SAN DIEGO -- The family of a college student fatally stabbing during a fight at San Diego State University filed suit Thursday against former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who cut the prison sentence for one of the defendants from 16 to seven years.
The suit was filed in Sacramento Superior Court against Schwarzenegger and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation by the advocacy group Crime Victims United of California on behalf of the family of Luis Santos, a 22-year-old Mesa College student who was killed Oct. 4, 2008.
The lawsuit claims Schwarzenegger violated the family's constitutional rights under Marsy's Law by illegally commuting the sentence for Esteban Nunez on the governor's last day in office.
Nunez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, was one of four men charged in Santos' death and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault.
Defense attorney Brad Patton said Nunez's sentence was too harsh and Schwarzenegger's commutation corrected an injustice.
But Luis Santos' mother, Kathy -- who lives in Concord -- said Schwarzenegger's action was strictly a political act.
Schwarzenegger, in reducing Nunez's sentence, said the defendant should have received a lesser term than co-defendant Ryan Jett, whom prosecutors said inflicted the fatal wound.
Ryan pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Marsy's Law, passed by voters in 2008, gives crime victims greater rights to be involved in the cases that affect them, including being notified of sentencing and parole hearings.
The Santos family said it was never notified that Nunez's sentence was being commuted and found out in the news.