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SD District Attorney Files Suit To Nullify Nunez Commutation

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San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has filed a civil lawsuit in Superior Court, seeking to nullify the Governor's commutation of Esteban Nunez' prison sentence.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has filed a civil lawsuit in Superior Court, seeking to nullify the Governor's commutation of Esteban Nunez' prison sentence.

On his last day in office, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted Nunez' 16 year prison sentence to seven years.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first-of-its kind in the nation filed by a District Attorney on behalf of the victims.

"We believe a governor who is considering a commutation has a constitutional duty, under Marsy's Law, to include the voices of victims," Dumanis said.

Nunez pleaded guilty to three felony charges in connection with his role in the assault on four young men, including Luis Santos who died as a result of the attack near San Diego State University.

The civil suit names the Governor of California, Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Warden of Mule Creek State Prison as defendants and respondents and Esteban Nunez as a real party of interest.

In the suit, the DA's Office argues that the Governor was constitutionally obligated to notify the victims of crime of his intent to commute a sentence and provide them with an opportunity to be heard. As a result of the Governor's failure to do that, the victims' constitutional rights were violated and the Governor's Executive Order commuting Nunez' sentence is void and unenforceable, the suit contends.

Kathy Santos said she's been victimized twice, once by her son's killers and the second time by a governor playing politics.

"Arnold feels good about it. He won't apologize for commuting the sentence," Santos said. "He feels just great about giving the killer a break because he knows his daddy. He disrespected the whole justice system all for a lucky killer with political connections so he can get out early and go do it again."

The Santos family has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state.

Nunez, along with a co-defendant, pleaded guilty in 2010 to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. The assault occurred during a fight near San Diego State University that left Luis Santos dead from knife wounds and three other victims injured.

Nunez' guilty plea was accepted by the court with no promises for leniency and he was sentenced to 16 years in state prison for his crimes.

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