Unanimous ruling rejecting attempt to sue for failure to report release of daughter’s killer to ICE
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal made by Kate Steinle’s parents, seeking to sue the sanctuary city of San Francisco for the city’s failure to report the release of their daughter’s killer, an illegal immigrant, to immigration officials.
NPR on the 9th Circuit’s ruling:
A federal appeals court in California ruled that the parents of Kate Steinle, a woman fatally shot by an unauthorized immigrant in July 2015, cannot sue the city of San Francisco for failing to notify immigration officials of his release from a local jail weeks before the killing.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, ruled that San Francisco’s then-sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, violated no federal, state or local laws when he released Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, also known as José Inez Garcia Zarate, on a minor marijuana charge without notifying Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
The ruling upholds a lower court in dismissing “a general negligence claim” against the city filed by Steinle’s parents. Their suit alleged that Mirkarimi drew up a memorandum instructing city employees to limit the information shared with federal officials about the release of unauthorized immigrants from the San Francisco jail.
“Our holding today makes no judgment as to whether or not the policy established by the Memo was wise or prudent. That is not our job,” the panel wrote.
The judges said city’s policy did not violate federal law and that Mirkarimi had a right to enforce the memo.
Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant who had been deported numerous times and had a rap sheet a mile long (including multiple felony convictions), was accused of fatally shooting Kate Steinle while she was walking along the pier with her father and a friend.
Zarate was acquitted in 2017.
Last year, Zarate sued the federal government for filing “vindictive and unfair” charges.
As Professor Jacobson wrote, “San Francisco was a sanctuary city, but not for Kate Steinle.”
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