Roger L. Simon

The Unintended Consequences of the Steinle Decision

san francisco

When Defense Attorney Matt Gonzalez and Public Defender Jeff Adachi chose to make the exoneration of their client Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in the death of Kate Steinle an opportunity to attack the president, vice president and attorney general, my immediate thought was these two young lawyers are fools. They should learn when to keep their mouths shut.

But no matter — because the real villains in the Kate Steinle story are the San Francisco politicians who made the rules that prevented ICE from removing the already five-time deported criminal Zarate from the country.

These SF pols already had Kate’s murder forever on their consciences, what they have of them anyway. Now they will also have to deal with the growing disgust of the American public and an administration that loathes these politicians, backed up by a Supreme Court that will ultimately be on the side of that administration for most actions it might take.

So the appalling Steinle decision will have unintended consequences that I will now predict:

  1. Attorney General Sessions, with the firm backing of the president, will redouble his efforts to do away with sanctuary cities both financially and legally.  It may take some time, but the days of these sanctuaries are over.
  2. ICE will be set free to do its work. (It already has been, but even more so now with fewer complaints.)
  3. The border wall will be built, at least a good part of it, and Trump will find it far easier to get his way with border security.  The Dreamers will remain, but the public will back Trump on further security measures that will be enacted. Those measures will be stronger than hitherto predicted.
  4. Fewer people will “leave their hearts in San Francisco.”  Many Californians have already left the state, but some who have been on the fence about decamping will get off that fence and finally leave.
  5. Although I’m probably overly optimistic here, fewer people will use the noxious euphemism “undocumented immigrants.” (Well, maybe a dozen or so.  Or perhaps Zerate should have a document of his own that says “I’m a bloodthirsty killer. Set me free!”)

If all this — or even a decent part — happens, it will be a fitting memorial to Kate and, one hopes, some solace to her family.

A final area of interest is the jury system itself.  Who were these people that made this decision?  Supposedly, they came to the trial unbiased by (or ignorant of) the massive press coverage of this murder.  Is that possible?  Did they lie?  Was thisanother case of jury nullification like the O.J. trial?

It will be interesting to see in the days to come.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn’t Already.