Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I am sad to report the death of my longtime friend and colleague, Fred Zacharias. Fred's work was known to many criminal law and procedure types because of his interest in prosecutorial ethics and his early empirical work on how lawyer-client confidentiality impacts the lawyer-client relationship, particularly important in criminal matters. More generally, as Georgetown Professor David Luban says in Fred's obit, Fred "was one of the finest legal ethics scholars in the United States, a genuine leader in the field. He was also a wise and generous colleague."
Fred was old school in the good ways--not resistant to new ideas, but confident that the time-tested path of diligence and open inquiry was the route to professorial success. He rose early in the morning even before classes he had taught many times to review his materials so that he could be ready to follow whatever tack his students pursued that day. He kept his nose to the scholarly grindstone because that was the job he had agreed to do.
The last time I played basketball was with Fred. I had "retired" from the sport a couple of years earlier, to the appreciation of my knees and back, but Fred, with whom I had often played in the past, decided to offer up a three-on-three, faculty-against-student game for San Diego's annual Women's Law Caucus auction. The winning students were, as usual, a tall, athletic group looking forward to running circles around and jumping over the faculty pigeons (rounded out by CrimProf's own Larry Alexander). To their surprise--because they probably hadn't seen a pick-and-roll before--we screened ourselves to victory. We limped for weeks afterwards, but it was worth it.