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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

American Law Institute withdraws code section on death penalty

Once in a while I share information about important non-snitch-related developments in the criminal system. The American Law Institute is an influential voice in the development of U.S. criminal law. It is made up of prominent judges, practitioners, and academics, and issues Restatements of Law and other scholarly resources that are widely relied on. One such resource is the Model Penal Code, a comprehensive criminal code worked out by criminal justice experts, on which many states have based their own criminal laws. The ALI has announced that it is withdrawing Section 210.6 of the Model Penal Code, which prescribes the procedures to be used when a court is considering imposing the death penalty. Here is the statement from ALI Director Lance Liebman:
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.
Here's a link to the report on which the decision was based: Report of the Council to the Membership of the ALI on the Matter of the Death Penalty. The Model Penal Code now has no provision for administering the death penalty, although the ALI describes itself as taking no position on the propriety of the death penalty itself. For a survey and discussion of recent death-penalty-related developments, see this post on Sentencing Law and Policy blog.