Santos family speaks on eve of court hearing - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Santos family speaks on eve of court hearing

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The parents of slain Mesa College student Luis Santos finally get their day in court Wednesday regarding a lawsuit they filed against former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fred and Kathy Santos say their constitutional rights were violated when Schwarzenegger commuted Esteban Nunez's 16-year sentence for the fatal stabbing.

Fred Santos is hoping to get justice for his 22-year-old son Luis two and a half years after his life was cut short during a street brawl on the SDSU campus.

"We have the support of the legal community and the majority of the people in California, so we feel good about that," he said.

He's speaking about the family's lawsuit against the ex-governor centering on the eleventh-hour commutation of Esteban Nunez's sentence from 16 years to seven as a political favor to Esteban's father Fabian, a former assembly speaker and Schwarzenegger's close friend.

"We are very confident about our chances in court because Marcy's Law does clearly state that victims now really have rights, constitutional rights," Fred Santos said.

However, a state supervising attorney general says ballot arguments for the initiative were silent on the issue of gubernatorial authority. Luis Santos's mother Kathy believes the court will accept voter intent as a strong argument for their position.

"People believe that the governor can do whatever they want to do, but in California, because of Marcy's Law, we're questioning that, and I think we have a very strong case," Kathy Santos said.

Schwarzenegger's admission he made the decision to help his political crony only fueled the Santos family's frustration. It's made them more determined to get the reduced sentence overturned through the justice system. They've appreciated public support.

"Both my family and our attorneys are ready to go all the way to Supreme Court if we have to," Fred Santos said.

"We just would like to thank the public for their interest and their concern, the San Diego community has just been amazing, and we'd just like to continue to ask people for their support and their prayers," Kathy Santos said.

News 8 will have complete coverage of Wednesday's hearing from Sacramento. In the meantime, legislation is pending in the state Senate that would require those requesting commutations to notify prosecutors when they appeal to a governor for shorter sentences.

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