Seventh Circuit Review


Counterterrorism experts agree that, because money is the lifeblood of terrorists, one of the most effective means of combating terrorism is eradicating vital sources of funding. Recognizing this, Congress passed legislation throughout the 1990s that holds individuals criminally liable for providing financial or other material support to terrorists or terrorist organizations. Additionally, Congress created a civil remedy for victims who are injured or killed by reason of an act of international terrorism. In the first case to utilize the 18 U.S.C. § 2333 civil cause of action, the parents of David Boim, a Jewish-American teenager killed in Israel by alleged Hamas terrorists, filed suit in 2000 against several individuals and nonprofit organizations that allegedly funneled money to Hamas through charitable "fronts" for Hamas. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has addressed Boim v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development on three occasions: on an interlocutory appeal in Boim I, on appeal from a $156 million jury verdict in Boim II, and, most recently, on rehearing en banc in Boim III, in which the Seventh Circuit held that defendants who donate or provide other material support to terrorist or terrorist-linked organizations are liable under § 2333 as long as they knew that the donee organization engages in terrorism. This Note discusses the Boim III majority opinion written by Judge Posner, as well as a dissenting opinion written by Judge Rovner. By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of both judges' frameworks, this Note concludes that neither framework provides the ideal basis for liability. Accordingly, this Note proposes an alternative structure for § 2333 liability that can guide other courts in applying this vitally important statute to complicated situations like that in Boim.

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