Five former members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency say they were pressured by a top aide to Gov. Jan Brewer to deny requests for relief from those in high-profile cases, reports Capitol Media Services. In an affidavit, former Chairman Jesse Hernandez said he was called into several “come to Jesus” meetings by Scott Smith, Brewer's chief of staff. Smith told him the governor did not want a repeat of two situations when the board had recommended clemency that she then rejected.
“I immediately understood this to mean that Governor Brewer was directing me not to recommend clemency in high-profile cases,” Hernandez wrote. Four other former board members — three who were replaced and a fourth who, like Hernandez, later quit — made similar complaints. Some contended Brewer refused to reappoint them because they had supported earlier clemency efforts. The filings came in a lawsuit filed in a bid to stop the Oct. 9 execution of convicted murdered Edward Schad.