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Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a…

Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers…

by Barry Siegel

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3410329,500 (3.86)10
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a very well researched book but hard to read. The story of how Bill Macomber was convicted of the murders of two teenagers with no evidence or witnesses against him except for his estranged wife saying that she remembered that Bill confessed to her TEN YEARS earlier made me cringe. The author doesn't explicitly say that Bill didn't do it but definitely left me thinking that there was more than a reasonable doubt of his guilt. It was fascinating to read about the Arizona Justice Project and everything that went into Bill's appeal. The book got a little long and detailed at times but still worth a read. It made me angry, sad, frustrated and hopeful. This book would make a great documentary film. ( )
  walterqchocobo | Jan 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
How would you react if you had spent 38 years of your life in prison for a crime you hadn't committed losing contact with your growing children as a result?

In 1974 Bill Macomber was convicted of the murders of two teenagers in 1962 on evidence that apparently was planted by his estranged wife who worked in the Sheriff's office at the time of his conviction.
This book tells the story of the efforts of Project Justice to free Mr. Macomber who throughout his incarceration, was a model inmate inspiring others by his spirit and appreciation of those who fought for him.

I'm so glad that I go to read this book, but wonder how our system could continue to lock up this man when so many believed him innocent and the suspect evidence had "disappeared". Many questions arose from this book as to whether justice can truly be found.

I believe that Mr. Macomber's story should be mandatory reading for all law students so that they will understand that there are innocent people that do get convicted and that all efforts should be made to prevent this from happening in the future.

The politics involved in his release truly astounded me. ( )
  cyderry | May 28, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I had high hopes for this book, unfortunately I was slightly disappointed.

I usually enjoy reading books of this nature, but I had a little issue with how long this book really is. It dragged in places and I found myself skimming more than I should have been.

It wasn't necessarily a bad book by any means, but it would have been a lot better had it been much shorter. ( )
  tarablythe | May 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Though it is not fair to judge a book by a reader's taste in subject matter, I guess I am doing just that. I found the book to be overly wordy and hard to follow much of the time. I could have been just as informed of the facts in a one hour true crime show on television or a news article. If anyone has read a lengthy review of the book that has been previously written they can pretty much forget about reading the book itself. ( )
  lillituth | Apr 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 1962 a brutal double murder was committed in the desert outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. There were no witnesses, in spite of the fact that this was a popular area for locals to hang out, light a bonfire, smoke and drink a little. The bodies were found the next day after children riding by on a bus noticed them sprawled next to a car. Law enforcement responded and gathered was little evidence was available - a hand print, a tuft of hair, and some tire tracks. They asked the public for any information they may have about this tragedy and offered a reward. One young lady went to the police and described the evening she spent driving around with a man she knew only as "Ernie" and another young woman, "Terry", and two other men. She told them how she saw Ernie get out of the car, approach another vehicle, take a gun and shoot the other driver, and the woman who ran out of the passenger side. At some point two different attorney's contacted local law enforcement to let them know that they each had a client (the same, as it turns out) who confessed to the double murder at different times. His name was Ernesto. In spite of all this, nothing was done to find this man and determine what, if anything, he had to with the murders.

Fast forward a decade or so. There have been no arrests in the interim, no follow up, nothing. This is when we first meet Bill Macumber. He is a family man, a father to three boys, a Little League, Cub Scouts kind of dad. He is well respected in the community. He and his father run a gas station and their work ethics are above approach. He is married to Carol who works for the Sheriff's Department as a clerk, first in the Records area, then for the Detectives unit. Their marriage has been rocky for awhile and now they are headed for divorce. Carol moves out. There are rumors (denied, but ultimately true) that Carol has been having affairs with several of the detectives, as a matter of fact she has been told she can no longer go on 'ride-alongs' or go to training days because of these affairs. The divorce between Bill and Carol was amicable but turns nasty when the subject of who gets custody of the boys is discussed. One day Bill is standing in his kitchen and a bullet tears through the window. It misses him, but not by much. He has a pretty good idea who fired at him and tells the responding officer that it was probably Carol. It's at this point that Carol "remembers" Bill confessing to murdering the young couple that night in 1962. There is no proof, no eyewitness, no evidence that Bill was even in the area that night. Nothing but the word of Carol. After a trial rife with supposition, lies, half-truths, and the sudden appearance of "incontrovertible" evidence, Bill is inexplicably sentenced to life in prison.

And so begins the frustrating, troubling, and nearly four decade long struggle for Bill, his steadfast family, and his various legal teams to resolve this issue. There are multiple instances that prove his innocence that seem to have been overlooked by both the prosecution and the original defense: Carol insists that Bill provided information that only the killer would know, yet she would have access to the information while working in the Detective unit, the palm print was deemed unusable only weeks after the murder, yet "undeniably" belonged to Bill a decade later, and the confessions of Ernesto (who conveniently was killed in prison) matched every circumstance of the murder, yet it was Bill who was arrested, tried, and convicted.

Justice can be a fickle business. When you think that no one could believe a certain thing, they do. Justice can also move at the pace of a glacier. Week after month after year, the Arizona Justice Project worked tirelessly for Bill. They talked again and again to everyone connected with the case. Many would not help, many could not remember. Carol steadfastly maintained her story in spite of the ludicrous aspects. This is the story of how tenacity, hope, hard work, and a concession of foregone lie can change a life. The subtitle is: "The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Want Him Freed". This speaks to an ending that hasn't been determined, but, rest assured, it has. Reading the story of Bill will anger you and you will find it disheartening. You will also find it uplifting and appreciate true justice just a little more. Perhaps we won't be so quick to judge the innocence or guilt of someone next time. ( )
  TheFlamingoReads | Apr 1, 2013 |
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To my father, who showed me the way. With much love and admiration.
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On June 10, 1998, in the Arizona State Prison at Douglas, an isolated border town in the far southeast corner of Arizona, a fellow inmate handed Bill Macumber an article from that day's newspaper.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805094156, Hardcover)

In this remarkable legal page-turner, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Barry Siegel recounts the dramatic, decades-long saga of Bill Macumber, imprisoned for thirty-eight years for a double homicide he denies committing. In the spring of 1962, a school bus full of students stumbled across a mysterious crime scene on an isolated stretch of Arizona desert: an abandoned car and two bodies. This brutal murder of a young couple bewildered the sheriff ’s department of Maricopa County for years. Despite a few promising leads—including several chilling confessions from Ernest Valenzuela, a violent repeat offender—the case went cold. More than a decade later, a clerk in the sheriff ’s department, Carol Macumber, came forward to tell police that her estranged husband had confessed to the murders. Though the evidence linking Bill Macumber to the incident was questionable, he was arrested and charged with the crime. During his trial, the judge refused to allow the confession of now-deceased Ernest Valenzuela to be admitted as evidence in part because of the attorney-client privilege. Bill Macumber was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

The case, rife with extraordinary irregularities, attracted the sustained involvement of the Arizona Justice Project, one of the first and most respected of the non-profit groups that represent victims of manifest injustice across the country. With more twists and turns than a Hollywood movie, Macumber’s story illuminates startling, upsetting truths about our justice system, which kept a possibly innocent man locked up for almost forty years, and introduces readers to the generations of dedicated lawyers who never stopped working on his behalf, lawyers who ultimately achieved stunning results. With precise journalistic detail, intimate access and masterly storytelling, Barry Siegel will change your understanding of American jurisprudence, police procedure, and what constitutes justice in our country today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)

The legal drama of a man who'd spent almost forty years in prison for murders he denied committing and the tenacious lawyers who believed in his innocence.

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