Los Angeles.- Despite being found not guilty in 2017 of the murder of a woman in San Francisco, an undocumented Mexican continues imprisoned reason why his defense lawyers asking President Joe Biden to release him because, they argue that he is a victim of the policies of now former President Donald Trump.
The undocumented man is called José García Zárate and he faced a trial for the death of Kate Steinle, 31, for which the head of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Matt García, and Francisco Ugarte, managing attorney of that institution, they asked in a open letter to the White House.
Steinle died in July 2015 in San Francisco from a gunshot allegedly fired by García Zárate, who had been deported five times to Mexico and was then on probation with a new deportation order pending.
Trump used the case both in his electoral campaign and in the first months of his Administration to boost his immigration position, since the immigrant had been released a couple of months before Steinle’s death by the San Francisco authorities based on the “sanctuary city” policies for the undocumented.
In November 2017, a jury found the immigrant not guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter, and only found him guilty of illegally possessing a firearm.
This single conviction was overturned by an appeals court after concluding that the trial judge did not give the jury the option to exonerate García Zárate considering the possibility that he only possessed the weapon for a moment.
The Mexican’s defense alleged that the immigrant found a wrapped object but did not know it was a weapon. According to attorneys, the gun was accidentally fired causing the bullet to ricochet off the pavement and hit Steinle, who was walking alongside her father.
Following the verdict, the Justice Department, headed at the time by Jeff Sessions, kept García Zárate in custody.
Instead of evaluating the jury’s finding, Trump and Sessions rushed to keep García Zárate in custody. So far, their efforts are working. What they couldn’t change, however, is that García Zárate is in fact innocent of the charges, including the federal charge (of possession of weapons) “, the lawyers wrote in the letter.
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They urged the Democratic Biden Administration to “let the world know that federal prosecutions will not be based on lies and misinformation.”
“Justice for García Zárate is overdue. It is time to drop the charges against him for political reasons. Continuing to prosecute García Zárate rewards an abuse of the prosecutors’ power and undermines the rule of law,” the lawyers stressed.