In the final days as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger reduced the sentence of the son of one of his political allies who is serving time for manslaughter. While a California judge agreed with the sentiment that the commutation of sentence was bad form for the governor, he says Schwarzenegger did not break the law.
Big Pond News reports that just hours before leaving office, Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence of Esteban Nunez from 16 years to seven years. Nunez is the son of Schwarzenegger’s political ally Fabian Nunez. The family of Luis Santos, the man Esteban Nunez killed, filed charges saying the governor violated a state law forcing families to be notified about cases concerning their loved ones.
The Telegraph reported that, in his decision, Sacramento County Judge Lloyd Connelly said Schwarzenegger’s action was “repugnant to the bulk of the citizenry of this state” but ruled that the law did not specifically address the governor’s power of pardons and commutations and was therefore not illegal.
Nunez family lawyers and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis tried to argue that Schwarzenegger violated the state constitution with his last-minute decision and ignored the victims’ due process rights. The judges admonition of the former governor was not enough for the victim’s family.
“Where’s the justice for our son? He was murdered,” Katy Santos, the victim’s mother, said. “Two conniving politicians got away with it.”
Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, has returned to his acting career since leaving office, starring in The Expendables 2 and other films. He is also being rumored for the role of Thanos in the upcoming sequel to The Avengers film.