Norman Abrams

Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
Acting Chancellor Emeritus

  • A.B. University of Chicago
  • J.D. University of Chicago

Norman Abrams served as acting chancellor of UCLA in 2006-2007. He retired from the Law School faculty in 2007 with the titles of Acting Chancellor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus. He continues to write in the areas of anti-terrorism law, federal criminal law and evidence, and periodically, has been recalled to teach.

Abrams joined the UCLA Law School faculty and has been a member of the UCLA family since 1959.  From 1991 to 2001 he 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. In 2012, Abrams received the Lifetime Distinguished Service Award from the UCLA Emeriti Association.

Abrams is the co-author of the seventh edition of the groundbreaking casebook on federal criminal law, Federal Criminal Law and Its Enforcement (with Beale and Klein), published in 2020. Another of his books, Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Enforcement, (5th edition, 2018), was the first casebook to deal comprehensively with the evolving field of anti-terrorism law and the domestic criminal enforcement process. He is also a co-author of the 10th edition of Evidence - Cases and Materials (2017)(with Judge Jack B. Weinstein, et al.). Over his long career, he has written on many subjects, including prosecutorial discretion, federal criminal jurisdiction, conspiracy law, evidentiary privileges and, more recently, anti-terrorism.

A native of Chicago, Abrams holds A.B. (1952) and J.D. (1955) degrees from the University of Chicago, where he was editor-in-chief of The University of Chicago Law Review.

Before coming to UCLA, Abrams served as an associate in law at Columbia University Law School and as a research associate and director of Harvard-Brandeis Cooperative Research for Israel's Legal Development at the Harvard Law School. He has been a consultant to various state and federal commissions and professional committees, and, while on leave from UCLA, in 1966-67, he was appointed a special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, serving in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has taught as a visiting professor at Stanford University Law School, UC Berkeley Law School, the Hebrew University Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan School of Law, University of Southern California Law School and Loyola University (Los Angeles) School of Law.


  • Books
    • Federal Criminal Law and Its Enforcement (with Sara Sun Beale and Susan Riva Klein). 7th ed. West Academic Publishing (2020). Prior edition: 6th, 2015.
    • Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Enforcement. 5th ed. West Academic (2018). Supplement, 2014.
    • Evidence: Cases and Materials (with Jack B. Weinstein, Scott Brewer, and Daniel S. Medwed). 10th ed. West Academic (2017). Prior editions Foundation Press: 9th, 1997; 8th, 1988; 7th, 1983. Evidence, Rules and Statute Supplement, 2019.
    • Administrative Process: Alternatives to the Criminal Process. Law and Public Affairs Publication, National Center for Administrative Justice (1979). Funded by Florence V. Burden Foundation.
    • Designing a State Hearing Officer System: Issues Suggested by the California Experience. Center for Administrative Justice, American Bar Association (1974).
    • Cases and Materials on the Criminal Law of Israel (Mekraot B'Dinai Onshin) (with Arnold N. Enker). Bar Ilan Univ. Press (1971).
    • The Control of Crime through Criminal Prosecution: A Proposal for Studies on the Case Flow and Decision Process in Metropolitan District Attorney Offices, December 4, 1968 (with David Sudnow). RAND (1968).
    • Report on the Operations of the Criminal Justice Act in the Central District of California. Judicial Conference of the United States (1967).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Uncovering the Legislative Histories of the Early Mail Fraud Statutes: The Origin of Federal Auxiliary Crimes Jurisdiction, 2021 Utah Law Review 1079 (2021). Full Text
    • A Constitutional Minimum Threshold for the Actus Reus of Crime? MPC Attempts and Material Support Offenses, 37 Quinnipiac Law Review 199 (2019). Full Text
    • Addressing the Guantanamo "Legacy Problem": Bringing Law-of-War Prolonged Military Detention and Criminal Prosecution into Closer Alignment, 7 Journal of National Security Law and Policy 527 (2014). Full Text
    • Terrorism Prosecutions in U.S. Federal Court: Exceptions to Constitutional Evidence Rules and the Development of a Cabined Exception for Coerced Confessions, 4 Harvard National Security Journal 58 (2012).
    • Responses to the Five Questions, 38 William Mitchell Law Review 1597 (2012). Full Text
    • The Distance Imperative: A Different Way of Thinking about Public Official Corruption Investigations/Prosecutions and the Federal Role, 42 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 207 (2011). Full Text
    • Confrontation and Hearsay Issues in Federal Court Terrorism Prosecutions of Gitmo Detainees-Moussaoui and Paracha as Harbingers, 75 Brooklyn Law Review 1067 (2010). Full Text
    • Ten Questions on National Security (with others), 34 Journal of National Security Forum 5007 (2008).
    • Introduction: The Military Commissions Saga, 5 Journal of International Criminal Justice 2-9 (2007).
    • Developments in U.S. Anti-Terrorism Law: Checks and Balances Undermined, 4 Journal of International Criminal Justice 1117-36 (2006).
    • The Material Support Terrorism Offenses: Perspectives Derived from the (Early) Model Penal Code, 1 Journal of National Security Law and Policy 5-35 (2005).
    • Addressing the Tension Between the Clergy-communicant Privilege and the Duty to Report Child Abuse in State Statutes, 44 Boston College Law Review 1127-66 (2003).
    • Unpacking the Power of an Ante-litigation Limitation on Consultation-for-advice/Treatment Evidentiary Privileges, 21 QLR 1089-1137 (2003).
    • Reform of Professional Relationship Evidentiary Privileges, A Proposal for a New Paradigm, 17 Bar Ilan Law Studies 55-89 (2002).
    • Exploring Limits on the Use of Administrative Agencies in the Felony Criminal Process, 33 Israel Law Review 539-574 (1999).
    • Contributor, in Encyclopedia of the American Constitution: Supplement II and 1st ed., (edited by Leonard W. Levy, Kenneth L. Karst et al., Macmillan, 1986, 1998).
    • Tribute, Melville B. Nimmer: A Special Kind of Man, 1 UCLA Entertainment Law Review 4-6 (1994).
    • A New Proposal for Limiting Private Civil RICO, 37 UCLA Law Review 1-28 (1989).
    • The New Ancillary Offenses, 1 Criminal Law Forum 1-39 (1989).
    • Organizational Crime Statutes in the United States, in Gevurot le-Shimon Agranat, i-xxxviii (Graf-Pres, 1986). Essays in Honor of Shimon Agranat.
    • Federal Criminal Law Enforcement, in 2 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, 779-85 (edited by S. Kadish, Free Press, 1983).
    • Prosecution: Prosecutorial Discretion, in 3 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, 1272-86 (Free Press, 1983).
    • Criminal Liability of Corporate Officers for Strict Liability Offenses: A Comment on Dotterweich and Park, 28 UCLA Law Review 463-77 (1981). Reprinted in Criminal Law and the Corporate Counsel 313-27 (edited by Abraham Abramovsky, Harcourt-Brace, 1981).
    • Comment: Some Observations on Basic Research on Administrative Procedure and the Idea of a Procedural Continuum, 32 Administrative Law Review 99-106 (1980). Symposium: Empirical Research in Administrative Law.
    • Assessing the Federal Government’s “War” on White-Collar Crime, 53 Temple Law Quarterly 984-1008 (1980). Symposium: White-Collar Crime.
    • Administrative Law Judge Systems: The California View, 29 Administrative Law Review 487-523 (1977).
    • Liberty at Bay: The Supreme Court and Search and Seizure, 10 Center Magazine 16-20 (1977).
    • Prosecutorial Charge Decision Systems, 23 UCLA Law Review 1-56 (1975).
    • Constitutional Limitations on Law Enforcement, in ABA High School Law Program: Attorney’s Source Book, (Young Lawyers Section, American Bar Association, 1973).
    • Internal Policy: Guiding the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion, 19 UCLA Law Review 1-58 (1971).
    • Interpreting the Criminal Code Ordinance, 1936: The Untapped Well, 7 Israel Law Review 25-64 (1971).
    • Comment on Assimilated Offenses: Section 209, in 1 Working Papers, 78-103 (National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws, 1970).
    • Report on Fugitive Felon Statute: Section 1310, in 1 Working Papers, 552-66 (National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws, 1970).
    • Report on Jurisdiction, in 1 Working Papers, 33-66 (National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws, 1970).
    • Justice Peters and the Criminal Law, 57 California Law Review 563-76 (1969).
    • Federal Aid to State and Local Law Enforcement: Implications of a New Federal Grant Program, 43 Notre Dame Lawyer 871-88 (1968). Reprinted as Federal Aid to State and Local Law Enforcement: Implications of a New Federal Grant Program, in The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society (edited by Henry S. Ruth, Jr. et al., De Capo, 1971).
    • Coordination of State Prosecutorial Functions, in Task Force Report: The Courts, 75-79 (President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, 1967).
    • Professional Crime, in Task Force Report: Assessment-Crime in America, 96-101 (President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, 1967).
    • White Collar Crime, in Task Force Report: Assessment-Crime in America, 102-9 (President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, 1967).
    • The California Highway Patrol: Jurisdiction, Procedure and Personnel Practice, in 17 Transcripts, Depositions, Consultants Reports, and Selected Documents of the Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1-11 (Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1966).
    • California (with Bernard Petrie), in 2 Defense of the Poor in Criminal Cases in American State Courts, 57-87 (American Bar Foundation, 1965).
    • Objections to the Unobjectionable: A Critique of Savelli v. Board of Medical Examiners, Administrative Procedure Bulletin 1 (1964).
    • Conspiracy and Multi-Venue in Federal Criminal Prosecutions: The Crime Committed Formula, 9 UCLA Law Review 751-818 (1962).
    • Legislative Powers of Administrative Authorities: The Rule of Law, 36 Los Angeles Bar Bulletin 158-62, 169-77 (1961).
    • Harvard-Brandeis Cooperative Research for Israel’s Legal Development: Its Operation and Methods, in Report on Current Research on the Middle-East, 23-31 (1958).
    • Supreme Court No-Clear-Majority Decisions: A Study in Stare Decisis, 24 University of Chicago Law Review 99-156 (1956). (Co-author)
    • Waiver of Jury Unanimity: Some Doubts About Reasonable Doubts, 21 University of Chicago Law Review 438-46 (1954).