Ex-Assembly Speaker’s Son Gets Early Prison Release

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The son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez will be released on parole in Sacramento after serving less than six years for a manslaughter charge for which he was originally sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Just before Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger left office, he shortened the sentence of Esteban Nunez to seven years. He said at the time that the sentence was too harsh and that one of Nunez's friends who was also sentenced to 16 years delivered the killing blow in a drunken knife attack.

Twenty-two-year-old college student Luis Santos, who was unarmed, was killed.

Schwarzenegger admitted that he did his political ally a favor. And Fabian Nunez, who worked closely with Schwarzenegger was unapologetic about asking for the reduced sentence for his son.

"It's frustrating...two men can make up their rules so one of their murdering kids can get off the hook," said the victim's mother Kathy Santos.

Nina Salerno of Crime Victims United said the situation, which the courts said was legal, smacks of political cronyism and sends a bad message.

"If you have political connections as Mr. Nunez has, you can basically get away with murder," said Salerno.

A civil settlement requires Nunez to make payments over an unspecified time frame. The family's civil attorney Stephen Espey said it was also filed to get an explanation of Esteban's actions put on the record.

"He came down to San Diego as a punk, a thug...he brought knives, they brought knives with the intention of doing harm to someone," said Espey.

The Nunez family released a statement saying that Esteban has paid his debt to society and is working to become a better person. He ended up serving less than six years in prison after good time credits and good behavior. Now 27 years-old, Nunez will spend 3 years on parole in the Sacramento area.

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