Man acquitted in San Francisco shooting got lucky on lawyer

  • AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

    In this Thursday Nov. 30, 2017 file photo, Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney of the San Francisco Public Defenders Office, center, fields questions after a verdict was reached in the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — It was a stroke of good luck for a frequently deported Mexican man acquitted in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier that he got one of the city’s top public defenders as his lawyer.

When Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of killing Kate Steinle, the first thing he did was hug that attorney, Matt Gonzalez.

Legal analysts say Garcia Zarate could not have found a more effective advocate in the case that caused a national political firestorm on immigration that reached all the way to the White House.

Gonzalez is the top deputy at the public defender’s office and a well-respected lawyer who is experienced in San Francisco’s courtrooms and has deep roots in the city’s powerful progressive political base.

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