTER]NO DACA - NO AMNESTY - NO PATH TO STAY - LET WORK PERMITS EXPIRE
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  6. #16
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    Judge blocks key witness from testifying again in Kate Steinle murder trial

    By Michael Barba on November 13, 2017 4:27 pm

    The San Francisco judge overseeing the Kate Steinle murder trial prevented the prosecution’s key witness from returning to the stand Monday before defense attorneys could question his credibility in front of the jury.

    Prosecutor Diana Garcia was expected to call retired police Inspector John Evans back to the stand as a rebuttal witness after both the prosecution and defense rested their cases earlier this month in the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant accused of shooting Steinle on Pier 14 on July 1, 2015.

    Evans is the only witness who testified that Steinle’s shooter aimed a handgun in her direction and pulled the trigger, supporting the prosecution’s theory that the shooting was intentional. The defense claims that the shooting was an accident.

    What Evans would have said in court Monday is not known, but defense attorneys say that San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel K. Feng determined the testimony was improper for rebuttal. Prosecutors can call rebuttal witnesses to refute evidence previously presented in a trial.

    If Evans had taken the stand, defense attorney Matt Gonzalez planned to raise issues about his credibility.

    “He testified that the only reasonable interpretation of the evidence was this theory of guilt, and that’s just not credible,” Gonzalez said. “No other expert will say that. That’s why they called him. Because he’s available to give the testimony that they need. We think a jury will see through it.”

    Evans is a defendant in a federal civil lawsuit alleging that police misconduct led to a wrongful murder conviction, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.

    Evans is accused of making inaccurate statements under oath about where shell casings land during the 2015 retrial of Jamal Trulove for a 2007 homicide. Trulove was acquitted of murder.

    On Monday, defense attorneys planned to call to the stand James Norris, the former head of the San Francisco police crime lab who previously offered contradictory testimony to Evans, and Ronan Shouldice, a police inspector who said in the federal lawsuit that Evans made “inaccurate” statements.

    Norris said outside the courtroom that Evans should not have testified in the Steinle case that the bullet traveled in a straight line when it ricocheted.

    “That type of testimony shouldn’t be given,” Norris said. “There are appropriate people in San Francisco who can testify about these things. The medical examiner, some of the people in the crime laboratory. They all know this.”

    This is the second time that Norris and Evans have been at odds in a court case. Norris is also an expert in the Trulove lawsuit.

    Though the defense could not question Evans’ credibility as a rebuttal witness, Gonzalez could still ask the judge to strike his testimony about the ricochet because Garcia did not tell them about the Trulove lawsuit.

    Prosecutors are required to share evidence with the defense that could help the defendant in a trial. The defense learned about the Trulove lawsuit from Norris after the trial started, according to Gonzalez.

    Gonzalez said the defense has yet to decide whether to ask the judge to strike the testimony because of the alleged Brady violation.

    “I think it does jeopardize a trial when there is this kind of evidence out there,” Gonzalez said.

    A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

    Closing arguments are scheduled for Nov. 20 in the murder trial.

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/judge-bloc...-murder-trial/
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  7. #17
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    Of course, if he didn't know what it was, why was he shooting at a sea lion?

    I think the owner of the gun has some answering to do.

    Also, it always bothers me when lawmakers jump in and name some bill like that. It smacks of using the death for publicity. I would be more than upset had they used my child's death that way.

    I'm not sure what the bill said, but we have plenty of laws, we don't need any more.

    If they had spent more time demanding enforcement of the law, this wouldn't have happened.
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  8. #18
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    Kate Steinle trial given to jury in case that sparked illegal immigration debate

    4 hrs ago
    By Travis Fedschun, Elizabeth Zwirz | Fox News

    No verdict was announced Tuesday in the trial of the homeless illegal immigrant charged with killing Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco in 2015. The jury was given the case to determine whether Steinle's slaying was part of a sick game or an accident.

    The defense finished their closing arguments at the murder trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, in which defense attorney Matt Gonzalez urged the jurors to make their own judgements about what happened that day on the pier and not be swayed by the prosecution’s argument or other juror’s beliefs.

    He stressed that what happened to Steinle was simply an awful accident and nothing could change that. He told jurors that trying to render a verdict based on how awful the incident was is “not your job.”

    Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia made a quick rebuttal, in which she described the defense’s version of the events as pure fiction and questioned why witnesses would be inclined to lie.

    She also argued that nobody knows why Zarate went to the pier that day but it’s clear, she said, that he wanted to fire at people.

    “There’s no reason that gun went off other than this defendant decided to pull the trigger,” Garcia told the jury.

    She said Steinle was simply “the closest target” in Zarate’s line of fire and he should be held responsible for taking the life of a “young, vibrant, beautiful, cherished woman.”

    In Monday’s closing arguments, Garcia told jurors Zarate deliberately shot a stolen gun towards Steinle while "playing his own secret version of Russian roulette."

    As prosecutors detailed the events of July 1, 2015, Steinle's parents, Jim and Liz, wiped away tears as Garcia described "a vibrant life that was taken from us." Steinle died in her father's arms.

    She also cited testimony from one witness who said the 54-year-old appeared to be smiling or laughing to himself as evidence that he had decided in advance to shoot someone.

    The DA also disputed the argument by Zarate's defense team that the semi-automatic handgun stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger a week before the shooting “just fired." Garcia reiterated evidence the gun was left in double action mode, and a trigger would have had to be pulled for it to fire.

    The bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway before it struck Steinle, killing her. Zarate has admitted to shooting Steinle, but says it was an accident.

    Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez took a less dramatic, much more meticulous approach in his closing arguments, telling jurors prosecutors were pushing a "wild narrative of a desire to hurt someone he does not know."

    The defense has said Zarate found the gun wrapped in a shirt under a chair on the pedestrian pier and it went off by accident when he picked it up.

    Gonzalez told jurors that Zarate didn’t know Steinle and had no reason to want to hurt her. Since it was also not a point blank-shot, Gonzalez asked the jury, “Can you say he put his finger on the trigger and pulled it because he wanted to do her harm?”

    He also argued the case should have only been charged as manslaughter, and the only question should have been if it was manslaughter, or not guilty based on an accident. He reiterated to jurors the evidence does not support the prosecution’s “wild narrative” that he’d want to hurt someone he doesn’t know.

    Steinle's killing took on political overtones because Garcia Zarate is a Mexican citizen who had been deported five times and served federal prison time for illegally re-entering the United States. He had been released from the San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for further deportation proceedings.

    While Zarate’s immigration status is what brought the case into the national spotlight, jurors did not hear evidence about that, and it will not be a factor in the trial.

    Steinle’s death became a signature issue for Donald Trump as he was running for president. He invoked the slaying in calling for the construction of a wall on the Mexican border.

    San Francisco is a sanctuary city, with local law enforcement officials barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities with similar immigration policies, but a federal judge in California on Monday permanently blocked his executive order.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/21...on-debate.html
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  9. #19
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    No verdict after 4 days of deliberation in Kate Steinle murder trial

    by Cornell Barnard
    Tuesday, November 28, 2017 04:58PM

    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The jury in the Kate Steinle murder case continues their deliberations for a fourth day. They are trying to decide the fate of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who is accused of killing Steinle in San Francisco in 2015.

    Day four of jury deliberations ended with no verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial.

    The defense team confirms there were several questions from the jury, which may have involved testimony from the trial, which needed to be read back to the jurors.

    No one involved in the case will say what was asked. The judge in the case did not let reporters into the courtroom.

    Zarate, 43, an undocumented immigrant is accused of shooting 32-year-old Steinle on San Francisco's Pier 14 in July 2015.

    The jury must decide if the shooting was an accident or was it intentional and willful.

    The jury can consider first degree murder, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter or not guilty.

    http://abc7news.com/no-verdict-after...trial/2708973/
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