The Jury Talks Back


Feds Indict Kate Steinle’s Killer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

At the end of my recent post on the California laws the jury applied in the Kate Steinle murder case, I noted this observation by Andrew C. McCarthy:

McCarthy’s exact prediction has come to pass:

A federal grand jury has indicted a Mexican man on immigration and weapons charges after he was acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Each of the two new federal charges carries a maximum of 10 years in prison if Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is convicted, the government said. He was indicted on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Here is a screenshot from the indictment. Note that the statute, 18 U.S.C. 922(g), is the precise one mentioned by McCarthy:

This is not double jeopardy, principally because the federal government is a separate sovereign, and double jeopardy applies only to charges from the same sovereign.

Ken White of Popehat, a former federal prosecutor, routinely warns against putting any stock in news media statements about the amount of time a federal defendant is “facing.” Actual sentences are based on a complicated set of guidelines, taking into account a person’s record, their cooperation, remorse, and a host of other factors. So don’t get the idea that Zarate will necessarily get 10 years.

Still, this is a positive development in an otherwise very sad saga.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

1 Comment »

  1. I have grave issues with the “separate sovereign” end run around the 5th amendment’s “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I very much wish to see this killer put in prison for a very long time. But I also consider the “separate sovereigns” excuse regarding an explicit constitutional right to be atrocious and unacceptable. I could not, in good conscience, vote to convict in such a case. If the crime was just a bit different, however, I could, because that’s not double jeopardy. (For example, I’d be very willing to vote to convict on “felon in possession” if the State had not already done so. I’d also be willing to vote to convict on a charge of illegal alien in possession (assuming that’s an actual federal crime).

    Incidentally, the legal theory that separate soverinties negates the 5th amendment puts every constitutional right in peril. That’s why I consider this such a critical issue.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/7/2017 @ 7:51 pm

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