A Sacramento County superior court judge ruled Friday (Sept. 7) that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not break the law when he cut the manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nunez, the son of political ally Fabian Nunez, just hours before leaving office in 2011.
According to the Associated Press, Judge Lloyd Connelly called Schwarzenegger’s decision to reduce the sentence from 16 years to just seven distasteful and “repugnant to the bulk of the citizenry of this state” — but within his powers as governor.
Esteban Nunez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in an attack that killed 22-year-old college student Luis Santos. Nunez and some friends reportedly attacked an unarmed group of young men after being turned away from a fraternity party in 2008.
The San Diego district attorney argued that Schwarzenegger violated Marsy’s law, a voter-approved piece of legislation that requires families to be notified about cases involving relatives; however, Judge Connelly ruled that the legislation does not address the governor’s power of pardons and commutations.
“The attorney general’s office fought for corruption and they won,” said Kathy Santos, the victim’s mother. “Where’s the justice for our son? He was murdered. Two conniving politicians got away with it.”