Q: Is Esteban Nuñez, son of former legislator Fabian Nuñez, stil in prison? Where has he done his time?
Lilly K., Carmichael
A: Esteban Nuñez, son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, was released from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione in April 2016, according to a story in The Sacramento Bee.
Esteban Nuñez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other charges stemming from the stabbing death of a Mesa College student, Luis Santos, after Esteban Nuñez and his friends had been turned away from a party near the San Diego State University campus Oct. 4, 2008. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger subsequently granted a clemency application to reduce the sentence to seven years. The governor’s executive order was signed Dec. 30, 2010, but it was not announced until hours before he left office Jan. 2, 2011. The action to reduce the prison term was taken without notifying the prosecutors and victims of the crime.
The San Diego district attorney challenged the commutation on behalf of the state and three surviving victims of the attack, and Santos’ parents filed a related lawsuit.
In September 2012, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled in Schwarzenegger’s favor, finding that the California statute known as the Victim’s Bill of Rights does not apply to clemency proceedings.
The plaintiffs appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, and on June 2, 2015, a three-justice panel of that court upheld Connelly’s decision.