Goldstein died at his home in Woodbridge on Saturday after a heart attack, the university said. He was 80.
Born in Manhattan, Goldstein attended high school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and graduated from City College with a degree in economics. He received his LL.B from Yale Law School in 1949.
He joined the Yale faculty in 1956 after building a reputation as a trial lawyer in Washington. He was named the law school's 11th dean in 1970, but returned to full-time teaching five years later.
In World War II, he worked in military intelligence after serving as a demolition man in the Army and a military policeman. After college, Goldstein clerked for Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.
Goldstein joined the Washington firm of Donohue & Kaufmann and worked his way up to partner while litigating civil and criminal cases.
He wrote three books including "The Insanity Defense," "The Passive Judiciary: Prosecutorial Discretion and the Guilty Plea" and, with Leonard Orland, "Criminal Procedure."
He is survived by his second wife, Sarah Poleyeff Goldstein, his two children, a brother, three stepdaughters and six grandchildren. His first wife, Ruth Tessler Goldstein, died in 1989 after 41 years of marriage.