Panel to Examine Jeffrey MacDonald Case, Former Green Beret Doctor Jailed for 1970 Murder of Pregnant Wife and Two Young Daughters

Legal Experts to Discuss Issues Raised by Recent Book on Eve of MacDonald’s Last Appeal

March 4, 2013

Touro Law Review will sponsor a panel, “Wrongful Conviction? The Trial of Jeffrey MacDonald for the Murder of His Wife and Daughters,” on Tuesday, March 5, 12:30 p.m. at Touro Law. Panelists, including Touro Law professors Richard Klein and Rodger Citron, and Huntington attorney Richard Cahn, who represented MacDonald’s wife’s parents, will discuss the facts and legal issues raised by the case, including preservation of evidence, the influence of time on the ability to prove a case, and the role and discretion of a trial judge. The event is timely, as what is likely to be MacDonald's final appeal is currently pending before a federal district court in North Carolina.

“This promises to be an informative and lively discussion,” said Dean Patricia Salkin. “Our students and faculty often have vigorous discussions about current legal topics and cases, and this is yet another example.”

In 1970, Jeffrey MacDonald's pregnant wife and two young daughters were brutally murdered in their North Carolina home. MacDonald, an Army Green Beret physician at the time, said they were murdered by a group of "hippie" intruders. In 1979, however, after a campaign led by Alfred and Mildred Kassab, parents of MacDonald’s late wife, MacDonald was tried and convicted for the murders. Despite numerous appeals, MacDonald has been in prison for the last 30 years, and continues to assert his innocence. The case has been controversial ever since the murders, as many believe that MacDonald was wrongly convicted. A number of books about the case, including Joe McGinniss' "Fatal Vision," have added to the controversy. The latest, Errol Morris' "A Wilderness of Error," argues that MacDonald did not receive a fair trial and strongly suggests that MacDonald was innocent. Morris' book has received substantial media attention, including favorable reviews in The New York Times and other publications.

Recently, Richard Cahn, the attorney who represented MacDonald's wife’s parents, provided his views on the case in a review of Morris' book in the Touro Law Review. As indicated by the title, "Errol Morris, ‘A Wilderness of Error’: Provocative but Unpersuasive," Cahn disagrees with Morris's conclusions and argues that MacDonald was properly convicted for the murders. Cahn’s book review can be accessed at

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning model for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 750 and an alumni base of more than 5,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

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