Author Archive

Norman Abrams

Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, UCLA Law School Abrams served as Acting Chancellor of UCLA in 2006-2007. Retiring from the Law School faculty in 2007 with the titles of Acting Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of Law Emeritus, he has been recalled and continues to teach and write in the areas of federal criminal law, anti-terrorism law and evidence. Abrams joined the faculty and has been a member of the UCLA family since 1959. From 1991 to 2001, Abrams served as UCLA's vice chancellor of academic personnel, overseeing faculty appointments and promotions on the campus. He served as interim dean of the law school from 2003 to 2004, and earlier had served as associate dean, from 1989 to 1991. The fifth edition of Abrams' groundbreaking casebook on federal criminal law, Federal Criminal Law and Its Enforcement (with Beale and Klein), was published in 2010. Another of his books, Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Enforcement, (3rd ed., 2008), is the first casebook to deal comprehensively with the rapidly evolving field of anti-terrorism law and the criminal enforcement process. He is also a co-author of Evidence: Cases and Materials, 9th ed. (with Weinstein, Mansfield, and Berger).


Addressing the Guantanamo “Legacy Problem”: Bringing Law-of-War Prolonged Military Detention & Criminal Prosecution into Closer Alignment

Addressing the Guantanamo “Legacy Problem”: Bringing Law-of-War Prolonged Military Detention & Criminal Prosecution into Closer Alignment

Abrams seeks to move the discussion on Guantanamo detainees forward by bringing law-of-war detention and criminal prosecution into closer alignment. The article analyzes the Obama Administration’s current approach of dealing with terrorists captured abroad and its preference for conducting criminal prosecutions whenever feasible. Abrams proposes several changes to the current system, including a decision-making framework […]

The Material Support Terrorism Offenses: Perspectives Derived from the (Early) Model Penal Code

The Material Support Terrorism Offenses: Perspectives Derived from the (Early) Model Penal Code

Two innovative federal crimes, 18 U.S.C. §2339A and §2339B, have been frequently charged in prosecutions since September 11, 2001, becoming key elements in the government’s anti-terrorism efforts. Section 2339A makes it a federal crime knowingly to provide material support or resources4 in preparation for or in carrying out specified crimes of terrorism. Section 2339B prohibits knowingly providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. These statutes bear some resemblance to criminal liability for complicity, but they are being used like a new kind of conspiracy charge, the familiar “prosecutor’s darling.” Unlike conspiracy, they are framed with a mens rea of knowledge rather than of purpose, and because they are substantive offenses, they can be combined with traditional conspiracy charges. These provisions can be used to impose punishment for conduct remote from the commission of criminal harms, often conduct involving minimal and outwardly non-criminal acts.