Stanley Z. Fisher

Stanley Z. Fisher

Professor of Law Emeritus


BA, Oberlin College
JD, Yale University


Biography

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 to 2004, he taught law at the University of Asmara, in Eritrea.

Publications

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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, 50 Years of Legal Education in Ethiopia: A Memoir 26 Journal of Ethiopian Law (2014)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Eyewitness Identification Reform in Massachusetts 91 Massachusetts Law Review (2008)
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  • Stanley Z. 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 (2003)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Convictions of Innocent Persons in Massachusetts: An Overview 12 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal (2002)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Eric D. Blumenson & Dan Kanstroom, Massachusetts Criminal Practice, 2nd ed. (1998)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Just the Facts, Ma'am: Lying and the Omission of Exculpatory Evidence in Police Reports, 28 New England Law Review (1993)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Zealousness and 'Overzealousness': Making Sense of the Prosecutor's Duty to Seek Justice 22 Prosecutor (1989)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, In Search of the Virtuous Prosecutor: A Conceptual Framework 15 American Journal of Criminal Law (1988)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Ethics and Client Relations Representing Children in Juvenile Delinquency Charges (1986)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Parents' Rights and Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: A Review of before the Best Interests of the Child 1981 American Bar Foundation Research Journal (1981)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Standards Relating to Pretrial Court Proceedings (1980)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Families with Service Needs: The Newest Euphemism 18 Journal of Family Law (1979)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, The Juvenile Justice System -- An Overview, in 1 Juvenile Advocacy (1979)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, The Right to Treatment of Adolescents in Institutions, in The Rights of Adolescents in the Mental Health System (John P Wilson,1978)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, The Disposition Process under the Juveniles Justice Standards Project 57 Boston University Law Review (1977)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, The Standards' Recommendations on Dispositions: A Panel Discussion Panel Discussion 57 Boston University Law Review (1977)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, The Victim's Role in Criminal Prosecutions in Ethiopia, in Victimology: A New Focus, Volume III: Crimes, Victims, and Justice (Israel Drapkin & Emilio Viano,1975)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Criminal Liability for Negligent Conduct in the United States 22 The American Journal of Comparative Law (1974)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Traditional Criminal Procedure in Ethiopia 19 American Journal of Comparative Law (1971)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Criminal Procedure for Juvenile Offenders in Ethiopia 7 Journal of Ethiopian Law (1970)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Ethiopian Criminal Procedure: a Sourcebook (1969)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Law Development and Reform in Ethiopia Balance and the Sword (1968)
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  • Fassil Abebe & Stanley Z. Fisher, Language and Law in Ethiopia 5 Journal of Ethiopian Law (1968)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Review of H.L.A. Hart, The Morality of the Criminal Law, Oxford University Press (1965) 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law (1966) (book review)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Some Aspects of Ethiopian Arrest Law: The Eclectic Approach to Codification 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law (1966)
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  • Stanley Z. Fisher, Involuntary Confessions and Article 35, Criminal Procedure Code 3 Journal of Ethiopian Law (1966)
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