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Father 'outraged' Schwarzenegger reduced sentence of politician's son in murder case


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to reduced the prison sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, who had pleaded guilty to participating in the killing of a college student, has been harshly criticized by the victim's family.

 "We are totally outraged," said Fred Santos, father of Luis Santos, told The Times' Evan Halper and Tony Perry. "For the governor to wait until the last day in hopes it would fly under the radar is an absolute injustice."


Santos, a software engineer in Concord in Northern California, said Esteban Nuñez "had already gotten lucky once" when prosecutors accepted a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid standing trial on murder charges, which could have led to a life sentence. "The governor did not even have the courtesy to notify the victim's family," he said. "This is dirty politics: cutting backroom deals. I guess if you're the son of somebody important, you can kill someone and get all sorts of breaks."

Esteban Nuñez, now 21, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the stabbing death of Luis Santos. Schwarzenegger cut the prison term to seven years, noting in a statement that Nuñez, although involved in the fight that ended in Santos' death, did not inflict the fatal knife wound. Schwarzenegger cited a finding by the court that it was Esteban Nuñez's friend Ryan Jett who stabbed Santos, "severing his heart."

"I do not discount the gravity of the offense," the governor's statement said.
Share your thoughts on the case below.
Photo: Esteban Nunez in court. Credit: Los Angeles Times.
Comments () | Archives (45)

Many times the justice system goes overboard - especially in cases where one is involved but did not actually stab or pull the trigger or smash the head or whatever yet they are held to the same degree of guilt as the one who actually did the killing - that is overboard and unjust. We cannot control another person's actions - if that person decides to kill in our prescence that does not make us gulity of the same crime. I think the governor provided some balance in this instance.

I thought this only happens on 3rd world countries

this makes me sick, he will probably be out in 3 years..people get stiffer sentences for 3 drunk driving convictions. I don't care if he had a record or not, he participated in a brawl where someone was killed, 3 against 1, gang style, cowardly. What do you think some average guy, black, white, or Mexican would have got initially ? Second degree murder for sure. If you're driving the getaway car in a robbery and the inside guy kills someone, you are charged with murder.. Our ex governor makes me puke, he is a gutless, dishonest, scumbag. You know he made some putrid deal with Fabian Nunez .

Very, very sad...

But Arnold, the guy stabbed two men, with a knife, in a brawl in which someone was killed. The crime was premeditated and done without reason and in cold blood. Someone died as a result of his actions. The guy knew it was wrong because he and his fellow thugs drove 500 miles to burn their clothes and throw the murder weapons in the river. So maybe he didn't stab the guy who died but what difference does that make? You are an idiot and a loser and a coward. I hope you never have to go through what the victim and his family have gone through. But now that I think about it...

At Marlena | January 03, 2011 at 08:57 PM:

You do know that while he didn't actually do the killing he stabbed 2 people in that same fight right? You are wrong that someone else decided to kill in his presence. He was part of it and stabbed other people himself!

California law makes Esteban Nuñez just as guilty of murder as the one who had the knife. This is SICK! He deserves the whole sentence just for thinking his "daddy" could save him.

Arnold's grossierty is another example of official corruption and cynicism - the fact that Nunez senior is so close connected with Arnold's inner circle, shows that the body political of Sacramento is corrupt beyond reparation, and that California has became indeed Guerrero, where politicians are siamese-twins with criminals. In our case the pandering to the Santillan-type, Mexican vote goes beyond pale - it is simply unbelievable that Arnold has issued this pardon when Nunez jr. was clearly and in major extent implicated in the murder -

Still, the story has not ended - Nunez jr still has 4 years of jail to do - yet in 2012 the Democrats will get out of their way to gain Fabian's & Santillan's good will -

So, in 2012 Obama will pardon the rest of the two years from Nunez's sentence - Obama will folllow here Clinton's move when he pardoned Vignes, jr. a drug dealer, son of a democrat-connected Los Angeles mobster, in return for the Los Angeles mob & Democrat support -

Good guys and good causes never win - Obama needs the mexican "electorate" that Nunez and Villaraigosa deliver - Nunez jr will be free in two years, not in FOUR years - Villaraigosa, Nunez and Schwartenegger have won

This is Mexifornia - the business of politics is the well being of politicians' families -

Charles Manson was not physically present during the murders that sent him to prison. His "participation" was even less than the pardoned, Nuñez. Why shouldn't Manson also be pardoned?

Now just imagine if Charles Manson's father was a politician...

Esteban Nuñez stubbed two other guys who didn't die! This punk should be in jail a lot longer then 16 years.

If in fact he told his so called friends not to worry because his father will get them out of trouble is already a reason why he should have not been given a break.

I wonder if any Gorvernor would have given someone a break like this if the guilty person is just a regular citizen with no connections? Politicians are wondering why the electorate does not trust them.

"I do not discount the gravity of the offense"

Sure, that's not a discount - that a blind eye...

I agree!

7 YRS? what a joke! 16 yrs wasnt enough! My friend is dead and arnold reduces his sentence? this is why our state is as screwed up as it is! If He had a knife he would of stabed him too!!!

If it is indeed true that Esteban Nuñez is guilty of a lesser charge than Ryan Jett, then he SHOULD receive less time, but they were both pled guilty to the same charge. Why on earth did they only get 16 years? They both should have got 25 years, and Esteban Nunez reduced to 20 years if it was going to happen. The sentencing in this case was ludicrous in the first place. That is the real crime. Someone died. Esteban could have been reduced to 14 years. The Good Lord will bring balance to this injustice.

The only reason this punk didn't kill anyone was sheer luck, he stabbed someone with the intent to kill. That is not manslaughter, it is attempted murder.

I agree completely with Gov Schwarzenegger's decision. Nunez did not intend to end the life of the victim, nor did he himself actually wield a deadly weapon. He made a mistake, and he should have to pay the price, but 16 years is incredibly excessive for assault. Keep in mind he is still in jail and still will be for quite some time to come. I commend Mr Schwarzenegger for using his common sense and granting a young man 9 years of his life back.

Once Again Special treatment for those who are " above the rest " . The Two tier justice system is alive and well in California . I was surprised that this did not work out for Phil Specter .

I never voted for Arnuld and his true colors showed after he caved in on issue after issue. He I hope considers himself a girly man too.

Schwarzenegger is a repulsive, sneaky, social-climbing waste of space devoid of a conscious and always has been. This just proves it once again.

Wow... the kid got lucky that his stab did not deliver the fatal wound. how is he any different than the others?? luck? totally political

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