By now, you've probably already heard the news. Illegal Immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of Murder by a San Francisco jury in the Kate Steinle case last night. The jury also acquitted him on an Aggravated Assault charge as well as a count of Involuntary Manslaughter. Zarate was however found guilty of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and will be deported.
Kate Steinle was walking on a San Francisco Pier with her father and a friend on the evening of July 1, 2015 when she was struck and killed by a bullet fired by Zarate. She didn't know him. She didn't do anything wrong. But he killed her. No one ever disputed either of those facts. Zarate's defense in the case was that he found the gun and that it just went off, firing a bullet into a crowd of people and ricocheting off the ground into Steinle. Despite conflicting statements made by Zarate to investigators about how the gun fired, apparently the jury believed his defense that the killing was a total accident.
This case, from its very beginning, has drawn national attention because Zarate never should have been on that pier that night. He was a convicted felon and an illegal alien from Mexico who had been deported not once, not twice, but FIVE times. Not only that, but he had recently been jailed by San Francisco police and then released. Why? Because the Leftist local government in San Francisco dubs itself a "sanctuary city" and defies federal laws on immigration. The city does not cooperate with ICE, and refuses to notify federal authorities when they detain illegals who have outstanding federal warrants. Under this policy, Zarate, a convicted felon with active immigration warrants outstanding, was allowed to walk away free from a San Francisco jail only weeks before killing Kate Steinle.
Over the past two years, Donald Trump, and Conservatives across the country have used this sad case as a rallying cry to denounce San Francisco and other "sanctuary cities" by highlighting the fact that if not for the open lawlessness of Leftism, she would be alive today. And they are right to say so, because it's the truth.
Now that Zarate has been acquitted, the Right is in a total uproar. The President has been blowing up Twitter (of course), and he is certainly not alone. The Justice Department has announced that they are looking into prosecuting Zarate under federal law, and general consensus among Conservatives is that the acquittal is a travesty.
We on the Right need to be very careful in our cries of righteous indignation here. Yes, Kate Steinle is the innocent victim of a broken system. Yes, Jose Zarate is a bad guy who, in a sane world, should never have been on that pier that night. But that doesn't mean that we should just go grab our pitchforks and torches.
Zarate received a trial before a jury and was acquitted. The jury heard the evidence. They weighed the facts presented to them, and they determined that he didn't mean to shoot Kate that night. It's not for us to question their decision, no matter how angry we might be. While the system did totally fail Kate, the trial was not where that failure occurred. (Side Note: in many states, Zarate would have likely been convicted of the offense of Felony Murder because he was found guilty of Possessing a Firearm as a Convicted Felon, and a death occurred as a result of that felony. However, California's law lists only a few specific offenses out of which a Felony Murder may stem).
Remember, we as Conservatives are the side that supposedly stands for law and order. We are the side that has generally supported the multiple acquittals and denials of prosecution in the majority of recent police shooting cases. Our reason for doing so? Because we trust the system. If we tear everything down now because we don't like the way things worked out this time, how are we any different from the people throwing bricks through windows and burning police cars when they don't get the verdict they want?
Kate Steinle should be alive today. We should be angry and sorry for her family. We should be angry at Jose Zarate. We should be angry at the arrogant officials in San Francisco who flout the laws of our Nation for craven political gain. We can even be angry at the jury for not finding the way that we believe they should have. But we must refuse to join the angry mob no matter which side of the aisle is goading it on.
Our justice system is still the best in the world, and in this case, right or wrong, that jury's verdict stands. And it should stand, because that verdict is what makes America the greatest Nation on earth. We give even the worst people the full rights of the innocent until their guilt is proven otherwise. And that's a good thing.