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GOP lawmaker asks Schwarzenegger to remedy ‘your tarnished legacy’ after Nunez commutation

January 25, 2011 |  2:35 pm

A freshman Republican lawmaker is challenging Arnold Schwarzenegger to “show all Californians your apology was genuine” for commuting the manslaughter sentence of a political ally’s son without telling the victim's family first.

Schwarzenegger reduced the sentence of Esteban Nunez, who had pleaded guility to voluntary manslaughter, on his last day in office and did so without notifying the family of the stabbing victim. He later sent the family a letter apologizing for the lack of notice.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) is carrying legislation to require that victims’ families and district attorneys are given at least 30 days' notice before a governor can commute a sentence or grant a pardon.

And on Tuesday the assemblyman asked Schwarzenegger in a letter to endorse his effort.

“I am sure you are aware of the heartache caused by your last-minute commutation of Esteban Núñez’s sentence,” Mansoor wrote. “I am writing because I believe you have the opportunity to reverse the public indignation that has tarnished your legacy."

Nunez is the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Los Angeles Democrat with whom Schwarzenegger had become friends. The younger Nunez had pleaded guilty to participating in the 2008 deadly stabbing of a college student; Schwarzenegger reduced his sentence from 16 years to seven years in prison.

Mansoor's sharply worded letter calls on Schwarzenegger to “put yourself in the victim’s shoes.”

 “How would you or a member of your wife’s family feel if Robert F. Kennedy’s murderer had his sentence commuted without any notice?” Mansoor wrote.

Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento