Stanley Z. Fisher

Professor of Law Emeritus

B.A., Oberlin College
J.D., Yale University

  • Office Room 980F
  • Phone 617-353-3124

After starting out teaching law in Ethiopia, where his book Ethiopian Criminal Procedure still serves as major teaching text, Stanley Fisher came to Boston University in 1968. On sabbatical leaves, he practiced in the Boston area as a juvenile defender, a prosecutor and a public defender. These experiences provided the foundation for his teaching and research interests: prosecutorial ethics and miscarriages of justice. He has been particularly concerned with the effect of faulty eyewitness identification procedures and of police and prosecution suppression of exculpatory evidence on wrongful convictions.

“The DNA exonerations of more than 300 prisoners and the similar rash of exonerations of innocent men and women on America’s death rows have forced us to question our faith in the reliability of criminal convictions in our system,” he says. In 2000, Professor Fisher helped found the New England Innocence Project, on whose board he serves as trustee. NEIP uses law students and criminal defense lawyers to investigate and litigate claims of innocence by prisoners who might be exonerated by DNA testing. BU Law students have worked on NEIP cases as summer interns or under Professor Fisher’s supervision when enrolled in his Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

Widely published in the field of criminal procedure, Professor Fisher also has studied the criminal justice system in Great Britain. In April, 2002, the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment used his British research in framing recommendations for fundamental reform of police and prosecutorial conduct of investigations. At BU Law, Professor Fisher, who also has co-edited Massachusetts Criminal Practice, has taught courses in criminal procedure, criminal law and wrongful convictions. “I have been committed to teaching in the Criminal Clinic, as well, because I think it’s important that students learn through experience,” he says. In 2003, the Massachusetts public defender agency gave Professor Fisher the Thurgood Marshall Award for his service “as a champion of zealous defense of the poor.” In 2003-04, he taught law at the University of Asmara, in Eritrea.

  1. Stanley Fisher, "50 Years of Legal Education in Ethiopia: A Memoir," 26 Journal of Ethiopian Law 191 (2015).
  2. Stanley Fisher, "Eyewitness Identification Reform in Massachusetts," 91 Massachusetts Law Review 52 (2008).
    SSRN | Publisher
  3. Stanley Fisher & Ian K. McKenzie, "A Miscarriage of Justice in Massachusetts: Eyewitness Identification Procedures, Unrecorded Admissions, and a Comparison with English Law," 13 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal 1 (2003).
    Westlaw | SSRN | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  4. Stanley Fisher, "Convictions of Innocent Persons in Massachusetts: An Overview," 12 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal 1 (2002).
    Westlaw | SSRN | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  5. Stanley Fisher, "The Prosecutor's Ethical Duty to Seek Exculpatory Evidence in Police Hands: Lessons from England," in Symposium Ethics in Criminal Advocacy, 68 Fordham Law Review 1379 (2000).
    Westlaw | SSRN | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  6. Massachusetts Criminal Practice, 2d ed., Stanley Fisher, Eric D. Blumenson & Daniel Kanstroom, eds., Lexis Law Publishing (1998).
  7. Stanley Fisher, "Just the Facts, Ma'am: Lying and the Omission of the Exculpatory Evidence in the Police Reports," 28 New England Law Review 1 (1993).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  8. Stanley Fisher, "Zealousness and 'Overzealousness': Making Sense of the Prosecutor's Duty to Seek Justice," 22 The Prosecutor 9 (1989).
  9. Stanley Fisher, "In Search of the Virtuous Prosecutor: A Conceptual Framework," 15 American Journal of Criminal Law 197 (1988).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  10. Stanley Fisher, "Ethics and Client Relations," in Representing Children in Juvenile Delinquency Charges 23, MCLE (1986).
  11. Stanley Fisher, "Parents' Rights and Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: A Review of Before the Best Interests of the Child," review of Joseph Goldstein, Before the Best Interests of the Child, Free Press (1980), 1981 American Bar Foundation Research Journal 835 (1981). HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  12. Stanley Fisher & IJA-ABA Joint Commission on Juvenile Justice Standards, Standards Relating to Pre-Trial Court Proceedings, Ballinger (1980).
  13. Stanley Fisher, "Families with Service Needs -- The Newest Euphemism?" 18 Journal of Family Law 1 (1979).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  14. Stanley Fisher, "The Juvenile Justice System -- An Overview," in Juvenile Advocacy 1, 145, MCLE (1979).
  15. Stanley Fisher, "The Right to Treatment of Adolescents in Institutions," in The Rights of Adolescents in the Mental Health System 233, John Wilson, ed., Lexington Books (1978).
  16. Stanley Fisher, "The Disposition Process Under the Juvenile Justice Standards Project," 57 Boston University Law Review 732 (1977).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  17. Stanley Fisher, "The Juvenile Justice System -- An Overview," in Juvenile Law Practice , MCLE (1977).
  18. Stanley Fisher, "The Standards' Recommendations on Dispositions: A Panel Discussion," 57 Boston University Law Review 754 (1977).
  19. Stanley Fisher, "The Victim's Role in Criminal Prosecutions in Ethiopia," in Victimology: A New Focus 73, Israel Drapkin & Emilio Viano, eds., Lexington Books (1975). Paper presented to the First International Symposium on Victimology, Jerusalem, 1973.
  20. Stanley Fisher, "Criminal Liability for Negligent Conduct in the United States," in Law in the United States of America in Social and Technological Revolution 569, John N. Hazard & Wenceslas Wagner, eds., Emile Bruylant (1974).
  21. Stanley Fisher, review of Yash P. Ghai & J. Patrick McAuslan, Public Law and Political Change in Kenya: A Study Framework of Government from Colonial Times to the Present, Oxford University Press (1970), 5 The International Journal of African Historical Studies 132 (1972).
  22. Stanley Fisher, "Traditional Criminal Procedure in Ethiopia," 19 American Journal of Comparative Law 709 (1971).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  23. Stanley Fisher, "Criminal Procedure for Juvenile Offenders in Ethiopia," 7 Journal of Ethiopian Law 115 (1970).
  24. Stanley Fisher, Ethiopian Criminal Procedure: A Sourcebook, Oxford University Press (1969).
  25. Stanley Fisher & Fassil Abebe, "Language and Law in Ethiopia," 5 Journal of Ethiopian Law 553 (1968).
  26. Stanley Fisher, "Law Development and Reform in Ethiopia," Balance and the Sword 25 (1968).
  27. Stanley Fisher, "Involuntary Confessions and Article 35, Criminal Procedure Code," 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law 330 (1966).
  28. Stanley Fisher, review of Steven Lowenstein, Materials for the Study of Penal Law in Ethiopia, Oxford University Press (1965) and Philippe Graven, An Introduction to Ethiopian Penal Law, Oxford University Press (1965), 1966 Liberian Law Journal 71 (1966).
  29. Stanley Fisher, review of H. L. A. Hart, The Morality of the Criminal Law, Oxford University Press (1965), 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law 645 (1966).
  30. Stanley Fisher, "Some Aspects of Ethiopian Arrest Law: The Eclectic Approach to Codification," 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law 463 (1966).
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