Case Study: Steinke Vs. Zarate, Free Essay about Criminal Injustices

Published: 2022-03-24
Case Study: Steinke Vs. Zarate, Free Essay about Criminal Injustices
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Criminal justice
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1923 words
17 min read


Criminal injustices have been on the rise in America from the year 2005 to 2010. In most cases, these criminal injustices have been witnessed by the constant rise in killing-related injustices. As a result, all these killings have been put to books when judges give their rulings on the case based on the type of case in America. It is also unfortunate that these killings take away lives of very prominent people, especially in America. For instance, the death of Michelle Steinke was not like any other death in America. She was shot to death by Jones Ines Garcia Zarate that left most Americans to talk about the rulings that were to be given by the judges. The trial of Jones Zarate involved most controversial topics of all time due to the complexity of the case. The trial involved bringing the gun laws and the immigration laws in America. After the killings in San Francisco, it was observed that Mr. Zarate was an illegal immigrant in the first place. The second offense was that he had killed Miss Steinke. The prosecutors wanted Mr. Zarate to be prosecuted for murder and if not murder, he should be prosecuted for felony involuntary manslaughter. Mr. Zarate never planned voluntary to shoot Miss Steinke, therefore, it was difficult to charge him with murder.

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The trial and prosecution made headline all over the United States in America since the prosecutors were unsuccessful after they were trying to convince the judge of the bigger picture of the killing apart from immigration. This is one of the cases that went viral within the shortest period. In fact, it can be due to the fact Zarate was one of the prominent people in America and that the cause of his death could not go unmentioned. Moreover, the case turned into propaganda after tough immigration laws. The case made major headlines because the people believed immigration was not on trial, but Garcia Zarate was the one on trial. To make it, even more, worse, the verdict was given to fit the crime and not the outcome of the crime. This turned out to raise out more concerns from the people since it was unexpected arguments.

The Victim and The Suspect

Garcia Zarate is a Mexican after he was born in Guanajuato in Mexico. He was illegally in the US at the time of the shooting, and he had been deported for more than five times to Texas. From this analysis, there is evidence that Garcia Zarate was not a member by birth in the US. In fact, he arrived in the US sometime before 1991 and was discovered after he was charged with his first drug trafficking in Arizona. In Texas, he had been convicted of Heroin possession for three times. For to note, Garcia Zarate was engaged in some criminal activities as seen in the passage.

Miss Michelle Steinke was an American by origin, and she was born on December 21, 1982. She was shot on July 1st, 2015 and was buried on July 9th, 2015 in Pleasanton California where he had been brought up (McCormick, 2016). This is a clear indication that Miss Michelle Steinke was a citizen of America by Birth. At the time of her death, she was working at Medtronic at San Francisco, and she was living on Beale Street which is close to Pier 14, where she was shot. She was a graduate of California Polytechnic State University with a degree in Communications. In other words, she was well educated and equipped with adequate skills to work for the Medtronic at San Francisco as well.

Events Leading to the Shooting

Zarate was wondering at Pier 14, which is a common waterfront tourism attraction. He indicated that he had taken sleeping pills that he had found in a dumpster that made him drowsy. Zarate then found a gun that was wrapped in a plastic bag, and he took it. He decided to check if it was working and that's when he made a shot in the air. This event led to the shooting of Miss Steinke who was together with her dad and a friend, and they just had a nature walk at the waterfront. The bullet found Steinke at the back, and it pierced her aorta making her collapse immediately. Her dad with other people rushed tried to perform a CPR on her to try to save the situation, but unfortunately, she died two hours later. From this narrative of her death, one can easily think that it was not intentional to kill Miss Steinke.

Legal Proceedings

During the legal proceedings, Zarate pleaded not guilty on the charges in court after he claimed the shooting was accidental when he was aiming to shoot sea lion at sea. He was charged with first-degree murder and possession of illegal narcotics on July 6th. On the other hand, it is even wrong to aim at killing the wild animals as claimed by the assailant.

On July 28th, prosecutors filed an additional charge against Zarate being a felon and in possession of a firearm. On September 4, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Brendan Conroy stated that there was enough evidence to try Zarate (Rice, 2018). He was then charged with second-degree murder and risked to be in prison for life imprisonment. Through all these cases of accusations, it comes out clearly that Zarate has caused several criminal injustices and deserved imprisonment. Zarate's trial began on October 23rd, 2017 with opening statements from Steinke's father, testifying to the court what had happened on a fateful day.


Evidence Presented

At the Law courts, it was found that the gun that was used to kill Steinke was stolen from U.S Bureau of Land Management from a ranger car on June 27, 2015. The ranger was in San Francisco for a government occasion when he left the gun in the car to go and make dinner. Coming back, he found the gun missing making him report the matter to the police (Rice, 2018). The police issued a city-wide crime alert after the report, but the gun was not found immediately.

Ballistics went to the crime venue and found that it was true that the gun was never fired directly to Steinke. They found that the bullet bounced off the pavement from Zarate before striking her. This accidental shooting was confirmed by Zarate when he indicated that the gun had gone three times off accidentally when he picked it up. On the other hand, the prosecution argued out that Zarate had shot in the air three times resulting in the killing of Steinke (Lai & Lasch, 2017). This evidence by the Ballistics was a strong argument that Zarate never willing fully killed, Steinke. The jury was moved by the evidence making the prosecution lawyers to lose a lot since they argued that it was a purposed murder by Zarate. The evidence was speaking much on the final judgment that would be issued by the jury.

Controversy of the Case

Steinke's killing brought many debates especially after the ruling that was made. San Francisco has a sanctuary city policy that blocks any official from questioning about someone's immigration status making it possible for any victim to report any incidence of crime without the fear of being deported. The fact that Zarate was released before the shooting after an order from County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi brought a lot of criticism to her by anti-illegal activists and many politicians including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein for California (Lai & Lasch, 2017). The County Sherriff argued that San Francisco was a sanctuary city and she no reason to lock up Zarate. They condemned the fact that Zarate was released in the first place in the name that he was arrested in a sanctuary city. The controversy that came along the case made the case more popular, and it is usually referenced all over the world.

During the presidential campaign, the now President Donald Trump was heard on many occasions citing the need to bring up stronger immigration laws. He referred the case of Zarate release in hid campaigns promising the Americans that he would build a big wall to prevent illegal immigrants from Mexico. The creating of the big wall was seen to be ridiculous, but the Americans have come to appreciate it especially after the rise of random killings. He released his political advertisement as an 'Act of Love." He showed the picture of Garcia Zarate giving a critic on the immigration laws that have been currently in America (Rice, 2018). The president also referred Steinke during the 2017 presidential inauguration when he was creating the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office. He condemned the previous injustices done by many immigrants and emphasized the need to protect the United States as a nation shortly.

In response to the whole tragedy that was happening in America, there was a new policy that was put in place, referred to as the "Kate Law." This policy was the work of Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Matt Salmon on having mandatory minimums for illegal reentry into the US. Taken to the Senate, there was no vote held on Kate Law (Lai & Lasch, 2017). The house in July 2015 saw the need to pass the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act that is majorly confused with Kate Law. Several bills have been passed since then and more policies created to protect the Americans from the dangerous illegal immigrants.


Zarate was finally charged with immigration offense and not guilty of murder and manslaughter. He was released and deported back to Mexico. On hearing the verdict. President Trump expressed his displeasure in the case terming it "disgraceful." He saw it a major injustice that happened to the family and Americans in general. The judge in his response said that "I understand the frustration that the president had the outcome. But I believe it was the right decision there was too much reasonable doubt to convict a man of murder rather he is a U.S citizen or not." This created a major debate all over the place on what crime should the judge have ruled against the case.

The jury only was convicted that Zarate was a felon in possession a weapon. They saw more evidence to that rather that locking up someone for life imprisonment because of murder. Zarate will receive imprisonment serving according to the laws, and after serving in prison, he will be released free and deported back to America. Despite the talks that have been going around in America, the ruling is believed to be the best at the time, fair and full of just in it.

This case law offered a good opportunity to explore the immigration laws in America. The people saw that immigration was a serious threat and had to be addressed as soon as possible. Their assemblies came together and reinforced the immigration laws that have currently been there. President Trump has a special interest in immigration cases that have always been disturbing him. He has formed strong policies in his government to stop the immigration cases. Of recent, it has been reported in the media of many deportation cases of many immigrants from America, especially the ones that came from Africa and Mexico.


Lai, A., & Lasch, C. N. (2017). Crimmigration Resistance and the Case of Sanctuary City Defunding.

McCormick, E. M. (2016). Federal anti-sanctuary law: A failed approach to immigration enforcement and a poor substitute for real reform. Lewis & Clark L. Rev., 20, 165.

Rice, J. (2018). Looking Past the Label: An Analysis of the Measures Underlying'Sanctuary Cities'.

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