Sanford Fox Recalled As Children's Rights Advocate

Sanford Fox Recalled As Children's Rights Advocate

Prof. Sanford J. Fox (Law), who earned widespread recognition for his work in criminal law and children's rights, died July 1 from a series of heart complications. He was 70.

A professor at BC Law for more than 40 years, Fox was internationally known for his efforts to redefine and advance the rights of children. He served as chair of the Committee on the Rights of Children for the American Bar Association, as well as chair of the United States Section of Defense for Children International, and on the Board of Governors of the ABA Center on Children and the Law.

Fox also was a consultant to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect for the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and a consultant on juvenile courts for the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. He was a member of the National Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals' Advisory Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.

"Sandy Fox was an important scholar, a fearsome advocate for the rights of children, and a man of great moral and intellectual integrity," said Boston College Law School Dean John H. Garvey. "His presence at the Law School has contributed immensely to the stature of this institution. We will miss him more than I can say."

Speaking at the July 6 memorial service for Fox at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel in Brookline, long-time colleague Prof. Zygmunt Plater (Law) said, "In our law school community he has been not only honest, direct, and incisive, but also quietly nurturing - there are people around the country, indeed the world, who consider him a mentor.

"His insights shaped lives, of his students and his colleagues," said Plater, who was joined by former BC Law School Dean Robert Drinan, SJ, and Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon in offering tribute to Fox's life and career.

Sanford Fox

Plater recounted how Fox had labored for two years to organize a major international conference on the rights of the child, to be held in China in the summer of 1989. Shortly before the event was to begin, however, came the Tiananmen Square massacre. While many colleagues felt it might be possible to proceed with the conference, Fox's view was blunt, Plater recalled: "He said, 'The conference is cancelled. Period.'

"Sandy's decisive action was right," continued Plater. "No matter how you spun it, to hold the conference would inevitably have undercut international principles of civil rights to which he and the conference were dedicated."

Born in Brooklyn and educated at the University of Illinois and Harvard Law School, Fox served in the US Navy before accepting a position as a teaching fellow at Harvard Law. He joined the faculty at Boston College Law School in 1959.

Fox held fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, National Institute for Mental Health, National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation.

He was the author or co-author of more than 50 articles and seven books, including Modern Juvenile Justice and Children Out of Court.

In 1967, Fox became involved in a series of efforts to reform the criminal codes of several New England states, and served as chief counsel to reform commissions in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Fox received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1997 from the University of Glasgow in recognition of his scholarly contribution to the international development of juvenile law, and his crafting and implementing of the Scottish juvenile justice system. He was recently working on a World Wide Web site for children that would inform them of their rights under domestic and international law. He also left unfinished a comparative study of the juvenile justice systems in the United States, Scotland and New Zealand.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian; his sons, Gregory of Los Angeles and Michael of Columbus, Ohio; and his daughter, Diana, of Providence.

-Jack Dunn ,Sean Smith and BC Law Communications Manager Nathaniel Kenyon contributed to this story.


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