The Vanguard held its Eighth Annual Fundraiser on Saturday evening at the Davis Community Church. Well over 200 people attended and saw a wide array of speakers, mostly focusing on Immigration. Thanks to Davis Media Access, an event sponsor, the event was recorded and we will post the streaming video in the coming days.
The event saw Chuck Pacheco relating his experience in the Sacramento court system as he realized something was afoot with his client, who was eventually arrested by ICE. Holly Cooper, the co-director of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, illustrated how hard it is to get one child freed from federal custody. And finally Matt Gonzalez talked about his travails in Yolo County as he represented Halema Buzayan, Khalid Berny and David Serena. Then he talked about the case of Jose Garcia Zarate, who was acquitted of murdering Kate Steinle last year.
One of the interesting things with Mr. Zarate was that he was improperly characterized as a dangerous offender due to an obsolete drug conviction where he pleaded guilty to a barely usable amount. That meant that every time he re-entered the US, he faced not only deportation but prison time – he pleaded successively to five, six, and then seven years in prison. Mr. Gonzalez explained that Mr. Zarate was mentally deficient and thus really didn’t understand why he was continuing to get picked up when he entered the country and serving prison time, so he was not learning from past mistakes.
He also explained that, with respect to the shooting, he basically found a gun on a bench at the pier, and picked it up. It was a law enforcement weapon with no safety and a very light trigger and so, as he opened the wrapping to see what it was, the weapon went off, the bullet struck the ground and then hit Ms. Steinle in the back, killing her.
He argued that Mr. Zarate, who was acquitted of the murder, should not have been convicted of possessing the weapon because he never really possessed the weapon, he simply handled the packaging – not knowing there was a gun there when the gun went off.
Full video of the event:
Video of Matt Gonzalez: