SAN DIEGO (CBS/AP) On his last day as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the manslaughter sentence of a convict in a 2008 stabbing death at San Diego State University who also happens to be the son of California's former Assembly speaker.
Schwarzenegger reduced the prison sentence Sunday for 22-year-old Esteban Nunez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, from 16 years to seven years, calling it excessive because the young man, who pleaded guilty to charges including involuntary manslaughter, did not personally stab the victim and had no prior criminal record, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
Nunez pleaded guilty in May to involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon for his role in a fight that killed a 22-year-old college student near San Diego State.
Although the court acknowledged that Nunez was not the person who stabbed and killed Luis Dos Santos, he received the same sentence as co-defendant Ryan Jett, who committed the stabbing.
Jett also had a significant criminal record while Nunez had none.
"He was not the actual killer. But despite the evidence that Jett was a leader and instigator in the offense, and that he stabbed and killed Santos, the court sentenced Nunez to the same maximum prison sentence as Jett," the governor said in the order.
"Considering Nunez's limited role in the killing and his clean prior criminal record, I believe his sentence is disproportionate in comparison to Jett's."
However, the victim's family, who learned of the decision from a reporter, does not agree and believes all of the defendants involved in the stabbing are equally responsible.
Fred Santos, the victim's father, believe Nunez received special treatment because his father, the former Assebply speaker, was close to the governor.
"They think they can act with impunity, that they are privileged, and of course Arnold just proved they are," he said.
In addition to Nunez's commuted sentence, Schwarzenegger also granted clemency to two other prisoners and issued eight other pardons.