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Misconduct Report: December 2014

Michael Fisher

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Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher.jpg
Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Philadelphia, PA
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   12/11/2003 - Present
Preceded by:   Carol Mansmann
Personal History
Born:   1944
Hometown:   Pittsburgh, PA
Undergraduate:   Georgetown, 1966
Law School:   Georgetown Law, 1969

Michael D. Fisher (b. 1944) is a federal judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fisher graduated from Georgetown with his bachelor's degree in 1966, and later from Georgetown University Law Center with his J.D. in 1969.[1]

Professional career

  • 1997-2003: State Attorney General, Pennsylvania
  • 1980-1996: Member, Pennsylvania Senate
  • 1974-1980: Member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • 1970-1997: Attorney in private practice, Pennsylvania
  • 1970-1974: Assistant district attorney, Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, Pennsylvania
  • 1969: Law clerk, private practice firm[1]

Judicial career

On the recommendation of Pennsylvania U.S. Senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter, Fisher was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, to a seat vacated by Carol Mansmann. Fisher was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2003, on a majority vote and received commission on December 11, 2003.[2]

Notable cases

Judges agree that non-fiction book about known affair isn't defamatory (2014)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Crecenz v. Penguin Group, Inc.; Capuzzo, 13-1242)

On March 26, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit, composed of Judges Fisher, Thomas Ambro, and Thomas Hardiman, ruled that a non-fiction book was not defamatory even though it addressed a married woman's affair with her boss.[3]

In the underlying case, Penguin Group published a book written by Michael Capuzzo called "The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases," in August 2010. The book recounted the work of the Vidocq Society, a Philadelphia-based forensic group, and its founding member, Frank Bender. Bender's assistant, Joan Crecenz, filed a lawsuit in 2011, alleging that she was defamed and suffered false light invasion of privacy as a result of Capuzzo's "reckless casting" of her as one of her boss's "girlfriends." During the course of the litigation, however, additional facts were disclosed concerning Crecenz's sexual relationship with Bender, and Judge Noel Hillman of the District of New Jersey awarded summary judgment to Penguin Group and Capuzzo.[3]

Crecenz appealed to the Third Circuit, which affirmed the ruling. Judge Hardiman, on behalf of the majority, wrote:[3]

[W]e agree with the District Court that summary judgment is appropriate because Capuzzo possessed overwhelming evidence of a sexual relationship between Bender and Crescenz, and because Crescenz has failed to refute that evidence. Even if a jury could credit Crescenz’s testimony and find the allegations of a sexual relationship false, no reasonable jury could find that Capuzzo was negligent in ascertaining the truth of his statements. Accordingly, the District Court did not err in granting summary judgment to Capuzzo on Crescenz’s defamation claim.[4]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Carol Mansmann
Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: