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Examining the Legal Landscape of Domestic Terrorism: What Is It & How Do We Prosecute It?

(190 reviews)

Produced on June 18, 2020

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$ 89 Constitutional, Civil Rights, and Election Year 2020 In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 6m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

A popular and controversial topic among media, politicians, law enforcement, and the legal community is “domestic terrorism.” There have been calls for a federal statute aimed at it, and for more vigorous enforcement of existing laws. Yet the term itself is not necessarily defined as the same colloquially as it is in the law. There is also confusion regarding just what conduct can be prosecuted as domestic terrorism, and whether enforcement mechanisms available for targeting international terrorism can be used for domestic terrorism or domestic terrorist organizations.

This program, taught by criminal defense attorney Josh Dratel, will survey the legal landscape of domestic terrorism, including what laws are available to prosecute it, whether those laws can provide adequate coverage and punishment, and how they have been applied. The program will also review the pitfalls of a potential domestic terrorism statute, how the approaches to international terrorism and domestic terrorism have merged, and how they remain divergent.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define “domestic terrorism”
  2. Differentiate between international and domestic terrorism 
  3. Review current domestic terrorism laws
  4. Explore the pitfalls of a potential domestic terrorism statute

Credit Information

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Joshua Dratel

Law Offices of Joshua L. Dratel, P.C.

Joshua L. Dratel is an attorney in New York City, and practices criminal defense law in the state and federal courts nationwide. In his 32 years as a lawyer, his practice has included a wide range of matters, including “white collar,” “organized crime,” national security, extradition, drugs, sex offenses, and capital cases. He has testified as an expert witness on four occasions in extradition matters in the United Kingdom and Canada, and served as an expert in extradition matters in those jurisdictions in writing in several other cases.

He is a past President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2005), as well as former Chair of its Amicus Curiae Committee. He is also a Co-Chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Chair of its National Security Committee, and a former member of its Board of Directors and Public Affairs Council. He serves as NACDL’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Council, and serves on the Advisory Board of The Champion, NACDL’s monthly magazine. In addition, he is currently a Senior Fellow for Legal Research at the Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security. Since 1988 he has been a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel in the Southern District of New York, and he is also a member of the Southern District of New York’s capital representation panel.

He was co-author of the 2003 Supplement of Practice Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and his articles on a variety of criminal law subjects have appeared in The Champion, The Mouthpiece, and Criminal Justice Weekly. He is co-editor with Karen J. Greenberg of The Torture Papers: The Legal Road to Abu Ghraib (Cambridge University Press: 2005), a compendium of government memoranda, and The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror (Cambridge Press: 2008), a digest of the litigation documents in the five most important enemy combatant cases.

He has lectured nationally on a variety of criminal law subjects for a variety of organizations, including NACDL, NYSACDL, the ABA, and U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts. In 2006, he was the recipient of NACDL’s Robert C. Heeney Award, that organization’s highest honor. In 2007, along with other lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees, he was a recipient of the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. In 2011, he received the Honorable Robert Louis Cohen Award for Excellence in the Practice of Criminal Law from the New York Criminal Bar Association. He is a 1978 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Columbia College, and a 1981 graduate of Harvard Law School.



Erin H.

Appreciated the presentation of opposing opinions in discussion of merits of domestic terrorism statute.

K H.

Joshua Dratel is an outstanding presenter; he's one of the best I've had the opportunity to see and hear over many years. Many thanks!

John Kennedy K.

Very thorough, interesting, professional

Carol M.

Very thoughtful discussion of very important issues.

Rachel G.

Timely topic. Thoroughly & clearly presented. Well done!

Chun L.

Thank you, very informative and insightful.

Anthony S.

Important and timely topic.

Kebra R.

Excellent information and perspective

Mark E.

Excellent presentation.

Catherine H.

thanks very much,great program and great presenter, I really appreciate the dense slides for future reference as opposed to just an outline, we’ll done, thanks again

Robert K.

Great course!

Sameera A.

Very informative! Thank you

David H.


Emily B.

Excellent presentation.

Nkeiruka A.

Very interesting presentation

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