DA Vows to Fight Ex-Gov’s Commutation

Bonnie Dumanis is standing behind a victim’s angry family

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    NEWSLETTERS

    District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is standing behind the parents of a murdered San Diego college student who are suing to restore a 16-year sentence for Esteban Nunez.

    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. They say former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "messed with the wrong family" in issuing an 11th-hour clemency for the son of a political ally.

    DA: We Are Going to Fight Commutation

    [DGO] DA: We Are Going to Fight Commutation
    Governor Schwarzenegger cut Esteban Nunez' prison sentence in half. (Published Thursday, Jan 20, 2011)

    San Diego’s District Attorney is also joining the fight.

    “We’re attacking it in two ways. One, legally. We have our best legal minds looking at whether or not there is a way for us to proceed in a lawsuit. But the one we’re going to move forward with now, is a law that will change procedurally what’s required before, so it doesn’t take away from the Governor’s power,” said Dumanis.

    Raw Video, Nunez Sobs

    [DGO] Raw Video, Nunez Sobs
    The son of former Speaker Fabian Nunez received the maximum sentence. (Published Friday, Jun 25, 2010)

    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.

    “I was not too happy about that,” said Dumanis.

    Witness: Nunez Confessed to Stabbing Victim

    [DGO] Witness: Nunez Confessed to Stabbing Victim
    According to testimony, the son of former state assembly speaker Fabian Nunez, admitted using a knife during a fatal brawl. (Published Thursday, Apr 2, 2009)

    She says there are some arguments to be made about the failure to notify in advance.

    “It diminishes Luis Santos’ life and re-victimized the family and that’s what Marsy’s Law was designed to do, so we’re going to look at that and we’re also going to look at the legislation,” said Dumanis.

    Fabian Nunez's Son Arrested in Murder Case

    [DGO] Fabian Nunez's Son Arrested in Murder Case
    The 19-year-old son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez has been arrested along with three others for the stabbing of a 22-year-old college student in San Diego. (Published Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008)

    She says Schwarzenegger called her to apologize.

    “He called after he had seen my comments and he said that he regretted not having contacted me as the District Attorney as well as the family,” said Dumanis.

    But he didn’t apologize for his decision to commute the sentence.

    “I said we would agree to disagree on this whole thing. I think everybody knows how I feel and we’re going to see what we can do to turn that around,” said Dumanis.

    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.