Unpopular opinion time: Chapter 3,793.
The verdict in the Katie Steinle case was justified.
I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns. But we must accept it.
If you remove all of the other elements surrounding the case…there is a reasonable conclusion where a jury can determine the shooting was an accident.
Juries are supposed to consider the facts only…not the person’s background. If this were John Doe who had picked up a gun and accidentally fired a shot that killed someone, would it be murder? You can make a case for involuntary manslaughter, but not outright murder.
The underlying foundation of our justice system is the presumption of innocence. In the jury’s mind, the prosecution did NOT present a compelling case that this was murder. Again, once you remove all of the extraneous elements from the case (the defendant’s background as a five-time deported illegal alien), do you see the case any differently?
It is easy to get caught up in the obvious emotions of this case. Yes, San Fransisco’s odious sanctuary city policies kept I.C.E. from taking him on a detainer shortly before the shooting. He shouldn’t have been here in the first place. That makes the case all the more infuriating.
But in terms of the facts surrounding the actual incident, the jury ruled the shooting accidental. And the facts of the incident are the ONLY things juries should ever consider.
Feel free to disagree. As late Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “If you like all of your rulings, you’re not a very good judge.”