State clemency chairman resigns after misconduct allegations
This after Board Chairman Jesse Hernandez abruptly quit on August 16th.
A report by the Arizona Department of Investigation says Hernandez dated a department employee and gave her a $21-thousand dollar pay raise, even though she wasn't qualified for the job. It also says he "Oogled" women as they walked by him at the office.
The Board that Hernandez chaired considers parole for inmates. The report says that Hernandez tried unsuccessfully to have the sentenced reduced for former Phoenix Suns star Amar'e Stoudamire's half brother, after he bragged about having lunch with the basketball player and getting free tickets from him. The half brother, Marwan Williams, is serving a 9-year sentence for a 2007 armed robbery.
After the report was released, Governor Jan Brewer's Office took action. "The Governor's Office made it clear to Mr. Hernandez that his conduct as Chairman was unacceptable. Mr. Hernandez recognized that and resigned. Governor Brewer welcomed his resignation," said Andrew Wilder, a Spokesman for the Governor.
Why Hernandez was even in the position in the first place is also being called into question. The "Arizona Republic" claims that Governor Brewer fired the previous Chairman, who had 20 years experience, and appointed Hernandez, who has no experience.
In an interview with KTAR, Wilder defended the Governor's appointment of Hernandez. "The nomination and confirmation were done openly and publicly at the time," Wilder said. When we asked Wilder why the possibly inexperienced Hernandez appealed to the Governor, Wilder replied "I don't have any information on that."
There's no word yet on whether any criminal charges will be filed in the case.
Bob McClay, Reporter