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A Sixth Sense About Criminal Trials

Publication Date: 
March 23, 2007
ABA Journal E-Report
Richard Brust

Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher, a leading Supreme Court litigator and nationally recognized expert on criminal procedure, is profiled in this article. He is quoted as follows:

"I sometimes joke that I made Crawford a full employment act for myself," says Fisher, who joined Stanford last year to help direct the school’s Supreme Court litigation clinic.

“Someone said to me, ‘Isn’t it crazy that Scalia writes all your opinions?’ But that’s the way I wrote the arguments,” says Fisher, who co-chairs the amicus committee for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. A former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens, Fisher worked at Seattle-based Davis Wright Tremaine, where he still is a partner.

“Balancing tests are great if the judiciary shares your values,” Fisher says. “As soon as the judiciary doesn’t share your values, you need hard-and-fast rules.” Courts, including the Supreme Court, increasingly have favored the prosecution through the 1980s and ’90s, says Fisher. “Most federal judges come from the prosecution side,” he says.