Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is the illegal immigrant who was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of Kate Steinle Thursday. Zarate was found guilty on one felony count of possession of a firearm but the maximum sentence for that charge is three years. The Mercury News reports that thanks to a rule designed to eliminate overcrowding in California’s prisons, Zarate won’t serve a day in prison beyond the time he has already spent there:
When he is sentenced Dec. 14, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate could get from 16 months to three years in prison. But since 2011 under California’s jail credit system, each day behind bars counts as two days if the inmate behaves well in jail, as Garcia Zarate apparently has. The credit system is intended to ease overcrowding and reduce costs.
Garcia Zarate has been in jail for about two years and five months since he was arrested in July 2015.
So even if the judge sentences Garcia Zarate to the maximum penalty of three years, he will get credit for time served and not actually be sent to state prison.
But not so fast. CBS News reports that a revised warrant for Zarate’s arrest was unsealed Friday:
The warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the western district of Texas says Zarate was sentenced in Texas on May 12, 2011 to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally re-entering the U.S.
The warrant says the terms of the supervised release, which began March 26, 2015, barred Zarate from committing another crime and from possessing a firearm. He was still bound to the terms of that release when Steinle was shot and killed. Though he was acquitted of murder Thursday, he was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
So it sounds like the gun conviction proves Zarate violated the conditions of his supervised release. Neither CBS News nor any of the other stories indicate what the result of violating supervised release could be for Zarate but from what I’m seeing on other sites this can lead to additional jail time, especially if the violation is a felony involving a firearm. I’ll leave that to the lawyers to sort out, but it sounds as if there’s at least a possibility Zarate could face some additional time behind bars after all.
ICE said yesterday that it intended to deport Zarate…again. It’s not clear yet how this newly unsealed warrant would impact that plan.