Schwarzenegger commutes prison sentence of ally`s son

On his last day in office as California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison term of his political ally`s son who was sentenced to 16 years in jail for killing a college student two years ago.

Last Updated: Jan 04, 2011, 13:39 PM IST

Los Angeles: On his last day in office as California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison term of his political ally`s son who was sentenced to 16 years in jail for killing a college student two years ago.

Schwarzenegger reduced the prison sentence of the 21-year-old Esteban Nu?ez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu?ez, to seven years on Sunday night, hours before his term was to end on Monday, the `Los Angeles Times` reported.

"I don`t discount the gravity of the offense. But given Nu?ez`s limited role in Luis Santos death and considering that Nu?ez had no criminal record prior to this offense, I believe
Nu?ez`s sentence is excessive," the daily quoted a statement by Schwarzenegger as saying.
Esteban had earlier pleaded guilty to participating in the stabbing death of Luis Santos in 2008.

However, Schwarzenegger`s action has infuriated the victim`s family. "We are totally outraged. For the governor to wait until the last day in hopes it would fly under the radar
is an absolute injustice," said Fred Santos, father of Luis.

He added, "The Governor did not even have the courtesy to notify the victim`s family. This is dirty politics: cutting backroom deals. I guess if you`re son of somebody important, you can kill someone and get all sorts of breaks."
The outgoing Governor also granted several other commutations and pardons and gave plum government appointments to political allies and the spouse of his chief of staff, the
newspaper said.

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said late Sunday that the Governor`s office would have no further comment.

PTI