The son of a former California state Assembly speaker has been freed from prison after his manslaughter sentence was dramatically reduced in 2011 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, prison officials said Sunday.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Esteban Nuñez, now 27, will live in Sacramento County on parole supervision for three years.
Nuñez entered prison in June 2010 to serve a 16-year sentence in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in San Diego.
Esteban Nuñez received credit for good behavior and was released after serving less than six years.
“Our son has paid his debt to society. He is committed to continuing the work of healing, self-reflection and spiritual growth,” the Nuñez family said in a statement released Friday.
Santos’ mother had anticipated Esteban Nuñez’s early release, and she steadfastly believes a high-level political favor is sending him home.
The Santos family sued to overturn the shortened sentence, but without success.
In 2012, a Sacramento judge called the commutation “repugnant” but legal. In 2015, an appeals court wrote that “back-room dealings were apparent,” but upheld Schwarzenegger’s power to reduce the sentence.
Schwarzenegger said at the time that he acted because he thought the 16-year sentence was excessive, but he also acknowledged he was helping a friend.