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Demosthenes's avatar

Was the verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial fair?

Asked by Demosthenes (11274points) December 1st, 2017

The verdict in this trial has generated quite a bit of uproar, including from Trump.

Jose Garcia Zarate was an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. Only July 1, 2015, Zarate fired a gun that killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle while she was walking along a pier in San Francisco with her father. Yesterday, Garcia Zarate was found innocent of all charges except a weapons charge. He will serve prison time for the weapons charge and then be deported for the 6th time.

Many are surprised and dismayed at the verdict. Some felt he should’ve at least been found guilty of manslaughter. The prosecution attempted to prove 1st degree murder, but evidently didn’t. Zarate always claimed that he found the gun and that it accidentally discharged (the bullet that killed Steinle apparently ricocheted off the concrete ground before hitting her).

Did Zarate get OJ’d or was this fair?

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13 Answers

chyna's avatar

It’s the prosecution’s fault for trying him for first degree murder if they did not give the jury any other options. I am just going by your details and have no knowledge of the case.

Demosthenes's avatar

Sorry, I should’ve included an article in the question. Here’s an article that goes into some detail about the controversial verdict (and the prosecution pursuing only first degree murder, but apparently that is just this author’s hypothesis. She doesn’t know for certain that they only pursued first degree murder with no other options):

My initial reaction to this case was “ZOMG unfair”, but with the amount of “California should just sink into the ocean” comments I’m seeing, I’m starting to wonder if some of the reaction is not hysteria. I’ve experienced verdict-induced outrage before, namely with some off the police officers who got off on murdering unarmed black men. But I was always told “you didn’t see the evidence, you don’t know what the jury saw, you weren’t there”. Should think that applies here too.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Prosecution has to prove that a crime was committed, they didn’t do that. They only have one shot at it and Trump opinion is “only interesting.”

zenvelo's avatar

The jury was not given an appropriate choice of charges, given the reasonable doubt that was evident before the trial.

I live in the SF Bay Area, the fact the bullet ricocheted off the sidewalk was pretty much understood in the papers and in the local media as to mitigate a 1st degree murder charge, or even a 2nd degree murder charge.

The verdict was fair given the charges brought, and he did not get an OJ pass.

janbb's avatar

I try not to opine on trials I have not been a witness to. And Trump being upset by the verdict would not sway my behavior one jot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it was an accident so I think its fair.
I don’t think being an illegal immigrant has anything to do with it. He was simply tried under our legal system, and the prosecution couldn’t make their case.
He’ll be deported (again) when he gets out of jail.

elbanditoroso's avatar

This is the American justice system, jury of your peers and all that.

I tend to think that juries get it right almost all the time. So I’m not going to second guess their judgment and deliberations.

Donnie is pissed of because the jury verdict doesn’t match his views. Fortunately, at least for now, we live in a country that has an independent judicial system.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Blame the prosecution for overreaching with the charges.

flutherother's avatar

Zarate was given a trial in which all the evidence was considered before the verdict was given by the jury. We don’t know of a fairer way to deal with those charged with crimes.

CWOTUS's avatar

Bring stupid charges, get stupid verdicts.

If it was a fair trial and a fair jury – which I have no way of knowing, as I didn’t follow it at all – then it was probably a fair verdict. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stupid, though.

MrGrimm888's avatar

From my understanding, it was a fair trial. In other countries, charges may have been forced. I’m glad we set a good example (a rare thing.)

It was a terrible accident, and heart breaking story.

I would add, if he hadn’t been deported 5 times, the circumstances surrounding the incident may not have occurred…

seawulf575's avatar

I think Zarate’s story changing over time from “I found the gun and was shooting at a seal” to “I found the gun wrapped in cloth and it went off when I was unwrapping it” tells me there was something else going on. But the prosecution couldn’t prove 1st or even 2nd degree murder. I can’t say it was an unfair trial or that the jury did a poor job.

marinelife's avatar

The prosecution could not get past the face that was shown in court that the bullet that killed her was a ricochet. Poor charging on their part not offering the jury lesser alternatives.

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