Did the prosecutors make a fatal mistake in the trial for the Kate Steinle killer?

So far as I can tell, jurors who acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of all charges related to the death of Kate Steinle have not been hounded by journalists seeking an explanation for their puzzling findings. At a minimum, involuntary manslaughter should have been a slam dunk. Google does not find anything about interviews that jurors have granted.  In fact, I have seen very little in the way of coverage of key moments in the trial.

But yesterday, the Armstrong and Getty Show, broadcast in most major cities in the West, interviewed an experienced former Bay Area prosecutor and current Defense attorney, Michael Cardoza, who sat through much (though not all) of the trial. He was reluctant to harshly criticize his former colleagues in the San Francisco DA’s office, but he did indicate that the prosecution seems to have made a major mistake during the course of the trial.

The initial charges filed, including manslaughter, peaked with second degree murder. But part way through the trial, the prosecutors added first degree murder, which requires intent to kill. This charge would be very difficult to sustain in the lest political of circumstances, because damage to the bullet that struck Ms. Steinle indicated that it had ricocheted off the cement surface of the pier. Thus, it could not have been directed at Ms. Steinle.

In the experience of Mr. Cardoza, juries sometimes stop believing prosecutors who change their charges in the course of a trial. There is at least a chance that at that point in the trial, the jurors turned against the prosecution.

 At a minimum, it is an interesting point. If you wish to listen to the podcast, go here, and click on a the 8 AM hour.

So far as I can tell, jurors who acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of all charges related to the death of Kate Steinle have not been hounded by journalists seeking an explanation for their puzzling findings. At a minimum, involuntary manslaughter should have been a slam dunk. Google does not find anything about interviews that jurors have granted.  In fact, I have seen very little in the way of coverage of key moments in the trial.

But yesterday, the Armstrong and Getty Show, broadcast in most major cities in the West, interviewed an experienced former Bay Area prosecutor and current Defense attorney, Michael Cardoza, who sat through much (though not all) of the trial. He was reluctant to harshly criticize his former colleagues in the San Francisco DA’s office, but he did indicate that the prosecution seems to have made a major mistake during the course of the trial.

The initial charges filed, including manslaughter, peaked with second degree murder. But part way through the trial, the prosecutors added first degree murder, which requires intent to kill. This charge would be very difficult to sustain in the lest political of circumstances, because damage to the bullet that struck Ms. Steinle indicated that it had ricocheted off the cement surface of the pier. Thus, it could not have been directed at Ms. Steinle.

In the experience of Mr. Cardoza, juries sometimes stop believing prosecutors who change their charges in the course of a trial. There is at least a chance that at that point in the trial, the jurors turned against the prosecution.

 At a minimum, it is an interesting point. If you wish to listen to the podcast, go here, and click on a the 8 AM hour.

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