SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco cannot be held liable for a slaying by a man who was in the country illegally and had been released by sheriff’s officials despite a request by immigration officials to keep him behind bars, a federal judge said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero dismissed wrongful death claims filed by the family of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle against the city and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. The judge, however, allowed a negligence claim against the federal government to move forward.

ALSO READ: Fans Mourn Pioneer Cabin Tree After It Falls During Storm

Steinle’s shooting death thrust San Francisco into the national debate over immigration

The man charged with murder in the July 2015 slaying, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was a repeat drug offender who was transferred to the city jail to face a marijuana sales charge after he completed a federal prison sentence for illegally reentering the country. The district attorney dropped charges, and the sheriff’s department released Lopez-Sanchez three months before Steinle’s death, ignoring a request by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to keep him behind bars.

San Francisco’s so-called “sanctuary policy” bars city employees from cooperating with federal immigration officials in deportation efforts.

Mirkarimi cited the law in a 2015 memo to deputies that prohibited them from providing certain information to federal immigration authorities, including the date an inmate is released, according to Spero’s ruling. In their lawsuit, Steinle’s family cited a statement by immigration authorities that Lopez-Sanchez would have been deported and Steinle’s death prevented if sheriff’s officials had notified them about his pending release.

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.

Frank Pitre, an attorney for the Steinle family, said he was evaluating the best course forward.

Spero allowed a claim in the lawsuit alleging that a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger negligently left the gun used in Steinle’s slaying loaded inside a vehicle in San Francisco, and it was stolen.

Lopez-Sanchez says he found the gun and it fired when he picked it up, striking Steinle in the back. He has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Comments (108)
  1. This is disgusting, these people should be able to sue a government that decides which law they want to enforce.

  2. Jimmy VA says:

    Don’t you worry, America. WE WILL REMOVE all ILLEGALS, by force, Patriots. There will be no more ILLEGAL killings. All you ILLEGAL ALIENS better check yourselves, Now, we are all Paul Kersey.

  3. South Mike says:

    Want to know why liberals are perverted criminal alien American murdering enablers, thanks to gutless judges just like this one.

  4. The city is breaking ,laws which result in death. No different than a death by DUI or shooting. Those who broke the laws are responsible, or are laws now just for the little guy?

  5. Kick it up to the next level – San Francisco needs to pay for what they willfully chose to do.

  6. The sue the Sheriff’s Dept.

  7. Bob Gong says:

    What do you expect from a city that allows nudity, smells like urine and feces,and has a sheriff that is a wife beater (Mirkarimi). This will go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

  8. Chris Warren says:

    If Gov Brown had a family member murdered by an illegal, maybe things would change. These aren’t hard working people who don’t have legal status, these are criminals we’re talking about.

  9. Jimbo Slice says:

    Hopefully the new administration will cut federal funding to cities that continue to ignore immigration law. They had no problem selling out our right to drink at age 19 for federal highway funds lets see how much they love them illegals when access to the money tree gets denied…

  10. It is a felony to aid and abet illegal immigration and that is what this city is doing. It is run by unprosecuted felons.

  11. Jeffrey Gee says:

    The hell they can’t… all these sanctuary cities should be sued for releasing dangerous criminals onto the street…

  12. Clearly the City and County of SF cares more for violent criminal than poor Kate Steinle. May she rest in peace.

  13. The blood is still on their hands, whether or not the courts allow them to be held accountable.

  14. Bruce Regael says:

    City politicians who were directly or indirectly responsible for her death should be held in front of a military tribunal and charged with subversion and treason and if found guilty face a firing squad. Sanctuary cities by its definition is treason on the American people.

  15. This is ridiculous. The city broke federal law by releasing this animal. How can they not be sued? There liberal judges are disgusting.

Leave a Reply to Jimbo Slice Cancel reply