The parents of a murdered San Diego college student say former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "messed with the wrong family" in issuing an 11th-hour clemency for the son of a political ally.
"We are saying to Governor Schwarzenegger, 'what you did was more than just wrong. It was disgraceful’,” said Kathy Santos.
Fred and Kathy Santos filed a lawsuit Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court asking the court to restore a 16-year sentence for Esteban Nunez, the son of former state Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez.
"This was a gross injustice through and through and it was a political act," said Fred Santos.
Schwarzenegger lowered the sentence to seven years the night before he left office and did not contact the family or the San Diego County District Attorney's office beforehand.
"This family, and including the district attorney's office, should have been noticed, should have been heard. All the evidence should have been laid out and it shouldn't have been done in the eleventh hour, when you're out of office and you don't think you're going to be held responsible," said the family’s attorney, Nina Ashford.
Ashford thinks the lawsuit will succeed.
"It relies on the basic principle of due process, which is in our U.S. constitution, which says, 'When you do something that adversely impacts anyone, be it criminal or civil, the other side has a right to be heard,” she said.
Esteban Nunez, who is 21, pleaded guilty for his involvement in the stabbing death of 22-year-old Luis Santos on the San Diego State University campus in 2008.