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Schwarzenegger Commutation Decision Challenged

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 11:55am

A lawsuit that seeks to overturn a controversial sentence commutation by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is moving forward after a judge declined to throw the case out Monday.

Just before leaving office, Schwarzenegger reduced the sentence of Esteban Nunez for his involvement in a stabbing death. Schwarzenegger worked closely with Esteban’s father, former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

Nina Salarno Ashford with the group Crime Victims United is representing the victim’s family. She says under a voter-approved initiative called Marsy’s Law, Schwarzenegger should have notified the family before commuting the sentence. “Not only do they have the right to be notified, they have the right to be heard, they have the right to dignity and respect, they have the right to have their safety considered–all of these which the former governor did not adhere to,” she said.

Fabian Nunez attended the hearing. Afterwards, he said Marsy’s Law leaves the governor’s long-standing power to commute sentences untouched–and therefore, Schwarzenegger’s action was legal.

The former speaker also angered the victim’s family by saying the case against his son was politically motivated.

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