Macumber was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1962 murder of a couple in the desert. Most of the "evidence" against him came from his own wife, whom he was in the process of divorcing. The jury heard nothing of the individual who confessed the murders (to a lawyer and future judge, a second lawyer and a psychiatrist) just five years afterward.
Liptak notes, "It is possible that politics played a role in her decision; Ms. Brewer, a Republican who became governor last year, is running for a full term in November." This sentiment is shared by a lawyer with the Arizona Justice Project (Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University), which has represented Mr. Macumber for a decade now. P.S. Ruckman, Jr. notes:
“Common-sense notions of justice should compel a governor to provide an explanation for imprisoning a man deemed innocent by an official board created to make such judgments ... You don’t imprison a man for no reason.”In fairness, it should be noted that a "spokesman" for the governor does assure all that "every" clemency application is "carefully scrutinized" and that Governor Brewer "balances the very real and important concepts of public safety, justice and mercy.” Liptak notes Macumber is "in failing health, with heart problems and arthritis, and the threat he poses to public safety is not obvious." See complete story here. Read more about the case here.