Outrage over Schwarzenegger's 'sleepy' reaction

April 15, 2011 5:53:03 PM PDT
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be out of office, but he is still making news for commuting the sentence of a politician's son. A reporter confronted Schwarzenegger about Esteban Nunez's commutation. Nunez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, was convicted in a stabbing death.

The former governor was attending a global climate change conference in Hollywood Thursday. He left through the back door, where a reporter was waiting for him. When asked about the Nunez commutation, rather than giving an answer, Schwarzenegger made a snoring sound.

When Kathy Santos, mother of stabbing victim Luis Santos, heard that, she was irate.

"It's outrageous; it just makes you so mad that a person has no soul to abuse power and try to get away from it, it's just unbelievable," Kathy Santos said.

In 2008, Luis Santos, a Mesa College student, was walking with friends on the San Diego State University campus when they stumbled upon Nunez and three others. Nunez did not stab Santos, but admitted assaulting the others with a knife.

Nunez pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault in exchange for a reduced sentence. Nunez and the man who fatally stabbed Santos each got 16 years. But at the 11th hour, Schwarzenegger reduced Nunez's sentence by half.

The Santos family is now suing the former governor. In addition, they are supporting a bill that would require the district attorney and families to be notified when a governor considers reducing anyone's prison term.

"Well the district attorney would have fought for our case, we didn't have any say because they snuck it through at the 11th hour the last day of his office he quietly signed it around 4 p.m. and nobody got a head's up about it until Jan. 2," Kathy Santos said.

Bill AB 648 has cleared the Assembly appropriations committee, the last hurdle before a vote on the assembly floor.