Dear Friends and Supporters:
We send you Happy New Year wishes, and hope your holiday season was peaceful and provided you and yours an opportunity to reflect on all of the good in your lives and your plans for a productive year ahead.
Much has happened in the legal case since the website was last updated; we're working hard to update all of the sections, but as the old saying goes, "Man plans, God laughs"........that has certainly been the situation at this end, as we're sure it is for everyone. Hopefully, the updates will continue through the month- so please check back for updates if you have a moment in the next few weeks!
The most important news to share is that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the case once more (after remanding it to back to the District Court Judge (Fox) for an evidentiary hearing on all of the evidence amassed since 1970, and a decision). The hearing was in Sept 2012, Judge Fox's decision came 3 years later. He denied any relief and denied us a Certificate of Appealability (COA) which is standardly issued by federal judges in the event one plans to appeal.
Therefore, our lawyers (Joe Zseszotarski and Hart Miles) first had to brief the court as to why the COA should be granted. Then “informal briefs” were submitted: The defense argued that Judge Fox did not do what the Fourth Circuit had ordered him to do: Review all of the evidence as a whole, and evaluate
it as “a reasonable juror” would. The government argued the opposite.
In April of 2016, the Fourth Circuit two consecutive Orders: The first granting the defense a COA, the second accepting the case on appeal and outlining a briefing schedule.
Our lawyers have been in full gear, providing the Circuit Court with detailed, truthful and powerful briefs, as the government submitted it's response.
Interestingly, for the first time in the past forty years, the work involved in writing the briefs and handling the case in chief fell to AUSA John Bruce (Eastern District of North Carolina) rather than DOJ prosecutor Brian Murtagh. For reasons unknown to us, Murtagh, who since 1970, expended his entire career basically “personally handling” the “MacDonald Case”, withdrew last summer.
In the fall, The Fourth Circuit ordered “Oral Arguments” which will be held January 26 of this month at 8:30 AM in Richmond, VA. This is an opportunity for Joe Zseszotarski and John Bruce to address a panel of three judges in person. The proceedings are open to the public and each case is permitted a 40-minute presentation.
Then, the judges will convene and decide, what we believe will be, the just and right conclusion. It is a sobering feeling to know that your very life is in the hands of others, but we are confident that Joe will speak for us with courage and humanity and the Court will respond in kind.
In the coming weeks, there will be several opportunities for folks- those who are new to the case, and those who may have thought they already “knew” the case.....to watch and read information both old and new which is ripe for evaluation by the public as well as the Court.
Please check back for exact dates and times regarding People Magazine's cover story (slated for January 20th) and “People Magazine Investigates”..an hour long program on Discovery ID (January 9, 10 PM EST). There will also be a 30 minute "After Show" Panel which can be seen on www.people.com at 11 PM following the Discovery program, and several social media venues providing interviews and new evidence that has come to light even after the final briefs were filed.
As always, we thank you for your interest and support and always keep in mind that “The Truth Matters”.
Jeff and Kathryn MacDonald
JIMMY B. BRITT
September 25, 1938 - October 19, 2008
His strength and integrity will never be forgotten
Learn more about the career of Mr. Britt
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Schopenhauer