The lawyer for the undocumented immigrant who was found not guilty in November 2017 for the 2015 fatal shooting of a woman on the San Francisco pier-- but convicted for illegally possessing a weapon-- has appealed the conviction, arguing that he had fired the gun by accident and "momentary possession" of a gun is not a crime.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 46, a previous felon and undocumented immigrant who served nearly two years for felony re-entry into the U.S. from Mexico, was sentenced to three years in prison for the gun conviction while he awaits deportation.
In July 2015, Kate Steinle, 32, was walking on San Francisco pier with her father when a bullet ricocheted off the pier’s concrete floor and fatally struck her in the back. Garcia Zarate was reportedly holding the gun after it "unexpectedly" went off and threw it in the bay, prosecutors said.
Garcia Zarate was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and assault charges, but convicted of illegally possessing a firearm. The case sparked a national fervor about illegal immigration run amok, with President Donald Trump calling the verdict “a complete travesty of justice.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Garcia Zarate’s lawyer, Cliff Gardner, filed a motion on Friday with the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, asking the court to overturn his client’s conviction and order a new trial because Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng did not instruct the jury that “momentary possession” of a gun is not a crime, and the jury had no choice but to convict Garcia Zarate.