On September 12, 2021, Attorneys Matt Gonzalez and Francisco Ugarte published an article on Medium titled “An Open Letter to the Biden Administration: It’s time to drop charges against José Ines García Zárate” whom they represented in state court when he was charged and acquitted of the murder of Kate Steinle. The new editorial argues that the federal gun charges that were subsequently brought upon Mr. García Zárate by the Trump Administration were based on politics and xenophobia, rather than facts. Soon after the editorial was published, it began to gain the attention of local and national news, and was reported on in the San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU, KRON4, and Fox News.
After a unanimous jury exonerated Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on all state charges for the shooting death of Kate Steinle, he remains incarcerated. It’s been over six years since the tragedy, and nearly four years since his acquittal of murder and manslaughter. A California appellate court reversed his sole gun possession charge, holding the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on the “momentary possession” defense.
Garcia Zarate is still in custody only because then-President Donald Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions were outraged by the verdicts. In the hours following news of the acquittal, politically motivated indictments were filed in federal court, in effect, reviving the same gun possession charge Garcia Zarate had already faced in state court.
Rather than evaluate the jury’s finding, Trump and Sessions rushed to keep Garcia Zarate in custody. Thus far, their efforts are working. What they could not change, however, is that Garcia Zarate is factually innocent of the charges, including the federal indictment alleging gun possession.
To read the rest of the Medium post, click here.