December 1, 2017

Why the man who shot the bullet that killed Kate Steinle was acquitted.

I'm reading "Have We Been Lied To About The Kate Steinle Case?," which relies heavily on the write-up in The San Francisco Chronicle.

I must admit that my mental picture — based on hearing Donald Trump and other politicians exploit the incident — was of a monster who just walked up to a young woman and shot her in the head.

But the defense — which only had to raise reasonable doubt  — presented a picture of a man who had just found a gun and a gun that went off accidentally. There was evidence that the gun was a type of gun that is easy to fire accidentally if you don't know how to handle it and that the bullet that killed Steinle was not aimed at her but ricocheted off the pavement. In this scenario, the randomness of the victim is no longer a reason to think of the man (Garcia Zarate) as a monster but more evidence that he didn't mean to do it.

191 comments:

tim in vermont said...

It would be also very interesting to get the facts behind the Charlottesville murder. It looks like, because of Virginia law, we will never hear the specifics of that highly politicized death. I think that getting all of the facts out there is a very healthy thing to do. This seems like reasonable doubt to me, just from what you have written, of course.

David Begley said...

At the least, he should have been convicted of manslaughter. Did the jury even understand the jury instructions?

“ - which only had to raise reasonable doubt - “ with a California jury bathed in liberalism and identity politics.

I’m not sure if this was a case of jury nullification or just liberals being liberals and being unable to think straight.

With this verdict and the “sanctuary state” policy, the rest of the country now should realize that California is a LAWLESS place.

Here in Nebraska there are a number of liberal laws I’d like to ignore.

Defense team knew how to manipulate a bunch of liberal dupes.

AllenS said...

The jury instructions were most likely why he got off.

tim in vermont said...

San Francisco politicians who made the rules that prevented ICE from removing the already five-time deported criminal Zarate from the country.

See, this is why it was political. This wasn't just some illegal alien dishwasher trying to make good in a new country who got into a jam on accident. I am going to stop reading about it. The guy goes free. He should be deported again, but what's the point?

tim in vermont said...

Most likely had had the gun for a reason, and it may well have gone off accidentally.

Humperdink said...

Reading the Rumpf article, it appears that various levels of the government failed in spades.

> How does a federal ranger leave a gun unattended in his car?

> SF is a sanctuary city. Without this self-proclaimed sanctimonious designation by city leaders, Kate would be alive.

> The prosecutors were guilty of overreach, seeking a 1st degree murder conviction instead of manslaughter.

The consequences of these screw-ups by government officials? Nothing, nothing at all.

We remain in the best of hands.

gilbar said...

and ICE wanted to remove him while he was in Jail for some other offence. He wasn't just a 5 time deportee; he was a Criminal 5 time deportee.
He was in jail, ICE wanted him; so the SFPD let him go .

Let's get a pool going on how long it is before he is behind bars again

Mad Boston Arab said...

Hmmm a convicted drug dealer found a gun. Does his claim that he found the gun pass the sniff test.

David Begley said...

The post-verdict interview by the defense lawyer was an attack on Trump. One guy suggested Trump would be indicted soon by Mueller. The other guy said this case was the reason for Trump’s victory. Shameful.

One murdering illegal alien in SF wasn’t the reason Trump won. Hundreds of cases throughout the country happen on a daily basis. If it isn’t murder, it is MS-13 dealing drugs and mayhem. About five miles from where I sit now, an illegal alien killed Sarah Root in a car accident; drag racing on a street late at night. She was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended. He made bail and went home to Central America. Sarah Root was out celebrating after just graduating summa from a local college,

Fabi said...

As long as the illegal aliens are protected from any consequences I don't see any problem at all. No problem at all, as long as your end goal is more Trump.

DanTheMan said...

In Florida, "I didn't mean to" equals manslaughter instead of murder. It does not equal a free pass to kill.

I guess he accidentally came across the border 5 times, too...

David Hampton said...

That weapon was fired because Zarate put his finger on the trigger, pulled trigger in the direction of Steinle who was shot in the back and died. Manslaughter since the second Zarate picked up the weapon he owned whatever happened thereafter including when he through it off the pier and fled the scene. This is in-your-face pro sanctuary/open borders policy by Progressive's across the country. Let's see what Gutierrez does with this verdict. When I travel in California the law requires I carry my weapon and ammunition in separate locked containers in separate locations in the vehicle's trunk. I have a CCW permit that California doesn't recognize from out of state. Illegal immigrant felons are treated better than me by the law. The fix was in on this trial.

AllenS said...

Garcia Zarate: "I didn't know it was a gun."

Alfranken: "I didn't know it was a grope."

Fabi said...

If you're a democrat politician you get one free grope. If you're an illegal alien you get one free murder.

richlb said...

His defense? It was Chekhov's gun.

Fabi said...

AllenS beat me to it. Refresh is your friend!

David Baker said...

Until now I didn't know that Kate Steinle was killed by a ricocheting bullet - and not directly.

Which means that Garcia had to be accomplished at trick shots, specifically at bouncing bullets off the pavement.

DanTheMan said...

>>His defense? It was Chekhov's gun.

Dang! I knew the Russians were involved somehow. I hope Mueller can make the connection to Trump for this!

viator said...

"The semi-automatic handgun used to kill Steinle was stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger a week before the shooting.

The defense has said that Garcia Zarate found the gun wrapped in a shirt under a chair on the pedestrian pier and it went off by accident when he picked it up."

The only way a weapon like this can "go off" is that someone pulls the trigger.

Government owned weapon kills innocent citizen in the hands of a non-citizen (convicted felon) who is illegally in the country because of government action and then the government finds him not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

DanTheMan said...

>>Which means that Garcia had to be accomplished at trick shots, specifically at bouncing bullets off the pavement.

Negligence. No skill required.

And if you believe a drug dealer "found a gun", then pull up a chair next to Ann, who thinks it's a "type of gun that is easy to fire accidently".

Dunce caps all around...



Ann Althouse said...

"I am going to stop reading about it. The guy goes free."

He was convicted on a firearms charge and could get as much as 3 years.

I think a lot of the blame here falls on the prosecution, going for first degree murder and not stressing the lesser charge. There's analysis of that if you click on the link.

Humperdink said...

I would be interested in hearing from legal experts as to how the SF DA handled the case. Looking past the faulty effort of a 1st degree conviction, how well did they perform?

Tommy Duncan said...

Just for the record, the Bureau of Land Management personnel do not carry a "type of gun that is easy to fire accidently".

Let's just suppose the BLM folks carry Glock pistols, which lack a safety. In order to discharge the Glock the shooter must deliberately perform a very long and forceful trigger pull. There are no accidental discharges with the modern pistols carried by government personnel. The guns only go "bang" when you pull the trigger.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't know much, but any other case where someone lies to the police routinely, flees the scene and disposes of a weapon is rarely looked on favorably. Maybe the prosecution should have gone for the safer charge, but I doubt the jury would have found him responsible there either. It sounds like it was the gun's fault when you read about the blame it gets.

AllenS said...

I like your version better, Fabi.

Matthew Sablan said...

Tommy, it wasn't a Glock from the write up. Rather a Sig Sauer with many accidental discharges recorded over the years. Include that with the jury believing he found it hidden on the beach,and I can see people saying maybe it was an accident.

Matthew Sablan said...

How many of the jurors owned used or understand guns?

I'm seeing how they reached their decision, but it is stretching reasonable.

David Baker said...

Yes, how do you convince a jury that a hapless, homeless, ignorant illegal immigrant, who doesn't speak the language - but was also an expert at bouncing bullets off the pavement, even using an unfamiliar gun - a gun documented and known to have a 4-pound hair trigger?

Obviously you won't convince a jury, because such a contention is more ignorant than a hapless immigrant.



Assrat said...

> How does a federal ranger leave a gun unattended in his car?

Just speculation, but perhaps the ranger was going into a gun-free zone.

AllenS said...

It starts with what the judge will allow as evidence in the case. Such as not allowing the fact that Garcia Zarate had been deported before, then it boils down to the jury instructions.

DanTheMan said...

>>Include that with the jury believing he found it hidden on the beach

Maybe somebody lost a tooth on the beach, and the Sig was hidden there by the Gun Fairy.

Sheesh...

Matthew Sablan said...

That he'd been deported has no bearing on if he wanted to kill someone. I'm more curious if the gun stats for the sig sauer actually do show a gun prone to misfire. What is the baseline and comparison?

DanTheMan said...

>>have a 4-pound hair trigger


Ignorance on parade....

Matthew Sablan said...

There's video of people hiding something there. I find it far fetched, but not impossible. It is negligent to pick up a weapon you don't know is loaded or not though.

Boxty said...

Tim in Vermont: There was no murder in Charlottesville. The woman that died was morbidly obese and had a heart attack. The photo of her circulated by the media was of her when she was much younger and less obese. Same propaganda tactic as we saw with Trayvon Martin. If anything, manslaughter charges should be filed against the antifa thug that swung a bat into the car that caused the driver to slam on the gas. He hit the car in front of him which was pushed into pedestrians.

David Baker said...

"Ignorance on parade.... "

Kindly explain.

AReasonableMan said...

Boxty said...
Tim in Vermont: There was no murder in Charlottesville. The woman that died was morbidly obese and had a heart attack.


This is fascist propaganda.

gspencer said...

The defense just had to do a bare minimum to get reasonable doubt of an intentional killing into the mix.

But step back and ask, "But if,"

But if the guy hadn't been in the country unlawfully, she's be still alive.

David Begley said...

Read California Criminal Jury Instruction 572. I can’t paste it here for some reason. I can’t believe he wasn’t convicted of manslaughter.

tim in vermont said...

OK, wasn't following the case. He either possessed the weapon or he didn't. They said he did. The gun went off in his care, that's involuntary manslaughter. This is jury nullification to stick to to Trump, and it will only help him.

Matthew Sablan said...

Not knowing the victim and a ricochet makes it really hard to believe he intended to kill her specifically. Proving he meant to harm someone is hard to when the jury is willing to believe him despite lying to the police and changing his story. Given the facts, it is clearly manslaughter. Murder is an open question.

tim in vermont said...

This is fascist propaganda.

We'll never know, because the facts will never come out. I don't know what happened, and I didn't make that claim. Not sure why you had to put my handle in there with that quote.

Matthew Sablan said...

The jury blamed the gun or at least the defense did. I wonder if a law suit against the manufacturer would be successful with the same jury pool.

tim in vermont said...

He must have had Teddy Kennedy's lawyer.

JPS said...

David Baker:

"a gun documented and known to have a 4-pound hair trigger?"

DanTheMan addressed this (pick up four pounds with the tip of your index finger, please, and get back to us on that "hair trigger"). But I'll add: The only way a weapon like this has a 4-pound trigger pull is if someone has already cocked it. Usually using the slide, though you can just use your thumb. Otherwise it's about 10 pounds.

Any which way, these are inconvenient to your "hapless" scenario.

Matthew Sablan, 6:33: There are excellent reasons why the term "accidental discharge" has fallen out of favor. It used to encompass both the exceedingly rare mechanical malfunction (weapon fires without trigger being pulled) and the vastly more common negligent discharge (and you do refer to negligence).

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
We'll never know


We already know.

"Heather Heyer’s cause of death was blunt force injury to the chest, according to the Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond."

Patrick Henry was right! said...

The weapon cannot be fired easily. It was a semiautomatic and requires that the slide be pulled back to chamber a round and to pull back the hammer. Only then does it fire, when the trigger is pulled. Dropping it won't fire it.

Plus, he confessed to firing it.

This is much worse than imagined now. California is no longer part of Western Civilization. It is a banana republic, full stop.

JPS said...

David Baker:

"how do you convince a jury that a hapless, homeless, ignorant illegal immigrant, who doesn't speak the language - but was also an expert at bouncing bullets off the pavement,"

I meant to add: Once you pull the trigger you are responsible for where the bullet goes. That killing a person via ricochet-off-concrete is extremely unlikely doesn't change that.

DanTheMan said...

JPS beat me to the explanation. Go to the kitchen, and tie a string around a 5 pound bag of sugar. Try to lift it with just the tip of your finger.

As to "accidental" firings. Yes, you can make *some* Sigs fire without pulling the trigger. It requires a VERY heavy blow with a HAMMER on the back of the slide. Short of that ridiculous scenario, a modern quality firearm like a Sig will NOT fire unless you pull the trigger all the way back!

David Begley said...

“a))The defendant is charged [in Count ] with voluntarymanslaughter [in violation of Penal Code section 192(a)].To prove that the defendant is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, thePeople must prove that

:1. The defendant committed an act that caused the death ofanother person;[AND]

2. When the defendant acted, (he/she) unlawfully intended to kill someone(;/.)

[AND3. (He/She) killed without lawful excuse or justification.]

Or the People must prove that:1. The defendant intentionally committed an act that caused thedeath of another person;2. The natural consequences of the act were dangerous to humanlife;3. At the time (he/she) acted, (he/she) knew the act was dangerousto human life;

[AND]4. (He/She) deliberately acted with conscious disregard for humanlife(;/.)[

AND5. (He/She) killed without lawful excuse or justification.][An act causes death if the death is the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the act and the death would not have happened withoutthe act. A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. Indeciding whether a consequence is natural and probable, consider all of the circumstances established by the evidence.][There may be more than one cause of death. An act causes death only....”


CA jury instruction on manslaughter.

DanTheMan said...

>>expert at bouncing bullets off the pavement,"

Why can't you see that that does not matter AT ALL? If you kill someone through negligence, that's manslaughter.

I suspect, however, if it had been a ignorant skinhead who negligently shot and killed an illegal immigrant, you'd be calling for a sentence of life in the electric chair.

Unknown said...

> hapless, homeless, ignorant illegal immigrant, who doesn't speak the language

Hey Mr Privilege

How did he get back here 5 times if he's all those things?

How does he live in a city I can't afford?

Matthew Sablan said...

If the jury believed he didn't know enough to use the gun intentionally due to his second grade education as stated, he may get off in manslaughter too since they believe he couldn't know handling a weapon was dangerous. My client is too dumb to be responsible may have won the case.

Leland said...

I do think this was prosecutors doing a poor job of choosing the right charge. There certainly is reasonable doubt of any intent to kill Steinle, because of the ricochet. Manslaughter ought to have been the charge.

However, I'm not buying the defense, or these latter articles, that the guy was just an ignoramus that haplessly got his hands on a dangerously accident prone firearm that a law enforcement officer previously carried everyday without incident.

And the larger story is still that this dangerous accident prone citizen of Mexico with a history of crime was allowed to freely walk the streets in San Francisco to sell drugs and deal with people who steal firearms for law enforcement officers.

Chuck said...

Matthew Sablan said...
The jury blamed the gun or at least the defense did. I wonder if a law suit against the manufacturer would be successful with the same jury pool.

Such a suit might get dismissed on summary judgment; and it probably would never succeed, based on common law products liability principles (the product was modified after manufacture) and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

Matthew Sablan said...

He's homeless. He can't afford it either.

Bob Boyd said...

Isn't it murder in CA if, during the commission of another felony someone dies?
This guy was in the country illegally and was in possession of a firearm illegally.

Suppose a CCW holder had come over from Nevada illegally carrying his Sig. He monkeyed with it on the pier and an accidental discharge killed Kate Steinle. What do think would happen to the guy? Would the papers write extensively about how it was the gun's fault?

Matthew Sablan said...

Did they test and examine the weapon. . oh wait. He threw it in the water. We'll never know the condition it was in when Steinle was killed. Convenient for the defense that the guy who knows nothing had the mental capacity to dump the weapon

Leland said...

There's also the question of whether the prosecutor intentionally botched the prosecution for political reasons?

Matthew Sablan said...

The CCW holder knows what he is doing is dangerous. The jury instructions don't protect him.

Clyde said...

The problem was less the killing of Kate Steinle but rather the fact that the killer was in this country in the first place after having been convicted of multiple felonies and being deported FIVE TIMES. And yet, there he was, back in sanctuary city San Francisco, which cares more about the "rights" of criminal illegal aliens than it does about the safety of its own legal residents. That is the problem. He shouldn't have been on that pier to shoot Kate Steinle, accidentally or not. And the leaders of San Francisco are complicit in her death.

Bob Boyd said...

"The CCW holder knows what he is doing is dangerous. The jury instructions don't protect him."

What do you mean?

Assrat said...

I'm pretty much convinced the prosecutor botched the case. There's no way killing on a ricochet is intentional.

However, I'd like to see what the ramifications of a successful manslaughter charge would be to an illegal immigrant.

Matthew Sablan said...

Read the instructions posted above. In them the accused needs to know what they are doing is dangerous. The argument is this guy barely understood what a gun was and couldn't have known it was dangerous. The CCW carrier can't benefit from the too stupid to be culpable defense.

Mike Sylwester said...

Boxty at 6:47 AM

There was no murder in Charlottesville. ... manslaughter charges should be filed against the antifa thug that swung a bat into the car that caused the driver to slam on the gas. He hit the car in front of him which was pushed into pedestrians.

James Alex Fields drove fast for three blocks to hit the crowd of anti-racism demonstrators.

Fields plowed into the crowd a very short time after those demonstrators were stopped and diverted north onto Fourth Street -- they were supposed to march north on Fifth Street.

If you watch this video ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCBfjIDriYw

* from 14:30 to 16:30

and

* from 21:00 to 21:15

-- a total of just two minutes and 15 seconds --

Then you will see the anti-racism protesters being stopped and diverted north onto Fourth Street. A few seconds later -- as the crowd began walking north, Fields drove his car into the crowd.

Fields had been instructed where to position his car and then was signaled exactly when to begin his three-block drive in order to hit the crowd just after the crowd had been diverted north onto Fourth Street.

+++++

I discussed how Fields was set up in more detail on this blog's thread, dated November 6 and titled At the Sunrise Café

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2017/11/at-sunrise-cafe.html

Sebastian said...

"he didn't mean to do it." Ahh. Why was was he there at all?

Chuck said...

Looking at a few of the comments about trigger pull measurements, and experiments with string and bags of sugar...

This jury asked for and was given the pistol in question, which had been admitted into evidence as an exhibit. They had the chance (I presume) to each in their own turn handle it, and squeeze the trigger.

Matthew Sablan said...

Again, I'm presenting the arguments as I understand them. The argument is it doesn't matter. He didn't mean to as the fact they're strangers and the bullet ricocheted proves. He didn't know the gun could be fired easily and panicked. He was homeless so he may have been there for any number of non murder reasons.

JPS said...

Matthew Sablan:

"I wonder if a law suit against the manufacturer would be successful with the same jury pool."

I don't wonder at all whether a lawsuit against the agent who lost his weapon, and against the federal agency that deemed him qualified, issued it to him, and did not impress upon him how to secure his weapon, would be successful. It wouldn't. But I sure wish it could be.

Matthew Sablan said...

Chuck the gun had been in the water off the pier for a day. If the prosecution let that happen it was as dumb as letting OJ try on the gloves. The gun they would have handled is not representative of what was fired

JPS said...

Chuck,

"This jury asked for and was given the pistol in question, which had been admitted into evidence as an exhibit. They had the chance (I presume) to each in their own turn handle it, and squeeze the trigger."

I for one am not arguing with the jury. I was arguing with David Baker who thinks a light trigger pull is relevant to the case.

The weapon in question can be fired with a light trigger pull only after it has been cocked (if a round was in the chamber already) or the slide has been racked. Either action is a deliberate act of preparing to fire. For most pistols from this manufacturer, you can also fire without having done this, but then you have a much heavier trigger pull - again, so that overcoming it is a deliberate act.

My point is that any which way, we are not in "I picked up the gun and it just went off" territory.

David Begley said...

To be clear, the jury instruction I cited states it is to be used if “murder is not charged.” This might well be a case of overcharging, The jury instruction for first and second degree murder is different.

I would gues the county paid $20,000 for interpretation in this case. I bet the budget for interpretation is in the millions in SF. Probably need 50 languages.

Matthew Sablan said...

What if the weapon was damaged when he found it? That could make it going off more likely. We won't know if it was it wasn't though since he dumped it off the pier unless the damage was major.

Chuck said...

Matthew Sablan said...
Chuck the gun had been in the water off the pier for a day. If the prosecution let that happen it was as dumb as letting OJ try on the gloves. The gun they would have handled is not representative of what was fired

You could be right but I don't know that. How do you know it?

My supposition is that the actual firearm, marked and admitted into evidence after examination by expert witnesses for both sides would be a better exemplar for the jury, than a piece of string on a bag of sugar.

And I fully recognize that it wasn't you, Matthew, who came up with that cockamamie suggestion. I'm not blaming you in that regard.


David Baker said...

The ricochet demonstrates the hair trigger, and the accidental nature of the discharge.

Btw, I'm not defending Garcia, I'm understanding the jury. This was not a murder-1 case. They overcharged.

Nevertheless, I like your bag of sugar. But now try 4-pounds horizontally, and with a gun that is ALWAYS ready and loaded. Picture yourself sitting there, feeling the trigger, and then suddenly...BAM!

MisterBuddwing said...

I for one would like to know when was the last time a President of the United States publicly denounced a jury decision.

Matthew Sablan said...

If anything there's no reason to let a jury handle the weapon. Maybe a gun of the same make and model, but not the one that had been stolen maybe damaged maybe not and exposed to the water for hours. If the pull us easier or harder in that weapon the jury is getting bad information. Letting the jury handle it seems weird to me. So they let juries stab things with knives in murder cases? I'm actually curious there.

Chuck said...

JPS -
I don't know; was there a round in the chamber when the accused picked it up? Do you have any basis to presume that there wasn't?

For my part, it is only after the trial that I am learning about evidence that the gun had somehow fired prematurely in the past. That fact, among many others.

I'm not going to presume to be an expert on this case. I think that Althouse is effectively saying that she also is no expert; just that we are now finding out a lot of things about the trial evidence that were never mentioned in the (mostly far-right) pretrial reporting about the case.

tim in vermont said...

"Heather Heyer’s cause of death was blunt force injury to the chest, according to the Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond."

We will never know the complete circumstances. Virginia has made that clear.

Matthew Sablan said...

Do not so. I hate phone posting.

Matthew Sablan said...

That specific gun had not I thought. Just that model. I may have missed that part though.

john said...

From the linked article: "Garcia Zarate was charged from the beginning with murder, and prosecutors gave the jury the option of convicting him of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. Jurors rejected all three."

I don't how folks judged the prosecution to be guilty of prosecutorial overreach. Looks to me like most of the jury was pretty disposed to let this guy off. They just had to wear down one or a couple of holdouts.

Assrat said...

>I for one would like to know when was the last time a President of the United States publicly denounced a jury decision.

"If I had a son..."

MisterBuddwing said...

>I for one would like to know when was the last time a President of the United States publicly denounced a jury decision.

"If I had a son..."




President Obama made that comment in March 2012. George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin in July 2013.

Try again.

Assrat said...

>I don't how folks judged the prosecution to be guilty of prosecutorial overreach.

Can't speak for anyone else, but for me it hinges on what level of manslaughter he was charged with.

If he was charged with voluntary manslaughter, he should walk.

If he was charged with involuntary manslaughter, he should have been found guilty.

All my opinion, of course.

Assrat said...

>President Obama made that comment in March 2012. George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin in July 2013.

A case that hadn't been tried yet? That's substantially worse.

narayanan said...

is this plausible scenario - what if he was a mule/courier picking up the gun ?

MisterBuddwing said...

A case that hadn't been tried yet? That's substantially worse.

Then-candidate and now President Trump certainly seemed to get a lot of mileage out of the Steinle case.

chickelit said...

Twinkie defense.

Same jury.

Assrat said...

>Then-candidate and now President Trump certainly seemed to get a lot of mileage out of the Steinle case.

Just admit it; it's only bad when Republicans do it.

David Baker said...

Remember, it's pull vs. lift when gauging a "hair" trigger.

dbp said...

If Zarate was so incompetent with a gun that it "accidentally" went off, how do we know he wasn't equally incompetent at aiming too? Which could be why the bullet hit the pavement on the way to the victim, instead of going there directly.

Darkisland said...

I am probably a fascist/Fascist or National Socialist for even questioning the narrative but:

ARM, you pointed out that Heyer's death was caused by blunt force to the chest, according to the medical examiner.

Can you tell us what caused the blunt force? Did Fields hit her with a car or cause her to be hit with a car?

The link to the August article Charlottesville paper that you recently published as well as a more recent article (October) do not say that. They only say:

Heather Heyer’s cause of death was blunt force injury to the chest, according to the Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond.

Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal who was protesting the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in downtown Charlottesville on Aug. 12, died after a car rammed a crowd of pedestrians gathered at the intersection of Fourth and Water streets. Dozens more were injured.

The manner of Heyer’s death is still pending, a representative with the office said Monday.


http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/heather-heyer-s-cause-of-death-ruled-as-blunt-force/article_cf362edc-b2c6-11e7-bfa4-8749ed76aae2.html

Note that neither article claim that she was hit by a car. Or that she was not, either. Was she in the crowd of pedestrians rammed?

Note that as of October, according to the local paper, it was still unknown what caused the blunt force.

Perhaps you have some info that Fields actually hit her or caused her to be hit with a car? Link please

The october story is the most recent one in a search of the Paper for Heather Heyer so I guess it is either still pending or the results have been determined and the paper doesn't want to print it.

John Henry

MisterBuddwing said...

>Then-candidate and now President Trump certainly seemed to get a lot of mileage out of the Steinle case.

Just admit it; it's only bad when Republicans do it.


As soon as I find the quote of President Obama calling the Zimmerman verdict "a travesty of justice," I'll let you know.

Rick said...

Even if everything you say is true he is still guilty of manslaughter - or negligent homicide whichever term is used. They acquitted him as virtue signalling.

David Baker said...

"If Zarate was so incompetent with a gun that it "accidentally"..."

This particular gun has a documented history of accidental firings among police and other professionals, primarily because it's ALWAYS ready to fire. And its default trigger activates with 4-pounds pressure, or about half the normal pulling pressure.

Boxty said...

Tim in Vermont: Apparently the mom gave an interview in which she said her daughter died of a heart attack. We will know if they release the coroner's photographs of the autopsy. Until then, I am hesitant to believe the government narrative given the false accusations in the Zimmerman trial and others.

I am against fascism, communism, and progressivism. All are left wing, anti-American, and should be outlawed as incompatable with American values.

Assrat said...

>As soon as I find the quote of President Obama calling the Zimmerman verdict "a travesty of justice," I'll let you know.

Apparently commenting on a jury decision is now a bad thing? But trying to influence a jury is not?

Rick said...

David Baker said...
Until now I didn't know that Kate Steinle was killed by a ricocheting bullet - and not directly.


It's not clear this is actually true. It was asserted by the defense and and reports repeat that assertion as here from the Chronicle story:

finding credence in defense attorneys’ argument that the shot that ricocheted off the concrete ground before piercing Steinle’s heart was an accident,


But nowhere is there any note this assertion was supported by any forensic evidence. This is how bias works, repeating unsupported assertion as fact without presenting or evaluating the supporting evidence.

Bruce Hayden said...

"At the least, he should have been convicted of manslaughter. Did the jury even understand the jury instructions?"

Never having been licensed as an atty in CA, and never having wanted to be, don't know the ins and outs here, but some states give jury instructions automatically for lesser included charges, which in this case probably would have included manslaughter, other states do not, requiring separate chargings. My understanding is that sometimes prosecutors will charge both the higher and lower charges, and let the jury work it out. Sometimes they don't, on the theory that the jury may want to split the baby with conviction of the lesser included charge, and acquittal on the greater one. Higher profile CA cases (the ones we see out of state) seem to inevitably have just the one homicide charge, all or nothing, and not the lesser included one for backup.

AReasonableMan said...

Boxty said...
I am against fascism, communism, and progressivism. All are left wing, anti-American, and should be outlawed as incompatable with American values.


A course of action that would in fact be fascist.

DanTheMan said...

Chuck. My point was to illustrate that four pounds is not in any way a hair trigger.

Joe Veenstra said...

There are a lot of nonsense comments here about a jury bathed in liberalism/virtue signaling and crap. More than likely, it has nothing to do with any of that and further there is no evidence of that so it is pathetic but not surprising that people take their pre-existing political baggage and foist it on whatever event occurs to buttress their own veneer world-view. It actually makes me depressed to read the comments. People need to travel more and talk to people with whom they disagree and get off their computers.

It is likely the verdict has a lot to do with the actual evidence heard by the jury and the actual jury instruction given by the court. If the jury reasonably believed that all the dude did was pick up the gun he found and the hair trigger went off and sadly ricocheted and hit the poor lady, then it is certainly arguable that that was not even negligent homicide.

https://www.redstate.com/patterico/2017/12/01/lawsplainer-california-homicide-statutes-relevant-steinle-murder-case/


chickelit said...

MisterBuddwing said...As soon as I find the quote of President Obama calling the Zimmerman verdict "a travesty of justice," I'll let you know.

I don't have a link for that one. But then President Obama did vent on SCOTUS, if you recall: link

Has Trump gone there yet?

Rick said...

There are a lot of nonsense comments here about a jury bathed in liberalism/virtue signaling and crap.

And the OJ trial had nothing to do with race. Some people will defend the shield no matter the circumstances.

AZ Bob said...

Guns do not fire by themselves. Handguns are designed so that they cannot accidentally go off. Most have a trigger pull of at least six pounds.

At the very least, the defendant was negligent in handling the gun. I can agree that the evidence may have been insufficient to prove an intent-to-kill murder. But the crime of involuntary manslaughter only requires negligence. (Second degree murder can be found if he had fired the gun deliberately but did not have an intent to kill per se but merely a disregard for other's safety.)

One LA law professor commended the jurors for not letting politics influence their deliberations. But is that true? Maybe these San Francisco jurors were acting like John McCain and saw this as an opportunity to stick it to the man.

Michael K said...

This is fascist propaganda.

ARM is an expert on fascists and fascist propaganda. He sees them everywhere.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, here’s where your analysis is mistaken.

The gun is a Sig Sauer P239. It does not have a safety, so the feature it has built in to prevent accidental discharges is a long, heavy trigger pull. The pull on a P239 is 6.5 pounds. An experiment you can do at home is to put 104 ounces of canned goods in a bag and try to lift it a half inch off the floor solely by crooking your index finger. I’m sure you can do it, but imagine doing that by accident.

Point #2, the ricochet. Correct that he was probably not aiming directly at Kate Steinle, nevertheless he must have been shooting in her general direction for the bullet to still have enough energy to break skin, much less do fatal internal damage. I’ll leave it to pettifogging lawyers whether that means manslaughter or second degree murder, but if you’re firing in the general direction of people then injury or death is a very likely result.

Final point. He fired THREE TIMES. “Accident” my ass.

Anonymous said...

1: The article is by Sarah Rumpf, who's a diehard NeverTrumper with an ideological agenda to oppose anything Trump pushes

2: She argues
A: It's a really expensive gun, so this poor illegal immigrant would have been able to buy it
B: There was a group of people who could have left it there for him to pick up

This is flamingly incoherent
A: He's a criminal, it's a stolen gun, he did have to buy it if he's the one who stole it
B: If it's such a valuable gun, no one's going to just leave it sitting on the wharf. You might dispose of it after you've used it in a crime. No such action has been alleged

3: No pistol will fire if you step on it. No pistol will fire unless something hits the trigger. "Accidental discharges" only happen when your finger is on the trigger. He had the gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger, and Kate got shot with it.

He fired the gun

4: The bullet ricocheted. So what? He's a lousy shot. IIRC, if you try to shoot and kill person A, and actually shoot person B, and person B dies, you've still committed murder.

I don't know if Sarah is just a lying partisan hack, or is also a complete ignoramus when it comes to guns, but her article is utter crap

mockturtle said...

How ridiculous that the jury was not permitted to hear of the perp's criminal history. Of course, that county being what it is, it may not have made a difference. I hope someone sees fit to shoot this guy. Accidentally.

Kyzernick said...

I'm late to the party. However, I have experience with the 2 most common types of Sig Sauer handguns, though I'm not sure which one this was.

The P226 and P320 are the 2 most common types. The 226 is a hammer-fired semiauto pistol, usually in 9mm or .40 cal. The 320 is a striker-fired semiauto handgun, also usually in 9mm or .40cal. The 320 has an issue where, when dropped from a certain height at a certain angle, it is possible for the gun to fire, but only if there is a round in the chamber.

The P226 is a double action weapon, meaning that it can be fired from a completely uncocked stance as long as there is a round in the chamber. The trigger pull for this first shot (uncocked) is pretty intense. It is almost impossible to do it accidentally. However, if the gun is cocked, the trigger pull becomes substantially lighter. This is because firing the gun while it is uncocked requires the trigger pull to both A) cock back the hammer and B) release the hammer to strike the firing pin. Pulling back the hammer is what causes the extra pull. When the hammer is back (gun cocked), the trigger only must release it, at which point the hammer falls on the firing pin, fires the round, and cycles the slide. Cycling the slide performs 3 functions - A) allowing the spent cartridge to be ejected, B) reloads the now-empty chamber, C) recocks the hammer.

The P320 is different. It is a striker fired gun with what is known as a DAO trigger, which stands for Double Action Only. This means that the striker is always half-cocked, and the trigger pull must always A) bring the striker back to full-cocked and B) release the striker to fire the round. They designed it like that to normalize the trigger pull. On a 226, after the first round is fired from an uncocked stance, the next trigger pulls feel much different because you're no longer forced to recock the hammer. This has led to people accidentally firing off a second round in some cases, because they rest their finger on the trigger and apply slight backpressure, not thinking it would be enough to set the gun off. With a DAO trigger, the same pressure is required each time you fire.

Not sure how much this info will help. I've shot both, multiple times, and I find it very difficult to believe that the gun accidentally went off. If he was shooting a P226 and had already fired a single round from an uncocked stance, I could see a second or third shot being fired by accident. But for just one round to be fired, from any stance, requires deliberate trigger activation. This is very difficult to happen by accident.

Bruce Hayden said...

My understanding is that most LEOs in this country carry their handguns chambered. The alternative, of racking the slide ("Israeli style"), is slightly slower, at a time when fractions of a second may matter. Racking the slide first also most typically requires both hands, and is a pain to reholster. And takes a lot of practice to do it while drawing. With striker fired semiautomatics like Glocks, chamfering a round typically equals being cocked. Or, I should clarify - the gun can be cocked without a round chambered, but you can't have a round chambered without it being cocked. Note with Glocks - they don't have a traditional safety, but instead have "safe action", which makes them drop safe. From a user's point of view, this involves a small lever around the trigger that must be pushed with the trigger to disengage the Safe Action. NYPD, questioning this system, requires maybe 12 lb triggers, instead of the usual maybe 4.5 lb trigger that comes stock, which, with their lack of sufficient training, likely results in the police missing what they are shooting at more often than other similarly trained LEOs. The alternative to striker fired semiautomatics are hammer fired. These can be carried decocked and chambered (or locked and cocked). Some are Double Action (DA), where you have to cock first, or use a much heavier trigger pull to first cock, then fire. A variation on this is DA/SA, where you can start with either the hammer cocked or the harder trigger pull, then the recoil on firing recocks (like striker fired SA guns), allowing for a reduced trigger pull for follow up shots. With hammer fired DA or DA/SA handguns, there will often be a decock, often integrated with a manual safety. Let me note that the Sigs that I have fired were hammer fired with manual decocker/safeties. No expert there, since they tend to cost significantly more than Glocks, etc.

Much of that is probably irrelevant because the defendant was not, apparently, the person who stole or found the gun initially. All we know is that there was a round chambered, and the gun was cocked, at the time it was fired. We don't know who did it, but there is a reasonable doubt that the defendant did so. We also know that he violated one of the rules of safe gun handling, which is that your finger doesn't go into the trigger guard and onto the trigger until you are readying to fire. Instead, if the gun has been drawn, the trigger finger should usually be held parallel to the firearm, in an "indexed" position, where it can be quickly inserted, if necessary, but is safely off the trigger, in case something causes the finger to move inadvertently, You can see this "indexed" finger position pretty much any time you see cops on TV clearing a room, etc, and failure to do so will get you quickly reprimanded in any class and many ranges. The finger on the trigger, with someone who has had any training would verge on depraved heart/mind 2nd Degree Murder scienter (intent), but this guy is an illegal, presumably w/o training and knowledge that he shouldn't have put his finger in the trigger guard until and unless he was ready to fire the gun. And so, might have had the requisite carelessness for some level of manslaughter, but likely not murder.

Kyzernick said...

OH, I just saw Big Mike's comment at 9:46. I've never fired a P239 - didn't even know that was a thing. I will do some research though.

Big Mike, is the P239 a SA/DA trigger? IS it hammer or striker?

If it's a DA/SA trigger (like the one I describe on the P226 above), I could see a 3 round string being fired accidentally, but only if the 1st shot was fired with intent from an uncocked stance.

Kyzernick said...

Ahh, a quick search shows that the P239 is available with both a DA/SA trigger and a DAO trigger. This means we def need to know which kind of trigger this particular example had.

DA/SA is like the P226 I described above. It stands for Double-Action/Single-Action. The "Double" part is when, from an uncocked stance, the pull must both 1) cock the hammer, and 2) release the hammer. Once that first round is fired, and the gas/recoil pressure has cycled the slide, all follow-up shots are made in the "Single Action" mode, where the trigger pull must only 1) release the hammer. Unless the gun is intentionally de-cocked after that first round is fired, the gun will remain cocked and in Single Action mode.

If it is a DAO trigger, each trigger pull accomplishes the same thing, and the pull weight will not change at all. SA/DA triggers are definitely more touchy after the first round is fired. I still find the story implausible, but less so if it was a DA/SA trigger.

Kyzernick said...

MisterBuddwing: Then-candidate and now President Trump certainly seemed to get a lot of mileage out of the Steinle case.

And why shouldn't he? Drug dealer, deported 5 times, handles a stolen gun and shoots, accidentally or on purpose, an innocent bystander who was just walking around.

This would not have happened if the man had been sucessfully prevented from entering the country illegally. Which, if you recall, was one of the pillars of Trump's campaign - opposition to illegal immigration. Sure, you could argue, "Final Destination" style, that Kate would have died anyway under some other circumstance that day - marked for Death, so to speak. But that is ridiculous, and misses the main point.

Kyzernick said...

David Baker: Nevertheless, I like your bag of sugar. But now try 4-pounds horizontally, and with a gun that is ALWAYS ready and loaded. Picture yourself sitting there, feeling the trigger, and then suddenly...BAM!

4 pounds of force is 4 pounds of force. The direction of application of said force makes no difference.

Are you a shooter? I've handled guns with a 4lb trigger pull, and just "feeling" the trigger is not enough to get it to fire. More likely, this guy was sitting there, pulling it back slightly over and over again, trying to find the break point on the sear. Sort of like the prosecutor mentioned - a case of Russian roulette.

Pulls a bit. "How much further can I go?" Pulls a bit more. "Not quite. I wonder how much further I can pull it back?" Pulls even more - *BANG*

That's negligent homicide or manslaughter. No doubt about it.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Kyzernick said...
Ahh, a quick search shows that the P239 is available with both a DA/SA trigger and a DAO trigger. This means we def need to know which kind of trigger this particular example had

I don't think that would really matter. SA/DA when the hammers down and DAO are both (at least in my experience) pretty stiff trigger pulls.

And for the record: According to Sig Sauer the 239 has a decocking lever and is meant to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. No safety mechanism is required because like most modern automatics the 239 has a hammer block that is only released when the trigger is pulled.

Big Mike said...

@Kyzernick, I'm a wheel-gunner and not an expert on the Sig Sauer 239. However what I understand is that the version Sig Sauer likes to sell to law enforcement features what they call "Double Action Kellerman," after its inventor Harald Kellerman. The trigger pull when the trigger is fully forward is the 6.5 pounds I specified, however after the first shot it can be fired from an intermediate reset position (trigger not all the way forward) with an 8.5 pound pull. There is a discussion of DAK versus DAO here. The advantage of DAK is in a firefight when you want to pick up an extra fraction of second getting off follow-up shots.

But since the gun was sold privately to the BLM agent it might have been their standard double action/single action (DA/SA, for those of you not familiar with handgunner lingo). Sig Sauer's web site doesn't specify the trigger pull in double action mode but Wikipedia (believe at your own risk!) says it's a whopping 10 pounds. In single action mode the gun fires after the hammer is cocked, and usually the trigger pull is much lighter with a cocked hammer.

My source that identifies the gun as a Sig Sauer P239 is Wikipedia, which is one of three sources I've read that state that Zarate fired the gun three times.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If the jury reasonably believed that all the dude did was pick up the gun he found and the hair trigger went off and sadly ricocheted and hit the poor lady, then it is certainly arguable that that was not even negligent homicide."

-- The gun fired multiple times, he dumped the weapon and fled the scene, and *he picked up a weapon he did not know whether or not it was loaded and pointed it towards people instead of, you know, out over the water.*

This is classic negligence, compounded with criminal actions (running, destroying evidence, lying to police, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Bruce Hayden said...

Much of that is probably irrelevant because the defendant was not, apparently, the person who stole or found the gun initially. All we know is that there was a round chambered, and the gun was cocked, at the time it was fired. We don't know who did it, but there is a reasonable doubt that the defendant did so.


1: What's the proof that the defendant was not the one who stole the gun?
The story that someone stole the gun, did nothing with it, and then decided to leave this expensive gun laying on the wharf (not throwing it into the water where it would actually be gone), does not meet any reasonable "smell test"

2: There is no reasonable doubt that the defendant was the one who fired the gun. There's no reasonable doubt that the defendant then proceeded to throw the gun into the water.

So, where, exactly, is the relevant "reasonable doubt"?

exiledonmainstreet said...

3: No pistol will fire if you step on it. No pistol will fire unless something hits the trigger. "Accidental discharges" only happen when your finger is on the trigger. He had the gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger, and Kate got shot with it."

That's the first thing I thought of. Sig Sauers are not like the cheap little Saturday Night Specials of the '70's. You can not accidently fire them. (Actually, I'm not sure if you could do that with the Saturday Night Specials either.)

Of course, a San Francisco jury and an anti-gun media "know" that guns are scary and can get all shooty when someone steps on them. The boundless ignorance of the anti-crowd served the defense well in this case.

Hagar said...

If the Sig-Sauer was racked and in single action mode - which is unlikely at the time it was stolen - it still had a rather long trigger pull. Talking about a "hair trigger" is nonsense.

If you accept the defense story, you still have a drug addled habitual felon messing around with a "found" gun until he fires it and kills someone.

You or me do that, even without the rap sheet background, we go down for manslaughter.

exiledonmainstreet said...


" The gun fired multiple times, he dumped the weapon and fled the scene, and *he picked up a weapon he did not know whether or not it was loaded and pointed it towards people instead of, you know, out over the water."

A hunter in upstate NY was just sentenced to 15 years because he shot and killed a woman, believing her to be a deer. He was very stupid and careless, as was this asshole in San Fran. But the hunter is a white male American.

White male Americans are not allowed to be negligent with firearms. Illegal aliens with long rap sheets who are stupidly careless with firearms get a pass, because fuck Trump.

Hagar said...

Plus all the other charges of "lying to law enforcement officers" (and this time really lying), "interfering with evidence," etc., etc., that US prosecutors load up their prosecutions with to enhance the severity of the original charge.

Hagar said...

This week a young hoodlum in Albuquerque was sentenced for firing a gun at a building and killing a person inside. That person was not involved in the incident that brought on the shooting.
This young man was sentenced to life imprisonment.
But then he was only a native born citizen of the United States.

pacwest said...

Simpson, Zarate. Simple common sense has always been a guiding light in my decision making process. It has certainly become less reliable in a world gone mad, but to think that this wasn't a verdict against Trump defies common sense.

I guess the only conclusion I can reach is that if you are going to kill someone in CA it would be best not to be white.

Build. The. Wall.
Use. The. Door.

Darrell said...

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The jury in the Kate Steinle murder trial went into the courtroom this morning over questions about the gun used in the shooting.

"They could be curious about the amount of force it takes to pull the trigger because the defense argued the gun went off by accident. And the prosecution argued that the gun was designed not to go off by accident and that it takes significant pressure to pull the trigger," said legal analyst John Creighton.

The defense asked the jury to ask the judge to be allowed to hold the gun and pull the trigger. But during instructions, the judge made it very clear to the jury that they would not be allowed to "experiment" with any of the evidence.

http://abc7news.com/jurors-in-kate-steinle-trial-ask-significant-questions-on-gun/2717080/


That seems to indicate that the judge did not allow the jury to play with the trigger to determine the reasonableness of the defendants assertions.


Bay Area Guy said...

Very tragic story. Zarate may not be a monster, but he is a dumbfuck menace. And, the leftist government of SF, and its leftist citizens, have blood on their hands. They encourage the mass migration of illegals, who don't assimilate and do stupid shit, and then they create a phalanx of professional enablers to protect them.

hombre said...

Sanctuary San Francisco killed Kate and its fine citizens on the jury loosed the instrument of the killing back into the community. The only way this was not homicide in some degree was if she survived. She did not.

It is notable that the judge reportedly denied the jury's request to examine the gun. If true this is an unusual practice. Exhibits are normally available to juries. In my experience with Sigs, they are not susceptible to accidental firing in the double action mode. Single action requires setup and is not the normal mode of firing. The jury should have been allowed to experiment.

Based on the available information, this appears to be at least negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter.

Regardless, if SF officials had followed the law the defendant would not have been on that pier.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It is notable that the judge reportedly denied the jury's request to examine the gun."

-- From the link above, they could look at it, but not experiment with it. Which makes sense, since as I've said multiple times, it was damaged after being fired (and possibly before), so anything they learned from touching it would not be valid about the gun's condition *at the time of firing.* Letting them experiment with it would be prejudicial (though maybe not in the legal sense.)

Anonymous said...

Matthew Sablan said...
"It is notable that the judge reportedly denied the jury's request to examine the gun."

-- From the link above, they could look at it, but not experiment with it. Which makes sense, since as I've said multiple times, it was damaged after being fired (and possibly before), so anything they learned from touching it would not be valid about the gun's condition *at the time of firing.* Letting them experiment with it would be prejudicial (though maybe not in the legal sense.)


Then you provide them with a new one they CAN "experiment with."

Sorry, that decision was BS. The "defense experts" weren't testifying about that gun, they were testifying about a "generic Sig." The jury should ahve been allowed to test out a generic Sig, and see how full of garbage the "experts" were

Matthew Sablan said...

"Then you provide them with a new one they CAN "experiment with.""

-- You can't let them have that either; remember the defense claimed the gun was stolen and may have been damaged, tampered with, or any number of things. Giving them a standard Sig Sauer pistol doesn't tell them anything about the gun that the defendant ACTUALLY picked up.

Earnest Prole said...

The failure here is simple: the prosecutor overcharged the case, as arrogant and incompetent prosecutors in America tend to do.

walter said...

Gun Violence
He just happened to be holding it.

mtrobertslaw said...

Zarate's attorney says that the gun was wrapped in a cloth or t-shirt and the gun went off when Zarate picked it up while it was still wrapped in the cloth. If that version is true, that cloth will have easily recognized powder burns on it, and most likely a bullet hole in it. There is no report that court evidence shows this to be the case.

The most likely scenario is that Zararte unwrapped the cloth and started playing around with the gun while his finger was on the trigger... and then it fired.

Darrell said...

I would have let the jury play with live .40 cal rounds in a short gun. Let them imagine that they didn't know it was a "gun." And what happens when you don't hold it like a pistol.

Big Mike said...

Now I’m just an ordinary guy who competes in shooting sports, so what do I know. But how did the defense get around the fact that Zarate fired the gun THREE TIMES. How do you do that accidentally???

Matthew Sablan said...

"There is no report that court evidence shows this to be the case."

-- Did he throw the rag into the water as well?

As to the "three times" thing: That's what sealed Meursault's fate. That and not crying at his mother's funeral.

Big Mike said...

@Matthew Sablan, a P239 has a stainless steel slide and an alloy frame. Properly maintained by the original owner there should be a layer of lubrication on the frame and slide do a day’s immersion in salt water should no impact basic operation.

Matthew Sablan said...

Assuming that the government official who was careless enough to leave their weapon out to be stolen took proper care of the gun, how long had it been since the gun was stolen though?

Crazy Jane said...

Say an African American man with Zarate's criminal record was recently paroled from San Quentin. Say he sat on a public bench and "just happened" to find a handgun (recently stolen from a police officer) that "just happened" to be on the ground under the bench. Say he examined the gun and it "just happened" to go off, accidentally killing someone or, in his alternate telling, he maybe was trying to shoot a sea lion.

Tell me how that would play in a courtroom.

Say I'm applying lip gloss while driving to work and my car "just happens" to hit and kill and schoolkid in a crosswalk. Say I insist that I was NOT distracted and the whole matter was an unfortunate accident.

Tell me how that would play in a courtroom.

This case was politicized by Donald Trump, who in San Francisco is about as popular as a bedbug infestation. I can see a jury rejecting a murder charge, but the group apparently had the opportunity to find Zarate guilty of second-degree murder (if it didn't believe he "just happened" to find the gun) or involuntary manslaughter if it believed he was holding the gun when the bullet was fired. The ruling will stand and should, but it's difficult not to wonder whether other factors were at play in the decision.

Of course, according to Zarate's defense attorney, this means I am an immigrant-hating racist.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Sablan said...
"Then you provide them with a new one they CAN "experiment with.""

-- You can't let them have that either; remember the defense claimed the gun was stolen and may have been damaged, tampered with, or any number of things. Giving them a standard Sig Sauer pistol doesn't tell them anything about the gun that the defendant ACTUALLY picked up.

The testimony of the "experts" doesn't tell them anything about the gun that the defendant ACTUALLY picked up, but it was allowed.

The gun was stolen 4 days before. Any damage that would have made the gun EASIER to "accidentally discharge" would still be obvious in the gun, even after a day or two in the water.

No sale

Darrell said...

The Feds should charge Zarate with violating Steinle's civil rights. Somebody wake Sessions.

Earnest Prole said...

I would have let the jury play with live .40 cal rounds in a short gun. Let them imagine that they didn't know it was a "gun." And what happens when you don't hold it like a pistol.

Exactly.

Kirk Parker said...

> At the least, he should have been convicted of manslaughter.

Yes yes yes.

> Did the jury even understand the jury instructions?

No no no!

Kirk Parker said...

The Feds should charge Zarate with violating Steinle's civil rights.

No.

I'm beyond finished with "multiple bites at the apple". Let's have ONE trial for ONE offense... and the feds and the states can argue behind the scenes about who gets to charge if there are overlapping state/federal situations, but really we need to put some teeth into the Fifth Amendment clauses that says: "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;"

hombre said...

Matthew Sabine: "... as I've said multiple times, it was damaged after being fired (and possibly before), so anything they learned from touching it would not be valid about the gun's condition *at the time of firing.*"

And you know all this how? This is apologist bullshit! If the gun was an exhibit, the jury was entitled to examine it. When it was damaged is a question of fact, isn't it? If the judge was concerned about an exhibit being prejudicial, the answer was not to withhold it from the jury after it was admitted. Obviously!

hstad said...

I've read most of these comments and am shocked that even lawyers commenting on this blog know nothing about California's definition of felony murder. In these kind of cases, prosecutors do not charge 1st degree, manslaughter, etc. They just charge "murder" and the jury is allowed to pick which ones depending on their view of the evidence.

bgates said...

Several comments here are uninformed. The case was not overcharged; Zarate was charged with 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. (It's hard for me to understand why California wants it to be illegal for a felon to be in possession of a firearm, since this case seems to demonstrate California doesn't think anything a felon does with a firearm is illegal.)

The charge Zarate was convicted of carries a maximum three year sentence, but he'll get credit for the two years he's been in custody. The judge could let him out today, and it wouldn't surprise me.

Zarate's first story was that he was shooting at sea lions, which is illegal under federal law. According to California law, involuntary manslaughter is is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice....[I]n the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; (so he had to drop the sea lion story)
or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection.

Zarate's eventual defense was that somebody else had stolen a thousand dollar handgun from a federal officer four days earlier and then wrapped it in a t-shirt and put it under a bench in a high-traffic tourist spot, and when he picked up the shirt three bullets were fired from it somehow.

The conduct of the city of San Francisco was more appalling than anyone has yet mentioned. ICE didn't just ask for Zarate, they asked for him back. The feds had him. He was picked up attempting to cross the border, less than three months after his last deportation, and convicted of felony reentry. This was in late 2009.

Then San Francisco got involved. They said they had a 20 year old outstanding warrant on the guy for selling marijuana. He was turned over to SF Sheriffs on March 26, 2015. He was released from San Francisco County Jail on April 15, 2015.

The city of San Francisco basically sprung him from prison. Six weeks later he killed a woman.

Joe Veenstra said...

I don't think he was charged with FIPF, fyi and fwiw.

Matthew Sablan said...

Note: I don't fully agree/believe the defense's argument, from what little I've read. But, it isn't as absurd as people seem to think. I do think we should at least put forth their argument to understand it.

I'd've probably hung the jury because I'm undecided on manslaughter, though I'm fairly convinced against murder. But, maybe if I were there I'd have more information to make a different decision.

Matthew Sablan said...

I guess the better statement is: I think it is manslaughter by what I think it is, but given the weird jury instructions, I don't think I could convince the other jurors of it.

gadfly said...

This whole thing resulted from an "OJ" jury that set to find the illegal innocent regardless of real evidence. Our Mexican couldn't tell the same story twice it seems about hao far away she was, about stepping on the gun or picking it up and other varieties I got bored with.

The fact that he had broken immigration laws on multiple occasions was not allowed to be considered by the judge, yet his lawbreaking had put him where he contributed to an unlawful death and maximum manslaughter penalties need to be applied as punishment.

So no appeal will be made and no Federal Civil Rights charges will be invoked by General Sessions?

Birches said...

For the record, my dad who was born in Mexico only had a 2nd grade education. He had a steady job, raised college graduates and would never have thrown a gun away after firing it. This is SF paternalism run amok.

Matthew Sablan said...

Is it paternalism or did the jury just not understand basic fire arm safety any better than the person who picked up a weapon they didn't know whether it was loaded or not and then fired three shots before deciding to put it down. I could see picking it up carefully on the "Shoot, let's not leave this where some kid can pick it up," line of reasoning, but... three times?

funsize said...

A few questions for the smart folks here, just to percolate. If this SIG indeed is law-enforcement spec with a single-action and an extremely light trigger, why was it in the possession of a BLM employee/Federal Ranger from whom it was allegedly stolen (IE was it a personal weapon or is this the normal issue for BLM exployees? Why do they need tactical handguns?) And if Zarate "found it" under his seat at the pier, how did the person who stole it manage to transport it to that location without causing an accidental discharge?

I would like to see the forensics on how they decided the bullet ricocheted off the ground, given that Zarate seems to have had plenty of conflict statements as to whether he dropped the firearm or stepped on it. (They jury also asked to test the trigger and the judge said no. Why?)

Kirk Parker said...

"The testimony of the "experts" doesn't tell them anything about the gun that the defendant ACTUALLY picked up, but it was allowed."

THAT'S why the jury should have been allowed to work with a factory-fresh model.

bgates said...

I don't think he was charged with FIPF, fyi and fwiw.

The man, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, who was also found not guilty of assault with a firearm, was convicted only of being a felon in possession of a firearm after a trial that lasted more than five weeks.

gbarto said...

Everybody is missing the obvious point here: To be on a San Francisco jury you have to be an idiot without a criminal record. Likely none of these people has ever touched a gun. They've heard their whole lives how dangerous guns are and if you ever see one call law enforcement because there's no telling what might happen if a gun's around. When the defense says, "Golly gee, he just picked it up and it went off," they have nothing in their background to make them question this.

I suspect Zarate was playing with the trigger, maybe even muttering, "pow, pow" when to his surprise he pulled a little too far. Incredibly stupid and dangerous but not malicious intent, because that presumes some kind of thought. He should have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Had the DA told the same jury he probably didn't mean any harm but he should have known how dangerous guns can be, never know what might happen, there would have been a conviction predicated on the same ignorance.

gbarto said...

Matthew Sablan said:
Is it paternalism or did the jury just not understand basic fire arm safety any better than the person who picked up a weapon they didn't know whether it was loaded or not and then fired three shots before deciding to put it down.

Oops, I guess somebody else did get the point.

Darrell said...

I suspect Zarate was playing with the trigger, maybe even muttering, "pow, pow" when to his surprise he pulled a little too far

Why not believe his first story, that he was shooting at sea lions. I know some Lefty lawyer told him that wouldn't be very sympathetic with a San Fran jury, but the jury should have heard that anyway. EVERYTHING you say may be used against you in a court of law. And that would make his later stories sound even more like the porkies they really are.

Darrell said...

Sitting by the dock of the bay
Shooting at sea lions hey hey hey

chickelit said...

After serving a light sentence for which he was convicted (perhaps he'll be released immediately and reimbursed for having served over his sentence already), the perp can hit the Joey Behar ladies' TV circuit for lots of $ and female sympathy. He can talk about the injustice of the Trump administration's deportation policies through an interpreter and how it reduces the number of marriageable men for SWJ women tired of gringo whiners.

EMyrt said...

Matt, David and Joe all raise excellent points, and unlike many other commenters, seem to have read the material our hostess pointed to.
Being SF, the jurors were likely completely gun-ignorant, and the defense would have kept gun experts off the jury.

I was on a jury last summer across the Bay. It was a mayhem case with a self-defense defense. We were shown the real weapons (a straight razor and a bike lock) wrapped in the evidence bags. We were given the same models of razor and bike lock to examine more closely. I think that’s SOP in CA.

So the Zarate jury could have been given a Sig Sauer of the same make and with the LEO mods (no safety, lighter trigger) to handle in the courtroom, and if they requested it, during deliberations. If they did not, the attorneys either did not try to get that in evidence or the judge didn't allow it. There was also testimony as to the large number of accidental discharges associated with this type of gun, mostly law enforcement. I suspect the defense blurred the distinction between accidental and negligent and the prosecution did not call them on it, and the jurors would not know better.

And we also had stacked charges: aggravated mayhem, simple mayhem, etc. We were instructed to go through the charges from most to least severe and decide guilty or not, if not, we were to consider the next lesser charge and so forth. It does tend to bias the jury in favor of the defendant, one reason prosecutors prefer plea bargains.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"That went off accidentally."
Oh dear. Went off? Itself?
Oh, no.
No, Professor Althouse. No.

Please, please think deeply about that one. Please?

(Prosecutors overcharging is a real problem and if that fucked this case thats on them. But please, Professor, no.)

Bob said...

Joe Veenstra,

"It is likely the verdict has a lot to do with the actual evidence heard by the jury and the actual jury instruction given by the court."

Never underestimate the stupidity of a California juror, or at least one in Los Angeles. I've sat on the jury in three misdemeanor criminal trials. I was foreman on two of them. Two of three juries could not come to a verdict. Some of the "logic" I heard was mind-boggling.

One juror refused to accept that a glass-bottomed shampoo bottle with sharp edges could possibly be a "deadly weapon". This person managed a non-profit organization. Another juror decided that the victim was really the criminal, because defending himself against the defendant's attack was "assault". This juror was part of a group gravitating toward another juror who had gone to Iraq to "stop American aggression." I think they were reluctant to imagine that the poor, drunk, violent defendant, who happened to be gay, could be guilty of anything.

In another trial, the lone dissenting juror, who claimed to work in IT, continually expressed "reasonable doubt" that the defendant's behavior was a violation of the terms of a restraining order, never mind testimony, jury instructions, and the plain English of the order itself. Ten jurors (I gave up without trying -- I knew it was hopeless) tried, often quite cleverly, to convince the holdout of the truth to no avail. I had to explain very carefully to the judge in open court what the jury's difficulty was without identifying the difficult juror.

Do you know how stupid that guy was? After the judge declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury and we were all chatting with the attorneys outside the courtroom, we headed downstairs to the lobby. On the way down this guy actually asked if we needed to come back the next day!

David Baker said...

"Monster"?

So, I'm sitting on the jury studying the accused, and it occurs to me that giving him a gun is roughly equivalent to giving a gun to a chimpanzee. Loaded, no less.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

God help us.
A Da/SA semiauto SIG is some special elite strange pistol only highly trained specialists can handle? How fucking stupid are people? Ignorant I can understand, but it would take me about 2 minutes to thoroughly explain the controls to anyone e, in person.I
There is no external safety. Yeah. There is no external safety on Glocks either. How many (other) idiots own Glocks? Are we all just constantly shooting people because they are too special and elite???
I have a SIG P227--same pistol but in .45 I don't have any special training and I am sure plenty of you can confirm I am no genius, but I have managed not to fire it accidentally for many months now.
Double action (without manually cocking the hammer) it is a relatively heavy and (to me) very long trigger. You really have to pull for a while, compared to a Glock or even the other DA 1911s I have used. In single action (after manually cocking the hammer) the trigger pull is much lighter (of fucking course) but is still not an Olympic-style target feather light weight affair--you still have to pull it.

Which is the entire point. YOU HAVE TO PULL THE TRIGGER. It does not just "go off." The trigger characteristics differ from those of triggers on other guns, but so what? You have to pull the trigger for the thing to fire. The decock lever will not fire the pistol. The mag release Button will not fire the pistol. Jumping up and down on the pistol will (almost certainly) not fire the pistol. Just pulling the trigger.

Thr pistol didnt "go off." This guy fired it. He pulled the trigger...a trigger that works like every other firearm trigger--it fires when you pull it. Shit, argue he somehow didnt mean to pull the trigger (he had his finger on it and sneezed or some shit), but dont pretend the pistol fired without him pulling the trigger. He did.

lee said...

What about felony murder? He was a convicted felon, convicted multiple times. He had a gun in his possession, which is a felony. If one commits a felony that involves an inherently dangerous act (such as handling a gun) and a person dies as a direct result of that felony, that is felony murder.

And if you've ever held a .40 semi automatic handgun, you KNOW it, even if it's wrapped in cloth.

It was also bs that the BLM guy's car break in want treated as a more serious crime. A federal agents car was broken into and a federally issued handgun was stolen. The car should have been treated as a crime scene. This wasn't like my car being broken into and a pair of Oakley's stolen. Odds are, the guy didn't find the gun -- odds are he was the one who stole it.

Be said...

Guns go off accidentally, especially if they've been stolen / unsecured. It is an entirely unfortunate circumstance that this guy, probably an Asshole, ended up only being convicted of posessing a stolen firearm. I'm sorry for the young woman and her family.

However: Justice was served. A Jury both acquitted him of some things, but convicted him of others.


BTW, and what would never have allowed me to be on such a jury is:

What ended my love affair with the South (VA in particular, DC area), was when I set myself down to bed next to a loaded, unsecured pistol on my nightstand.

"This is unnecessary; get rid of it."

"What the Fuck, Cambridge? Afraid?"

"All I need is reach for my waterglass 1/2 asleep and shoot someone. Why the hell is this here, when you live protected like Fort Knox?"

"You Live In Fear, as All Boston Assholes Do."

"Having a one bedroom in a wealthy gated community in Arlington (VA, as opposed to MA), with several loaded guns hidden in each room is Courage?"

(Used to joke with this gentleman that, as the keeping a pistol in the terlit tank was too difficult for him to handle, would gladly macrame a plant hanger, save up my 'dry packets' and make him a hanging pistol planter.")

***

Whether this young woman's unfortunate circumstance would or would not have happened if the person who discharged the weapon were around seems to be a case more of physics / statistics / logic, rather than Immigration. Emotion, too, maybe.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Facts matter, but didn't he point the gun in the possibly-fatal direction of people on purpose? That's some kind of manslaughter. Ricochet doesn't matter.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

David Baker: no. The "default trigger activates with half the standard prrssure?" Buddy, what the fuck are you talking about?
The SINGLE ACTION trigger pull in this pistol is around 4 pounds. That is standard for carry/defense pistol a with SA trigers. By contrast my SA-only (old/cowboy style) Ruger revolver is about 2lbs. That is very light...too light for a carry pistol with no external safety. Which my cowboy style single action only pistol ksnt.

THe pistol in this case functions as either single or double action. There is no such thing as "default mode." If anything the default, though, would be DA. To function as DA ( with the heavy trigger pull) you need only to pull the trigger with a round in the chamber. To function as SA you would have to cock the hammer (either manually or by racking the slide) and then pull the trigger.
Fucking no one carries a pistol like this with the hammer back. If you have any idea of what you are doing you only carry a weapon in SA with a safety engaged ("cocked & locked", etc) The standard manual of arms for this type is to insert a loaded magazine, rack the slide (loading the chamber and cocking the hammer), then decock the hammer--for which this model has a separate lever meaning it can be accomplished WITHOUT pulling the trigger (which is an added safety feature). You then have a loaded chamber and a DA trigger...that's how you carry and that is the "default mode" people actually use. When you want to shoot you either pull the trigger using the DA (heavy) or reach up and manually thumb cock the hammer and the pull the trigger using SA (lighter).

These are not some kind of exotic, dangerous pistol type. They are no more inherently unsafe than any other style of carry/duty pistol. There are probably millions of them out there. Militaries use them! You read "lots" of reports of accidental discharges by cops specifically because where are so many out there in daily use and so many opportunities for people to mess up. And by mess up I mean PULL THE TRIGGER when they shouldn't have, because that is, in practical terms, the only way these pistols "go off."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Be said: Guns go off accidentally.

NO. Jesus Christ, are you people doing this on purpose?
Found will not "go off" on their own. Especially not modern duty/carry firearms. They fire when someone pulls their trigger. That is the only way they fire. Ok? There is a pistol two rooms away from me (in a drawer) that has been sitting, loaded, for about 4 hears. It has not "fine off." It could sit there for a hundred years and not " go off" on its own. It will fire when someone pulls its trigger, but not before. Ok?

chickelit said...

pistol didnt "go off." This guy fired it.

The irony is that Althouse goes to great lengths to show how inanimate object don't have agency, particularly in writing. For example, she enjoys pointing out how journalists use the passive voice to give events agency.

I call a 2 pinochle hypocrisy.

chickelit said...

Be said: Guns go off accidentally.

What does Be know about guns?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

This is not some minor pedantic point.
This is not some meaningless semantic distraction.

Here's a metaphor:
Say there's a trial for rape. The male defendant says "she and I got drunk and a rape happened." Would anyone accept that?? No! A rape didn't just happen, someone committed actions to "perform" the rape. He can't admit to raping and then ignore the fact that he DID something. so you see?

The pistol didn't "go off." He fired it ( by pulling the trigger.) Maybe he did not MEAN to fire it and maybe the guy didn't MEAN to commit rape (he thought she consented, whatever), but those things don't just HAPPEN, someone DOES them. There is a difference.

chickelit said...

The pistol didn't "go off." He fired it ( by pulling the trigger.) Maybe he did not MEAN to fire it and maybe the guy didn't MEAN to commit rape (he thought she consented, whatever), but those things don't just HAPPEN, someone DOES them. There is a difference.

But that wrecks the whole Stanford professor hypothesis that guns themselves cause violence. That hypothesis seeks to put guns and not people behind bars.

Unknown said...

I tend to believe this opinion of the case more than the assertion of Dr Althouse.
https://www.city-journal.org/html/san-francisco’s-shame-15590.html

HoodlumDoodlum said...

EMyrt: the pistol design is not an "LEO mod.”
I am not in LE and my similar-model pistol works exactly the same way. Go to SIGs website --they show their models, for sale to anyone, with the same operation/features.

Guys: single action means pulling the trigger only has to release the sear to fire the weapon. Double action means pulling the trigger has to cock or set the hammer first and then release the sear to fire the weapon. Some weapons can only be fired in Single Action (all early firearms, cowboy style pistols, etc). Some weapons can only be fired in Double Action (no exposed hammer, etc). Some, like this SIG model, can be fired in either SA or DA. This is not at all uncommon in modern firearms. There are tons of different weapon designs and mechanisms out there and SA/DA semi automatics are common.
The first SA/DA semi pistol was apparently the "Little Tom" pistol made in Austria in 1909. That's more than a century ago, ok? This is not some weird new dangerous thing. Please stop.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

funsize: the premise of your question is wrong (as the premise of the assertions you are basing your question on is wrong) so the answers don't matter--this is not some super-rare super-dangerous pistol. It is a standard duty/carry pistol of the kind used by many regular police and military forces worldwide.

There are "safer" firearm designs--firearms with mechanisms that are more difficult to operate. Cops and soldiers do not use those designs, though, since those designs are difficult to use as defensive weapons. Cops don't carry super-dangerous

ihasch said...

The closest thing this farce reminds me of was the acquital in the Rabbi Kahane murder. In that one they found that the killer had the gun, fired the gun etc. but magically did not commit murder.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bruce, Big Mike, and Kyz: sorry, you all covered most of what I said and I am sorry for repeating your better-written points. I am reading from a tablet and did not scroll all the way through. I have no idea why commenters ignored your solid, informative posts.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"He picked it up and the hair trigger just went off."
Then what? He put it back down, then picked it up and it just went off again? Then all of that again for a total of 3 shots?

I mean since we are bullshitting about things that are impossible let's be specific here.

CuznDon said...

This is a Sig Sauer P239 40 caiber. It requires a 10 pound trigger pull to fire, there are four separate safety implements, and has no history of accidental discharge and has never been subject to a recall pic.twitter.com/7OMYXy2xWy

CuznDon said...

This is a Sig Sauer P239 40 caiber. It requires a 10 pound trigger pull to fire, there are four separate safety implements, and has no history of accidental discharge and has never been subject to a recall pic.twitter.com/7OMYXy2xWy

Big Mike said...

@HoodlumDoodlum, thanks. After a good night’s sleep I find myself as depressed as ever. I think the reason for the depression is the implied assertion of Law Professor Emerta Althouse that it is perfectly right and proper for the judge, defense attorneys, and prosecution to treat a trial as one big game played between the two sides while notions of what is and isn’t true, including what is and isn’t physically possible, thst’s all just a quaint notion held by us plebes. It’s what the law schools teach, but is it right?

mockturtle said...

Big Mike: That's why forensic DNA is so valuable. Not that it would have helped this case.

RigelDog said...

As a prosecutor I am still stuck on the fact that a jury believed that an expensive, loaded gun was just "found." And that a middle-aged career criminal just happened to find it. In a populated area, in broad daylight. And that this man had the functional mental development of a 3 year old child, apparently, in that he picks up a gun and points it and waives it around and pulls the trigger MULTIPLE TIMES with no idea at all that bullets can kill. This never looked like a first degree case to me either, but there is no way that he is not guilty of a lesser degree of murder or manslaughter.

James Graham said...

The bad news about freckles: They disappear with age.

I know.

None of your business.

Char Char Binks said...

Unreasonable doubt won the day. It was unreasonable to doubt that Garcia didn't steal the gun from the Fed agents car, it was unreasonable to assume someone else left the gun under the chair just because it was in a public place with video of other people there doing unspecified things shortly before Garcia arrived at the pier, it was unreasonable to think that a man who was able to MANUFACTURE NARCOTICS, which he was convicted of, was too incompetent to recognize a gun when he found (HAH!) one, it was unreasonable to assume that a modern, recently-manufacture Sig Sauer, barring extraordinary circumstances, will fire unless the trigger is deliberately pulled, it was unreasonable, and contrary to the law, to excuse a man for his criminal actions because he was voluntarily intoxicated.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to rant about a pet peeve here, because I just noticed it at the bottom of your post:

"The defense only had to raise a 'reasonable doubt'"

A pet peeve, because people seem to regularly destroy the meaning of that phrase.

What is a "reasonable doubt"? It's not "it could happen!" It's not "a possible doubt".

It's a doubt based on reason, about understanding.

Is it reasonable to believe that someone would steal a gun, not use it in any crimes, and then 4 days later wrap it in a shirt and place it on the wharf (as opposed to, for example, kicking it in the water, where it would never be found to connect with them)?

No, it is not reasonable to believe that.

Is it possible? Sure! Lots of things are possible. Warren Buffet may decide to give up all his worldly possessions tomorrow and join a religious order. Donald Trump might join him. and they may both decide to give you their worldly possessions, rather than donating them to charity.

But it's not reasonable to assume that will happen. And if you end up with a valuable painting in your house, that used to belong to Warren Buffet, and the cops find it in your place after he reports it stolen, your story that "Buffet gave it to me" will not save you from being convicted of a crime, because, while your story is possible, it's not reasonable.

And that's why every single defense of the verdict that I've seen has been complete crap. Because they've treated "reasonable doubt" as equaling "possible doubt"