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Model Penal Code Records

ALI.04.005

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library: American Law Institute Archives
Creator:
American Law Institute
Title:
Model Penal Code Records
Date [inclusive]:
1942-1985
Call Number:
ALI.04.005
Extent:
11 linear feet
Language:
English
Abstract:
The Model Penal Code, first completed in 1962 and revised and expanded over the next 20 years, played an important role in the revision and codification of criminal law. The Chief Reporter on the project was Herbert Wechsler. A Criminal Law Advisory Committee was established to provide the reportorial staff with guidance in the drafting of the Code. A Proposed Official Draft was published in 1962. This version generated wide response among legislatures and courts, prompting a revision and expansion of the code's commentaries that began in 1976. A final version of the Model Penal Code, with revised commentaries, was published in 1985. The Code proved to be particularly influential in the areas of jurisdiction, double jeopardy, responsibility, criminal attempts, theft, abortion, obscenity, sentencing, and capital punishment. The collection, 1942-1985, includes correspondence, meeting materials, proceedings, drafts, reports, reference materials, published versions, citations, and related records regarding the drafting of the Model Penal Code, which consolidated and codified previous legislation and judicial opinions related to criminal law.
Cite as:
[Identification of item], in the Model Penal Code Records, American Law Institute Archives, ALI.04.005, Biddle Law Library, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, PA.
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

The Model Penal Code, first completed in 1962 and revised and expanded over the next 20 years, played an important role in the revision and codification of criminal law. Work on the project began in earnest in 1952, following initial funding by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Chief Reporter on the project was Herbert Wechsler. A Criminal Law Advisory Committee was established to provide the reportorial staff with guidance in the drafting of the Code. The committee collected academics, practitioners, judges, and other experts in criminal law.

The original Model Penal Code project generated 13 Tentative Drafts, published from 1953 to 1960. A proposed Final Draft followed in 1961, followed the by Proposed Official Draft in 1962. This 1962 version generated wide response among legislatures and courts, prompting a revision and expansion of the code's commentaries that began in 1976.

A final version of the Model Penal Code, with revised commentaries, was published in 1985. The Code proved to be particularly influential in the areas of jurisdiction, double jeopardy, responsibility, criminal attempts, theft, abortion, obscenity, sentencing, and capital punishment.

Scope and Contents

The Model Penal Code Records, 1942-1985, include correspondence, meeting records, proceedings, drafts, reports, reference materials, publications, citations, and related records regarding the drafting of the Model Penal Code, from the project's early days of fundraising to its final publication in 1985.

Arrangement note

  1. Correspondence
  2. Meeting Records
  3. Drafting Records
  4. Official Draft Volumes
  5. Citations
  6. Comments

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library: American Law Institute Archives,  2008

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Jordon Steele

Access Restrictions

None.

Use Restrictions

The archives reserves the right to restrict access to materials of sensitive nature. Please contact the department for further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

First shipment received from the American Law Institute in 1995.

Processing Information note

Preliminary container list prepared by Melissa Backes, 1995-2005.

Reprocessed by Jordon Steele, July-August 2007.

Encoded by Jordon Steele, May 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

See the Model Penal Code: Sentencing Records, ALI.04.034.

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)
  • Animal welfare
  • Criminal Law
  • Imprisonment
  • Insanity (Law)

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Other Finding Aids note

An item-level container list is available offline in spreadsheet form.

Collection Inventory

Correspondence, 1946-1985. About 2500 items.

Scope and Contents note

Fundraising and budget correspondence, and correspondence regarding the drafting of the Model Penal Code, written by and sent to project participants, including Herbert Wechsler, Paul Tappan, Thorsten Sellin, and Louis H. Shwartz.

Box
1
2
3
11
Folder
1-14
1-23
1-16
1-2

Meeting Records, 1951-1962. About 500 items.

Arrangement note

Chronological by date of meeting.

Scope and Contents note

Minutes, transcripts, correspondence, proceedings, and related records regarding meetings of committees instrumental in the drafting of the Model Penal Code, including the Council of the American Law Institute and the Criminal Law Advisory Committee.

Box
4
Folder
1-19

Drafting Records, 1942-1971. About 66 items.

Arrangement note

Chronological within each group of drafts. The group of other drafting materials has no discernible arrangement.

Scope and Contents note

Primarily drafts, with reports, comments, and related records, regarding the drafting of the Model Penal Code. Most of the drafts were submitted for approval to the Council of the American Law institute. Subjects covered include sentencing, sexual offenses, treatment of offenders, the death penalty, youth offenders, obscenity, and abortion. Most, but not all, of the records are confirmed to have been used by the Criminal Law Advisory Committee in its advisory role to the reportorial staff.

Box
4
5
6
7
8
9
Folder
20-28
1-17
1-24
1-28
1-32
1-25

Official Draft Volumes, 1985. 7 items.

Scope and Contents note

Bound volumes of the final version of the Model Penal Code and supporting commentaries, published in 1985.

Box
10
Folder
1-3

Citations, 1980-1981, 1985. About 30 items.

Scope and Contents note

A selection of case citations of the Model Penal Code.

Arrangement note

Chronological.

Box
10
Folder
4-16

Comments, 1978-1981.

Box
11
Folder
3-20