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State clemency chairman resigns after misconduct allegations

An investigation has found some possible wrongdoing at the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.

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.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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