Nobody’s surprised that the rightwingosphere has gone batshit over the Garcia Zarate verdict. We knew this would happen. From the first day of jury selection, defense lawyer Matt Gonzalez told the prospective panelists that the president of the United States would be watching the outcome.
There are ugly tweets and comments from Washington. There are right-wingers threatening to boycott San Francisco (please do). There are threats to the jurors (who, appropriately, have not been identified.)
Even the San Francisco Chronicle used the case as an excuse to complain about Sanctuary City laws (really?)
I think Gonzalez made the case pretty well on Fox News, even under hostile questioning: In a nation with more than 300 million guns, where people die every single day in gun accidents, this was a terrible tragedy. It started with a federal agent who left a loaded gun in his car (and was later promoted).
You don’t hear the right wingers complaining that there are too many loaded guns left in cars, and that too many innocent people die tragically in gun-related accidents. Hunters routinely shoot other people by mistake; they are almost never prosecuted.
I feel terrible for the Steinle family. I have two kids; the idea that one would be killed by a gun is too horrible to even contemplate. I think any reasonable person would feel that way. And the Steinles have shown tremendous class by saying that they don’t want their daughter to be a pawn in Trump’s political agenda.
This case was never about whether her death was tragic. It was about whether the district attorney should have charged an undocumented immigrant who has no history of violence with murder when the evidence suggested he picked up a gun that went off by mistake.
The jury made it pretty clear that the evidence wasn’t there.
The prosecution’s case was a classic instance of a district attorney overcharging a crime, and in the process alienating the jury.
By asking for a first-degree conviction, prosecutors upped the bar of proof and the chances of the whole case falling apart. There was precious little evidence that Garcia Zarate committed premeditated murder, and by raising that bar, prosecutors undercut their credibility with the jury.
How else can you say it? The DA, fort whatever political reasons, insisted on charging this case as a murder, and wound up losing.