Harmeet Dhillon: Kate Steinle’s killer escapes punishment

By Harmeet K. Dhillon | Fox News

With the decision last week by a California appeals court to reverse the conviction of Kate Steinle’s killer on a jury instruction technicality, California’s law-abiding residents are freshly reminded of how cheaply California’s sanctuary state lawmakers value our lives in comparison to the interests of illegal immigrants.

Even violent felon multiple-deportees such as illegal immigrant Jose Garcia-Zarate – who took Steinle’s life in 2015 with no consequence after breaking our laws for decades with little consequence – place higher in the social hierarchy than ordinary Californians do.

Not only did Garcia-Zarate not get convicted of multiple state murder and manslaughter charges. Now he won’t even be held accountable for the illegal possession of the firearm that killed Steinle, unless prosecutors re-try him in a San Francisco, where lives like Steinle’s are increasingly cheap.

Steinle’s story gripped the nation after it became clear that Garcia-Zarate had been deported five times and been convicted of seven felonies, yet was allowed to remain in America because of San Francisco’s notorious “sanctuary city” policies – the same policies former Gov. Jerry Brown extended to make California the first “sanctuary state.”

The San Francisco County Jail had Garcia-Zarate in custody after an arrest, yet refused to hold him until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could arrive to remove him from the country.

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San Francisco disregarded ICE’s detainer request and instead released Garcia-Zarate back into the community, a homeless drifter with a criminal past. What could possibly go wrong?

Less than three months after Garcia-Zarate’s release, 32-year-old Kate Steinle lay bleeding to death in her father’s arms on San Francisco’s Pier 14, a bullet shot from a gun in Garcia-Zarate’s hands in her heart.

Garcia-Zarate gave police conflicting accounts of the shooting, initially claiming he stepped on the gun, then that he pulled the trigger. Ultimately the defense theory was an accidental shooting by a man who didn’t know he was holding a gun, but admitted to tossing the gun into the water immediately after the shooting.

But San Francisco’s destruction of the Steinle family’s peace of mind didn’t end with her death. A San Francisco jury – despite Garcia-Zarate’s open admission that he handled the gun that ended Kate’s life – refused to convict him of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or even involuntary manslaughter.

The jury bought Garcia-Zarate’s brazen and implausible tale that he found the weapon wrapped in rags under a chair he was sitting in on the pier, and then it accidentally discharged, fatally striking Steinle, without Garcia-Zarate even realizing he held a gun.

The jury, unaware of Garcia-Zarate’s illegal immigration status and criminal history, convicted him of illegal firearm possession only.

On Friday, a California appeals court threw out even that consolation conviction, for which Garcia-Zarate had not been sentenced to any additional time in prison, because the judge apparently did not instruct the jury to consider whether Garcia-Zarate may have been unaware that he was even holding a gun when it “just went off.”

This unending outrage did not occur in a vacuum. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors began the modern sanctuary movement in 1985.

You can read more here.