American Law Institute voted to withdraw Model Penal Code concerned with capital punishment

Posted by Stefanie on November 16th, 2009


No acceptable model for death penalty statute, says major law group

The Council of the American Law Institute (ALI) recently voted to withdraw a section of its Model Penal Code concerned with capital punishment because of the "current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment."

The Institute based its decision on a study it commissioned to look into the practice of the death penalty since the recommendations were made in the Model Penal Code. The recommendations for how to make the death penalty less arbitrary had been adopted in 1962 and were cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1976 opinion allowing a reformed death penalty to be reinstated. Section §210.6 of the Code had defined cases appropriate for capital punishment, aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and special sentencing procedures, and was intended to meet significant concerns regarding the practice.

This move essentially withdraws ALI from any attempt to fashion an acceptable death penalty because the system has proven to be unworkable. See ALI's statement here:

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