Jury set in Zarate trial; opening statements Monday

Six men and six women will hear a case with national political implications

A jury was seated today in the Jose Ines Garcia Zarate trial, six men and six women from San Francisco who will decide whether the defendant was guilty of murder in the killing of Kate Steinle.

If he’s found guilty, Zarate could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is accused of killing Kate Steinle

After a long session of questioning potential jurors yesterday, this morning’s session moved fairly quickly. Both the prosecution and the defense used six of their 20 challenges, dismissing jurors without having to cite a cause.

Then Matt Gonzalez, representing Zarate, passed and said he could accept the jury. Diana Garcia, the prosecutor, kept dismissing two more jurors, and the court kept replacing them, and Gonzalez kept passing and saying he accepted the jury.

Then Garcia finally agreed to accept the jury, and the panel was sworn in.

In his final questions to the panel, Gonzalez noted that jurors are supposed to deliberate after they hear the evidence, and work together to reach a verdict. But he noted that it’s also important for jurors to stick to their principles, even if they are the only holdout.

There are, he noted, more than 1.2 million people in San Francisco during the day. “If there is a single juror who disagrees with the others, just by the numbers, there may be 100,000 people in the city who are with you.”

A jury verdict in a criminal case has to be unanimous.

The case is politically explosive; Donald Trump used it during his campaign to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment. 

Judge Samuel Feng set opening statements for Monday. That’s when we will begin to hear the lawyers outline how they are going to present their cases.

While only a few reporters were around for jury selection, I expect a huge scrum of national and local press will descend on the Hall of Justice Monday. 

Although it’s a public proceeding, the courtroom is small, and most of the seats are already assigned. Only a handful of seats will be available to the public, based on a lottery conducted at the Hall every morning.


  1. The lack of powder residue blows away your claim. The trigger was pulled, but probably when the t-shirt snagged it.

  2. a tragic accident which occurred when he fired a shot into a crowd. Not intentional, but it wasn’t like he didn’t know what happens when you pull the trigger. That is depraved indifference to me.

  3. You are perfectly free to believe what you want. But if the defense theory is correct, and bit by bit, the evidence points that way, he is not guilty, period. I assumed what you have settled on when this first happened. Then as details came out, and I realized that there was more to the story than originally told, I changed my mind. I am still waiting to see what turns up, but since the prosecution has to reveal ALL of the evidence to the defense, I doubt they have any bombshells. Nothing presented so far indicates anything but a tragic accident.

  4. Nothing is ever a certainty. However, even if he did not intentionally try to kill Ms Steinly, I believe the prosecutor is correct in going for second degree murder, based on the law.

  5. He may indeed to acquitted, but I believe he is guilty of second degree murder as defined in the California statutes, due to depraved indifference shown by shooting the weapon into a crowd.

  6. That is not a certainty. In fact, could very possibly be acquitted, or at worst, the jury may wind up being hung.

    Absolutely. As @Geek__Girl says, the only possibilities are acquittal or at worst a hung jury. I don’t know why you Trump/Conway supporters think that you know in advance what is going to happen.

  7. Apparently you are not aware that he has to be convicted first. That is not a certainty. In fact, could very possibly be acquitted, or at worst, the jury may wind up being hung. This is not at all a cut and dried case. I realize that will deeply upset you, but you might want to be prepared.

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