Critics have called the ruling another piece of judicial activism by the court and clear protection of liberal sanctuary cities.
A U.S. Appeals Court says the parents of Kate Steinle, who died in 2015 after an undocumented man shot her as she walked with her father on a San Francisco pier, cannot sue the city whose sanctuary policies were widely blamed for the tragedy.
The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided to uphold a district court’s 2017 dismissal of Steinle’s parents’ wrongful death lawsuit against San Francisco. The lawsuit maintained that the city’s so-called sanctuary policy and the sheriff bore responsibility for their daughter’s death because it had enabled Garcia-Zarate to roam the streets.
In the 9th Circuit Court decision, Judge Mark Bennett, who was nominated by President Trump, said that while the facts of the case are “undeniably tragic,” the sheriff was well within his authority when he issued a memo that limited his department’s cooperation with immigration officials.
“The tragic and unnecessary death of Steinle may well underscore the policy argument against Sheriff Mirkarimi’s decision to bar his employees from providing the release date of a many times convicted felon to ICE,” Bennett said. “But that policy argument can be acted upon only by California’s state and municipal political branches of government, or perhaps by Congress.”