If there can be said to be an "American criminal code," the Model Penal Code is it. Nonetheless, there remains an enormous diversity among the fifty-two American penal codes, including some that have never adopted a modern code format or structure. Yet, even within the minority of states without a modern code, the Model Penal Code has great influence, as courts regularly rely upon it to fashion the law that the state's criminal code fails to provide. In this essay we provide a brief introduction to this historic document, its origins, and its content.
- ©© 2007 by the Regents of the University of California