Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't break the law with Esteban Nunez pardon, court rules


Actor speaks at "The Expendables 2 Real American Heroes" panel during Comic-Con International 2012 at San Diego Convention Center on July 12, 2012 in San Diego, California.


Kevin Winter

In 2008, Esteban Nuñez tried to crash a frat party in San Diego with friends but was turned away. Nuñez and his friends were so angry about the rejection that they attacked unarmed party-goers and started a street brawl. The fight ended with a 22-year-old college student named Luis Santos getting fatally stabbed. Under a plea bargain, Nuñez pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 16 tears in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported. But Nuñez had a special political connection: his father is former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, an ally of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Just before Schwarzenegger left office, he reduced Esteban's sentence from 16 years to seven. The victim's family sued to get the sentence reduction overturned, but a court sided with Schwarzenegger on Friday, the LA Times reported.

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Judge Lloyd Connelly said that Schwarzenegger's decision was "repugnant," but not actually illegal, the Associated Press reported

The victim's family is furious. "The attorney general's office fought for corruption, and they won," Kathy Santos, Luis' mother, told the AP. "They defended a backroom deal, you know? They got away with it for today, but we're very disappointed. Where's the justice for our son? He was murdered. Two conniving politicians got away with it."