Model Penal Code

This seminal work played an important part in the widespread revision and codification of the substantive criminal law of the United States. Respected and influential, it is still cited by courts. The Institute recently re-examined the Code's provisions on sentencing and sexual assault and related offenses.

On October 23, 2009, the ALI Council voted overwhelmingly, with some abstentions, to accept the resolution of the capital punishment matter as approved by the Institute’s membership at the 2009 Annual Meeting. The resolution adopted at the Annual Meeting and now accepted by the Council reads as follows: “For reasons stated in Part V of the Council’s report to the membership, the Institute withdraws Section 210.6 of the Model Penal Code in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment.”  Council’s report to the membership (April 15, 2009) 

Having achieved the consensus of the membership at the Annual Meeting and now of the Council, this resolution is the official position of the Institute. Efforts will be made to communicate this position wherever the Model Penal Code is published or otherwise available and to the public generally.

The American Law Institute adopted the Official Draft of the Model Penal Code at the 1962 Annual Meeting, but did not adopt the accompanying Commentaries at that time. The Official Draft is currently out of print, but is available by subscription on HeinOnline, Westlaw, and LexisNexis.

A new set of Commentaries for Part II of the Code was published in 1980 and a new set of Commentaries for Part I of the Code was published in 1985. In 1985, the Institute published a volume containing the Complete Statutory Text of the 1962 Official Draft as well as new Explanatory Notes.  All of those volumes are currently out of print, but are available by subscription on HeinOnline.

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