California Republicans chide Arnold Schwarzenegger for reducing sentence of Esteban Núñez


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California Republicans delivered a final slap to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at their convention in Sacramento Sunday, formally chiding him for shortening the sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, a Los Angeles Democrat.

Luis Santos, a 22-year old college student was stabbed to death near San Diego State University in 2008. Prosecutors alleged that after Esteban Núñez and three friends were barred from a fraternity party, they started a fight that led to Santos’ death.


Nunez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault in May of 2010 in an agreement with the San Diego County district attorney’s office. As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges.

Schwarzenegger’s decision earlier this year to reduce Núñez’s sentence from 16 years to seven years infuriated prosecutors as well as the victim’s family, which was not notified beforehand. In his commutation order, Schwarzenegger noted that while the 21-year-old Núñez was involved in the fight, he was not responsible for the stabbing wound that led to Santos’ death.

Keith Carlson, the party’s outgoing treasurer, said he wrote the resolution because he wanted to make it clear that the state Republican Party did not condone Schwarzenegger’s move.

The resolution approved Sunday said the action created the appearance that a favor was done for Fabian Núñez. It said the party condemned the commutation of the sentence and “the manner in which it was done, without concern for the victims and their suffering, and without respect for the message this action will send to potential criminals with connections to those in power.”

Aides to Schwarzenegger could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Santos family has sued Schwarzenegger, alleging that the governor’s failure to notify them about his pending decision violated the state’s Victims Bill of Rights.

-- Maeve Reston in Sacramento


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