Justice Steven W. Fisher was born on May 19, 1946 in Manhattan and lived most of his life in Queens. He studied physics at Queens College, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1968, then studied nuclear engineering at the University of Florida before earning his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1972. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn from 1972 to 1976. He was a founding partner of Rhodes, Baker & Fisher, where he worked in private practice. Then, from 1979 to 1983, he held the position of principal law clerk to Presiding Justice Milton Mollen at the Second Department.
Fisher joined the bench in 1983 when Mayor Koch appointed him to the Criminal Court in Manhattan. He was an acting Supreme Court justice until his election to the Supreme Court in 1993. From 1998 to 2004, he also held the position of administrative judge of the Queens Supreme Court. Between 2000 and 2003, Justice Fisher presided over the trial of two men for the murders of five employees at a Wendy’s restaurant in Queens, and sentenced one of the defendants in this case, John B. Taylor, to the death penalty. He was the last New York judge to impose this sentence, which was later vacated after the Court of Appeals declared New York’s death penalty unconstitutional in 2004. Fisher was designated by Gov. Pataki as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department in 2004.
He was married to Judith Karen Schall in 1969 and had two children, Carrie and Daniel, and three grandchildren. He died on December 18, 2010 in Queens at the age of 64.
Fass, Mark. “Steven W. Fisher, Trial and Appellate Judge, ‘Defied Labels.'” New York Law Journal 21 Dec. 2010, Obituary sec. Print.
Slotnik, Daniel E. “Steven W. Fisher, New York State Justice, Dies at 64.” The New York Times, 28 Dec. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/nyregion/29fisher.html.