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Court upholds sentence for son of Schwarzenegger ally

•  Ethics     updated  2015/06/03 15:42


A California appeals court on Tuesday upheld former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to dramatically reduce the manslaughter sentence of a political ally's son, saying his conduct may be considered wrong but it didn't violate any laws.
 
On his last day in office in 2011, Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence of Esteban Nunez to seven years from 16 years in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in San Diego. Esteban Nunez's father is Fabian Nunez, speaker of the state Assembly while Schwarzenegger was governor.

Frederico and Kathy Santos, the victim's parents, and San Diego County District Bonnie Dumanis sued to overturn the shortened sentence, arguing that the governor violated a voter-approved constitutional amendment that requires victims to be notified before a decision. But the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento agreed with a trial judge that the amendment approved in 2008 and known as Marsy's Law does not apply to commuted sentences.

"We are compelled to conclude that, while Schwarzenegger's conduct could be seen as deserving of censure and grossly unjust, it was not illegal," Associate Justice Harry E. Hull Jr. wrote.

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