Court rules Kate Steinle’s parents can’t sue San Francisco

by WorldTribune Staff, April 3, 2019

The parents of Kate Steinle, who in 2015 was murdered by a five-times deported illegal immigrant, can not sue the city of San Francisco for failing to hold the illegal for deportation proceedings, a U.S. appeals court ruled on April 1.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously refused to reinstate the lawsuit that sparked national debate over sanctuary cities limiting cooperation with federal immigration officials.

Kate Steinle and Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate

Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, a Mexican national who had been deported five times, gunned down the 32-year-old Steinle while she was posing for pictures with her father on a San Francisco pier.

San Francisco’s former sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, released Garcia-Zarate from jail three months before the shooting, despite a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to hold him until he could be picked him up for deportation proceedings.

The court ruled Mirkarimi violated no federal, state or local laws by refusing to tell ICE about Garcia-Zarate’s release date.

Describing the case as “undeniably tragic,” 9th Circuit Judge Mark Bennett said the sheriff had authority to issue a memo limiting local cooperation with immigration officials. Federal immigration laws did not require Mirkarimi to share Garcia-Zarate’s release date, he added.

“The tragic and unnecessary death of Steinle may well underscore the policy argument against Sheriff Mirkarimi’s decision to bar his employees from providing the release date of a many times convicted felon to ICE,” Bennett said. “But that policy argument can be acted upon only by California’s state and municipal political branches of government, or perhaps by Congress.”

A San Francisco jury in 2017 ruled Garcia-Zarate was not guilty of murder, but convicted him of illegal gun possession. He is pleading guilty to federal gun charges.

Part of the lawsuit against the federal government relating to the gun used in the shooting is moving forward. Steinle’s parents allege a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger left his .40-caliber Sig Sauer in plain sight in an unlocked car on a downtown San Francisco street. The ranger had reported it stolen from his SUV.

Washington Times columnist Cheryl K. Chumley noted that Steinle’s parents “must be gasping for air, grasping for some semblance of sanity.”

“This court loss came after another one in 2017, when Lopez-Sanchez was acquitted of homicide and found guilty only of the far lesser gun possession charge. Perhaps that was Steinle’s second death; this, the third,” Chumley wrote.

The law says “illegals aren’t allowed in this country, and felons shouldn’t have guns, and previously deported felons with no rightful claim to be in America should stay out of America – and the law failed Steinle on all those points,” Chumley wrote. “Justice, meanwhile, says cities that shelter illegals ought to shoulder the bulk of responsibility if those illegals commit crimes above and beyond their sneaks into the country – and justice failed Steinle’s parents on that point.”

Chumley continued: “What will it take for the Democrats who oh-so-love open borders to realize that open borders can be deadly? Apparently, more than a dead 32-year-old woman, killed first in the flesh, then again and again in the spirit, in memory, by the knife of those who would protect illegals at all costs.”


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