San Francisco has declared itself a "sanctuary city," which means it openly defies federal immigration authorities by barring all city employees from cooperating with the feds on their efforts to deport illegal immigrants. It is precisely that lawless "sanctuary city" policy which allowed criminal illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — a repeat drug offender whom the city set free despite a federal request for detainment — to kill 32-year-old legal citizen Kathryn Steinle. Now a judge has decided that the city cannot be sued for the death of Kate.
AP reports that though San Francisco clearly defied federal authorities by releasing Lopez-Sanchez despite federal requests that he remain behind bars, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero dismissed the wrongful death claims filed by the Steinle family against the city and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
Lopez-Sanchez killed Steinle just three months after San Francisco officials dropped drug charges and released him despite the federal request for his detainment by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Sheriff Mirkarimi specifically pointed to the city's sanctuary law in a 2015 memo to deputies, which, as AP explains, "prohibited them from providing certain information to federal immigration authorities, including the date an inmate is released, according to Spero’s ruling."
The Steinle family lawsuit points out that Kate's killer should never have gone free, citing the city's sanctuary policies as the reason he was roaming free. But Judge Spero decided that the sheriff is not beholden to either state or federal law.
"Spero said in his ruling on Friday that neither the state nor federal law cited in the lawsuit prevents the sheriff from restricting his deputies’ communications with immigration officials about an inmate’s release date," explains AP.
Lopez-Sanchez is pleading not guilty, claiming that he accidentally shot Kate in the back with a weapon that had been left in a vehicle by a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger.
Though Spero rejected the wrongful death charged against the city and Mirkarimi, he did allow a negligence claim against the ranger for allowing the weapon to be easily accessible to move forward.