Norval Morris

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Biographical Information

Norval Morris, (died in 2004). "In an academic career that lasted 55 years, the last 40 of them at Chicago, Dr. Morris became an internationally known expert on criminal justice systems. He published 15 books and hundreds of articles, and was founding director of the law school's Center for Studies in Criminal Justice...

"Some senators, and the National Rifle Association as well, were especially critical of his support for strict gun licensing. But his opponents also focused on a book he had written with Gordon J. Hawkins, The Honest Politician's Guide to Crime Control (University of Chicago Press, 1970), which advocated an end to criminal penalties for what it called victimless crimes, like public drunkenness, gambling and various sex acts.

"In another book, Madness and the Criminal Law (University of Chicago Press, 1983), Dr. Morris, maintaining that the courts' power to imprison should not overlap with a power to commit, sided with those who wanted to do away with insanity as a ground for acquittal. Rather, he argued, mental incompetence should be given only as much mitigating consideration as blindness or any other handicap...

"After starting his academic career in London, he became a professor of criminology at Melbourne in 1955. He taught at Harvard and was law dean at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and director of the United Nations Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders in Tokyo.

"He joined the University of Chicago in 1964, was dean of the law school from 1975 to 1979 and at his death was Julius Kreeger Emeritus Professor of Law and Criminology.

"Dr. Morris is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elaine Richardson Morris; three sons, Gareth and Malcolm, both of Chicago, and Christopher, of Colorado Springs; and three grandchildren." [1]

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