What a travesty of justice and an incredible victory for the adversarial legal system, at the same time. A murderer goes free and a family mourns.
I’m referring to the recent ruling rendered by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng and jury that allowed Mr. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, to shoot Ms. Kathryn Steinle, 32, and walk away completely unpunished.
I fault Mr. Gascon’s office primarily, since you cannot expect the Public Defender to do anything else but defend their client vigorously, but believe they share partial blame as well. I blame Mr. Gascon’s office for making a blunder that can only be categorized as intentional, for failing to properly analyze the case and bring forth the appropriate charges. The courts may only try the charges brought before it and consequentially, the Public Defender only required to defend against those specific charges, exonerating both agencies of this travesty legally speaking. Both ethically as well as morally however, I view the case in it’s entirety as more of a conspiracy orchestrated by city employees to serve a political agenda (save an agenda?), that being one of illegal immigration.
A deal was made at the highest of levels to make certain that no one single illegal immigrant no matter how guilty, could in any way jeopardize the efficacy of “sanctuary status”. Perhaps the DA intentionally fumbled the ball but I am sure that the San Francisco Public Defender’s office violated just as many ethics and possibly laws, to collude for a favorable verdict. I no longer trust that the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is a judicial agency whose foremost concern is for the protection and upholding of our adversarial system so much as it is just another thoroughly politically corrupted tool of politicians. Really though, throughout history has it ever been anything else?
Funny as it may be, I actually met San Francisco Public Defender Mr. Matt Gonzalez on the street in front of the PD’s office on 7th street and had a chance to personally interview him. Unfortunately I was not as prepared as I would like to have been and was there on another personal matter, but I did get some interesting responses to the questions I asked about the case. Mr. Gonzalez is handling the appeal of Mr. Zarate and I wanted to ask him what his candid thoughts were about the case (which I knew was a total breach of confidentiality) but only received press prepped answers. Oh well, as a true journalist, and not just some talking head, I was forced to ask the tough ones. Here were his responses, more or less…
ELDON BROWN: Tell me Mr. Gonzalez, there is no one else around right now except you and me, do you really think that him (Mr. Zarate) pulling the trigger was just an accident or actually intentional? (stupid but I had to ask…)
SF PUBLIC DEFENDER MR. MATT GONZALEZ: (very long winded but elegant answer) Mr. Zarate had just arrived here from some Latin American country and was in the throngs of some mental issue. He did not know what he was doing and had already suffered terrible abuses at the hands of immigration officers enforcing very unfair immigration laws. Mr. Zarate did not intentionally shoot Ms. Steinle blah blah blah blabbity blab blab blab….
ELDON BROWN: (now disappointed but regrouping) Come on, Mr. Zarate didn’t actually find that firearm under the pier but either stole it himself or, was actually given the weapon by a law enforcement official as part of a false flag operation to set legal precedent and showcase the issue, right?
SF PUBLIC DEFENDER MR. MATT GONZALEZ: (unphased by my impetuous question) We have a very serious immigration issue in this country and were those unjust laws to be remedied, Mr. Zarate would never have gotten into this unfortunate situation in the first place had he instead been receiving the humane treatment he so desperately needs. This unfortunate tragedy for all involved would consequently never have happened.
ELDON BROWN: (now stymied by this guy,s verbal Jiu Jitsu) Didn’t the District Attorney purposely drop the ball to let this guy go for the sake of preserving the City’s sanctuary status?
SF PUBLIC DEFENDER MR. MATT GONZALEZ: The charges that were brought should never have been prosecuted, it was obvious from the case’s inception that Mr. Zarate could not have been responsible for his actions and had no intent to harm anyone. Unfortunately, these things occasionally happen and there are nothing but victims all around. It is just a very sad, sad, unfortunate tragedy that never should have happened….
Of course, I’m taking great license with what was actually said (hence the lack of quotation marks) but the jist of the interview is accurate. I was once again impressed and amazed at the verbal Kung Fu that an experienced attorney can beat you about the head and shoulders with. At the end I almost wanted to empathize and switch sides on the issue, Mr. Gonzales was that good. Being a good advocate and performing your duty still may not equate to ultimate virtue but in this instance there was no legal choice. The guy did what he was required to do.
Was it right or was it wrong? Were either political and perhaps even personal bias involved. My answer would be “of course, what are you, stupid?” And so goes the death of Justice.
I do not now, nor have I ever fully trusted the San Francisco Public Defender’s office to be impartial or free from political influence. Deals are cut all the time between the PD and the DA’s office for various reasons, the interests of justice taking a back seat. Prosecutors abuse discretion, Judges outright violate the law and the Public Defender’s office is always caught in the middle. They take their paycheck from the same city coffers as the other two aforementioned so what can you expect, when they all decide to put their heads together and steer justice off course, there is no one to oppose. Make a few political enemies or piss off the wrong influential person and you can find yourself at the receiving end of all three working together for your destruction, separation of powers be damned.
For the little nobody like me, both indigent and lacking in power, I am subject to the omnipotent caprices of all three (four if you count “peace officers”). My only hope of oversight when in their cross hairs is God and you guys, my readers, the court of public opinion. My only weapons are truth and honesty and the hope that when things go bad, someone out there will have the courage to try to help. Because I have written so many things contrary to the agenda of the powers that govern the City Of San Francisco, I rue the day when I will be required to depend upon the office of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office. Hopefully they will do their job as described but I hold little confidence, I more expect a bad re-enactment of “Cape Fear” when the duty of my defense falls into their hands.
We should all be very troubled by this case and view it as a barometer of the state of justice both in San Francisco as well as the State of California on the whole. Fear the day that enter into the justice system’s clutches if you are an outspoken lover of truth (which we all should be), you have most probably just been thrown into “the mincer”.