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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Series

Model Penal Code

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Articles 1 - 12 of 12

Full-Text Articles in Law

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne Mar 2021

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Solving criminal justice problems typically requires the enactment of new rules or the modification of existing ones. But there are some serious problems that can best be solved simply by altering the way in which the existing rules are drafted rather than by altering their content. This is the case with two of the most serious problems in criminal justice today: the problem of overlapping criminal offenses that create excessive prosecutorial charging discretion and the problem of legislative inconsistency and irrationality in grading offenses.

After examining these two problems and demonstrating their serious effects in perverting criminal justice, the essay ...


Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2021

Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter first considers the direction of the affirmative defense of legal insanity in the United States before John Hinckley was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1982 for attempting to assassinate President Reagan and others and the immediate aftermath of that acquittal. Since the middle of the 20th Century, the tale is one of the rise and fall of the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code test for legal insanity. Then it turns to the constitutional decisions of the United States Supreme Court concerning the status of legal insanity. Finally, it addresses the substantive and procedural changes ...


Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2020

Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the first change to the Model Penal Code since its promulgation in 1962, the American Law Institute in 2017 set blameworthiness proportionality as the dominant distributive principle for criminal punishment. Empirical studies suggest that this is in fact the principle that ordinary people use in assessing proper punishment. Its adoption as the governing distributive principle makes good sense because it promotes not only the classic desert retributivism of moral philosophers but also crime-control utilitarianism, by enhancing the criminal law’s moral credibility with the community and thereby promoting deference, compliance, acquiescence, and internalization of its norms, rather than suffering ...


The Rise And Fall And Resurrection Of American Criminal Codes, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Rise And Fall And Resurrection Of American Criminal Codes, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay summarizes the virtues of the modern American codification movement of the 1960s and 70s, putting it in a larger global context, then describes how these once-enviable codes have been systematically degraded with thoughtless amendments, a process of degradation that is accelerating each year. After exploring the political dynamics that promote such degradation, the essay suggests the principles and procedures for fixing the current codes and, more importantly, structural changes to the process that could avoid the restart of degradation in the future.


The Model Penal Code's Conceptual Error On The Nature Of Proximate Cause, And How To Fix It, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Model Penal Code's Conceptual Error On The Nature Of Proximate Cause, And How To Fix It, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Model Penal Code reconceptualized proximate cause to see it as part of the offense culpability requirements rather than as, in the traditional view, a minimum requirement for the strength of the connection between the actor's conduct and the prohibited result. That conceptual error, rare in the well-thought-out Model Code, invites misinterpretation and misapplication of the proximate cause provision, and can produce improper liability results. The failure is all the more unfortunate because the Model Code drafters did have an important improvement to offer in dealing with the challenging issue of proximate cause. Their jettison of fixed detailed rules ...


Murder Mitigation In The Fifty-Two American Jurisdictions: A Case Study In Doctrinal Interrelation Analysis, Paul H. Robinson Apr 2014

Murder Mitigation In The Fifty-Two American Jurisdictions: A Case Study In Doctrinal Interrelation Analysis, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The essay surveys the law in the fifty-two American jurisdictions with regard to the three doctrines that commonly provide a mitigation or defense to murder liability: common law provocation and its modern counterpart, extreme mental or emotional disturbance; the so-called diminished capacity defense and its modern counterpart, mental illness negating an offense element; and the insanity defense. The essay then examines the patterns among the jurisdictions in the particular formulation they adopt for the three doctrines, and the combinations in which those formulations commonly appear in different jurisdictions. After this review, the essay steps back to see what kinds of ...


[A Brief Comparative Summary Of The Criminal Law Of The] United States, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2011

[A Brief Comparative Summary Of The Criminal Law Of The] United States, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter provides a very brief summary of the central features of American criminal law. Section II describes its source and current form, which is almost exclusively statutory, embodied in the criminal codes of each of the fifty American states and (to a lesser extent) the federal criminal code. Section III sketches the typical process by which a case moves through an American criminal justice system, from the report of a crime through trial and appellate review. Section IV summarizes the most basic objective and culpability requirements necessary to establish liability for an offense and the doctrines that sometimes impute ...


The Disutility Of Injustice, Paul H. Robinson, Geoffrey P. Goodwin, Michael Reisig Dec 2010

The Disutility Of Injustice, Paul H. Robinson, Geoffrey P. Goodwin, Michael Reisig

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For more than half a century, the retributivists and the crime-control instrumentalists have seen themselves as being in an irresolvable conflict. Social science increasingly suggests, however, that this need not be so. Doing justice may be the most effective means of controlling crime. Perhaps partially in recognition of these developments, the American Law Institute's recent amendment to the Model Penal Code's "purposes" provision – the only amendment to the Model Code in the 47 years since its promulgation – adopts desert as the primary distributive principle for criminal liability and punishment. That shift to desert has prompted concerns by two ...


Abnormal Mental State Mitigations Of Murder – The U.S. Perspective, Paul H. Robinson Sep 2010

Abnormal Mental State Mitigations Of Murder – The U.S. Perspective, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper examines the U.S. doctrines that allow an offender's abnormal mental state to reduce murder to manslaughter. First, the modern doctrine of "extreme emotional disturbance," as in Model Penal Code Section 210.3(1)(b), mitigates to manslaughter what otherwise would be murder when the killing "is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse." While most American jurisdictions are based upon the Mode Code, this is an area in which many states chose to retain their more narrow common law "provocation" mitigation. Second, the modern doctrine ...


The Ongoing Revolution In Punishment Theory: Doing Justice As Controlling Crime, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2010

The Ongoing Revolution In Punishment Theory: Doing Justice As Controlling Crime, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This lecture offers a broad review of current punishment theory debates and the alternative distributive principles for criminal liability and punishment that they suggest. This broader perspective attempts to explain in part the Model Penal Code's recent shift to reliance upon desert and accompanying limitation on the principles of deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.


Final Report Of The Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite And Reform Commission, Paul H. Robinson, Michael T. Cahill Jan 2003

Final Report Of The Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite And Reform Commission, Paul H. Robinson, Michael T. Cahill

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Governor of Illinois created a commission to examine the problems with Illinois criminal law and to rewrite the Illinois criminal code. This two-volume Final Report of the Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite and Reform Commission proposes a new criminal code, in volume 1, together with an official commentary, in volume 2, that explains each provision and how and why it differs from existing law. The introduction to the Report summarizes the reasons for and the importance of criminal code reform, and describes the techniques used in this rewrite project, including both the project’s drafting principles and the methods by ...


Final Report Of The Kentucky Penal Code Revision Project, Paul H. Robinson, Kentucky Criminal Justice Council Staff Jan 2003

Final Report Of The Kentucky Penal Code Revision Project, Paul H. Robinson, Kentucky Criminal Justice Council Staff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Kentucky Criminal Justice Council, a constitutional body in Kentucky, undertook this project to examine the problems with Kentucky criminal law and to rewrite the Kentucky criminal code. This two-volume Final Report of the Kentucky Penal Code Revision Project proposes a new criminal code, in volume 1, together with an official commentary, in volume 2, that explains each provision and how and why it differs from existing law. The introduction to the Report summarizes the reasons for and the importance of criminal code reform, and describes the techniques used in this rewrite project, including both the project’s drafting principles ...