Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 27, 2016 – The story of Kate Steinle, a California native, being shot and killed by a previously deported illegal immigrant with a felony record, created a media storm. The Steinle family filed a lawsuit against the federal government suggesting her death was preventable.
Incidents such as this one can happen anywhere there is a racially diverse population, even in the state of Texas that shares a border with Texas, as does California. The lawsuit’s statement of claim alleged Steinle’s death was preventable and foreseeable but for law enforcement not following the rules and regulations relating to the laws.
“Named in this lawsuit are the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the former San Francisco County sheriff and the suspect, Juan Lopez-Sanchez,” outlined respected Austin wrongful death lawyer, Brooks Schuelke, not involved in the case. Steinle was shot in the chest with a .40 calibre government issued SIG Sauer P239 on July 1, 2015 while out on a walk with her dad.
According to media reports, Lopez-Sanchez had been deported back to Mexico on at least five different occasions due to his seven felony convictions. Many were asking where was law enforcement when Steinle was murdered just after he was released from county custody. Others wanted to know how Lopez-Sanchez was able to find a government issued firearm in the first place. “Further information later came out that a BLM Ranger left a gun in an unoccupied car in a high auto-theft area,” added Schuelke.
Based on the reported information in the Steinle case, it appears the family may be successful in filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Lopez-Sanchez. While many wrongful death lawsuits do result in the plaintiff receiving compensation for their devastating loss, this particular case may well be best showcased for the message it is likely to send to law enforcement and others.
“Through a bizarre and convoluted set of circumstances, Ms. Steinle lost her life. Her death should not have happened. A wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring her back, but it can send law enforcement and the government a loud message to pay attention to what they are doing and follow the rules and regulations that they are sworn to uphold,” Schuelke said. “Leaving a gun in a government vehicle was inexcusable.”
Will Kate’s Law, a response to Steinle’s death, make things better? That remains to be seen in a world short of law enforcement officers, long on contradictory laws and bereft of any apparent common sense that would lead all law enforcement agencies to share their information.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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