SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Sacramento County superior court judge ruled Friday that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t break any laws when he cut the manslaughter sentence for the son of a political ally just hours before leaving office last year.

Judge Lloyd Connelly called Schwarzenegger’s decision to reduce Esteban Nunez’s sentence from 16 years to seven years distasteful and “repugnant to the bulk of the citizenry of this state,” but within his executive powers as governor. Nunez is the son of the governor’s onetime political ally, former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

Esteban Nunez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a 2008 attack on an unarmed group of young men after he and some friends were turned away from a fraternity party in San Diego. Three others pleaded guilty to various charges in the attack that killed 22-year-old college student Luis Santos.

Santos’ family and the San Diego district attorney sued, claiming that Schwarzenegger violated the voter-approved Marsy’s Law, which requires families be notified about cases involving their loved ones.

“The attorney general’s office fought for corruption, and they won,” said Kathy Santos, Luis’ mother, outside court. “Two conniving politicians got away with it.”

The family said they want the reduced sentence for Nunez thrown out.

Connelly sided with the attorney general’s office in ruling that Marsy’s Law does not specifically address the governor’s power of pardons and commutations, which may have been an oversight when it was drafted.

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said her office will appeal the judge’s decision. The Santos family said they were considering their options.

Schwarzenegger said in his commutation notice that he believed the sentence was excessive given Nunez’s “limited role in the killing.” He said evidence showed that Nunez’s friend delivered the fatal blow, yet both men received the same 16-year-sentence.