Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was absolved of charges that he abused executive powers when he commuted the sentence of a political ally's son. On his last day of office, Schwarzenegger reduced Esteban Nunez's sentence for voluntary manslaughter from 16 years to seven. Nunez, the son of one time California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the 2008 stabbing of Luis Santos.
Sacramento superior court Judge Lloyd Connelly may have found Schwarzenegger innocent, but he didn't exactly shy away from his feelings on the matter, calling Kindergarten Cop's decision "repugnant to the bulk of the citizenry of this state." He added:
"It's a discretionary right," Connelly said of the governor's power to commute sentences. He added that the people, through the state constitution, have given the governor the right "to make decisions outside the normal criminal justice process."
The Santos family is, of course, pretty pissed.
"They defended a backroom deal," Kathy Santos told reporters outside the courtroom. "They got away with it for today. Where's the justice for our son? He was murdered. Two conniving politicians got away with it."
Santos's attorneys argued that Schwarzenegger violated a state law by not notifying the victim's family within 10 days of commuting a sentence. Judge Connelly seemed to agree that was a dick move, but not so much so that it broke the law, which apparently only applies to full pardons. As Connelly awesomely noted, a commuted sentence and a pardon are "as different as a horse and an elephant."
No matter what side you're on for this particular case, I think we can all agree court cases need more animal similes.
[Image via AP]