News

Defendant appeals gun conviction in Kate Steinle case

Appeal argues jury should have heard 'momentary possession' instruction

The undocumented Mexican citizen who was convicted of possessing the gun that killed Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in 2015 has appealed his conviction, claiming that the trial judge failed to give a key jury instruction.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in 2017 of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun. The jury acquitted him of the murder of Steinle, who was killed on July 1, 2015, by a ricocheting bullet from a gun held by Zarate.

Zarate was sentenced in January 2018 to three years in prison.

In an appeal filed last week with the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco, Zarate argues that his rights were violated when trial Judge Samuel Feng failed to give the jury an instruction on the theory of momentary possession.

That instruction advises jurors that gun possession is not illegal if the possession was for only "a momentary or transitory period" and for the purpose of disposing of the firearm.

Zarate contends that he picked up a package wrapped in rags under a swivel chair he was sitting on at the pier, did not know he had a gun until it fired accidentally, and then immediately threw the gun into the bay to stop it from firing.

Zarate's appeal attorney, Cliff Gardner, wrote that because that claim "was the central theory of defense, the trial court was required to instruct on the defense of transitory possession."

The appeal asks for reversal of his conviction and a new trial.

A hearing on the appeal has not yet been set. The next step in the case will be the filing of a prosecution response.

The gun held by Zarate had been stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officer.

Separately, Zarate faces two federal charges of being an ex-felon and an undocumented person in possession of a gun.

He claims that a federal trial on those charges would amount to unconstitutional double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same crime. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco has postponed the federal trial until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar case from Alabama concerning double jeopardy.

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by Shawn
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 17, 2019 at 9:24 am

"undocumented" Mexican citizen? how about "many times deported illegal alien!?"


17 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2019 at 12:14 pm

I have no problems with locking up Zarate and throwing away the key, but I think that it's worth noting that there were three criminally stupid and/or negligent people who played key roles in the sequence of events which led to Kate Steinle's death: (1) The US Park ranger who negligently left his unsecured gun in his car and allowed it and its ammunition to to be stolen, (2) the criminal who broke into the ranger's car, stole his gun, and then left this loaded gun near a public pier with many people around, and (3) the illegal immigrant Zarate who found the gun and stupidly decided that a public pier was a good place to do some shooting practice.

It took the combined efforts of all three of these idiots to cause Kate Steinle's death. Take away any one of these three and Kate Steinle would still be alive. A lot of people like to focus on Idiot #3, but the tragedy would never have happened without the assistance of Idiots #1 and #2.


10 people like this
Posted by Nicki
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 17, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Nicki is a registered user.

And of course, let's not forget Swalwell voted, INITIALLY, AGAINST "Kate's law" when it came up in the House of Representative..He quickly saw the OUTRAGE that caused here in Pleasanton, and when it came up again, a few months later, WOW, he supported it, along with about a couple of dozen other Democrats.

Saw which side his bread was buttered on, despite Nancy Pelosi.


6 people like this
Posted by Nicki
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Nicki is a registered user.

Anyone know if he still votes in support of sanctuary cities and states?


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Doug,
Was it ever proven idiot #2 and #3 arent one in the same?

And yes, the park ranger has responsibility in this as well.

And lets not let our politicians off the hook for their creation of a petty crime friendly environment (catch and release), and forgiving bail because its too punishing to low income criminals, creating a financially unstable prison system (unions and prisoner rights), to the point police dont investigate break ins because its not really worth the work if the criminal is back on the street tomorrow to break in to cars....not only cars, but law enforcement cars.

And from a federal level, and national discussion idiot #1 isnt a national issue, idiot #2 (if separate person) isnt either, but idiot #3 is.


3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Nicki,
He opposes Trump on everything (wrong and right) so yes, he still votes in support of sanctuary statuses


5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm

I agree we should allow a new trial, but its going to be in Texas.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:34 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

You want to talk about private prisons PP? I'll be happy to school you on them and their incentive.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:41 am

Ummm....where did i say anything about private prisons? Why did you make that leap? I said the cost structure and legal "rights" of criminals was making them too expensive and ineffective.

I can image state run facilities without unions, why is that not in your idea or conceptual world. Maybe that is telling enough about the association between unions being intertwined with government and politics. You see them as symbiotic when its really a parasitic relationship.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:49 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

So now you're against the police force. Keep talking...


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Sure Robert, that is exactly what i said.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2019 at 7:00 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

Anyone who wants to get rid of ANY union, public or private, is after only one thing....lowering the wages, benefits, and pensions of those who provide those services. So you want the prison guards and police officers to have less money, benefits and no pension so you can pay less taxes. Be transparent and honest. Say it like it is. Don't hide behind fancy words. I am very good at exposing people for who they really are.

When I said you are against the police force I was telling the truth, the truth you are too afraid to say in plain English. We already have one contributor to this forum with the nickname "Dishonest". Please earn your own, different nickname, so we don't confuse readers.


5 people like this
Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 20, 2019 at 9:11 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"Anyone who wants to get rid of ANY union, public or private, is after only one thing....lowering the wages, benefits, and pensions of those who provide those services. So you want the prison guards and police officers to have less money, benefits and no pension so you can pay less taxes. Be transparent and honest. Say it like it is. Don't hide behind fancy words. I am very good at exposing people for who they really are."

You've exposed yourself.

You resent people who want to keep more of their own money they earn and don't want the government just taking more of it to placate/satisfy their campaign contributors. Never mind that the state can't afford the current public union employee pensions liability. So naturally taxes (regardless of the current burden in this state) just need to keep being raised based on progressive/union demands. This is just a fancy way of promoting equality of outcomes/results. Who said that was the "job" of government?


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2019 at 10:34 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

I don't resent people who want to keep their money. I resent people who complain about taxes AND the services those taxes purchase. You get what you pay for....have you ever heard that one? I support the police, firefighters, armed forces, veterans, teachers, city workers by paying my taxes EARLY and in full. I don't wait until 11:59 on April 15th. I support them by NOT constantly complaining about their pay, benefits and pensions. That's what SUPPORT means.....sort of like child support....it means MONEY! Get it? You say you support all these service people but you don't. Are you a deadbeat taxpayer or father?


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

You put bumper stickers on your cars, flag on the house, etc. and you go to the parades but behind their backs you complain about them constantly in little chat rooms and other such places. Those two-faced people I resent. YOU I resent!


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 20, 2019 at 9:10 pm

Robert,
No one would complain about paying taxes if we "got what we paid for". We arent. Its that simple.

And because we arent getting what we are paying for, criminals go free, and commit crimes. And here is another example of politics getting in the way of justice.

You should seriously seek medical help for your rage and mental stability. Im not trying to be offensive with that, your posts really do read like a cry for help.


2 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 20, 2019 at 9:50 pm

I think it’s great that there are people like Pleasanton Parent here who are selflessly willing to spend their valuable time dispensing free psychiatric advice on these forums, thus saving others possibly hundreds to thousands of dollars. This is what community spirit and helping one’s neighbor is all about.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 20, 2019 at 11:00 pm

Doug,
Unfortunately you must have read my post incorrectly because it suggested seeking help. Most notably from a professional, who i would assume would charge accordingly. Sorry, no direct help here, just a recommendation to get some.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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