William A. Fletcher

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For the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, see William A. Fletcher (Michigan jurist).
William Fletcher
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
October 9, 1998
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by William Norris
Personal details
Born (1945-06-06) June 6, 1945 (age 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University
Merton College, Oxford
Yale Law School

William A. Fletcher (born June 6, 1945) is a United States federal appeals court judge who has sat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1998.[1]

Education and legal training[edit]

Fletcher went to Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington, graduating in 1964. Fletcher received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1968 and another from Merton College, Oxford University in 1970 as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1975.[2] He then clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Stanley A. Weigel from 1975 to 1976. Fletcher then clerked for Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1976 to 1977.

Fletcher's mother, Betty Binns Fletcher, was also a judge on the Ninth Circuit, although she held senior status from 1998 until her death in 2012.

Fletcher teaches Federal Courts at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall).[2]

Professional career[edit]

Fletcher was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1972 and a Professor of Law at Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley from 1977 to 1998. Fletcher was the author of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Demers v. Austin (January 2014). He also published a 100 page dissent on the decision to deny Kevin Cooper an en banc hearing. Cooper had been convicted of murdering a family and a houseguest and DNA testing placed his blood on a shirt that contained the victim's blood. In the dissent Fletcher raised the possibility that the Prosecution had deliberately planted Cooper's blood on the shirt, as well as various other pieces of evidence. Notably 10 additional judges on the panel expressed similar concerns, including Chief Justice Alex Kozinski (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf).

Federal judicial service[edit]

Fletcher was nominated twice by former President Bill Clinton, his Rhodes Scholar classmate at Oxford, for a seat on the Ninth Circuit vacated by William Albert Norris in April 1995, and on January 7, 1997.[3] His first appointment was never voted on by the Senate, but his second nomination was confirmed in a 57-41 vote on October 8, 1998 and he received his commission on October 9.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Finn, M.T.; Irvine, D.R.; Bliss, M.L.; Pratton, G.L.; Morgan, S. (2009). The American Bench. Forster-Long. ISSN 0160-2578. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Faculty Profiles: William A. Fletcher". law.berkeley.edu. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Sarah (2003). "The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process": 29–47.  line feed character in |contribution= at position 43 (help); |contribution= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Norris
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit