The American Law Institute (ALI)* (see below) is in Washington DC this Mon-Wed May 16-18, 2022 for their annual meeting and members will vote on changes to the Model Penal Code (MPC),** (see below) which are egregious. A motion will be offered on Tuesday 5/17 to OPPOSE the draft revisions, which narrow and weaken sexual assault law including sex trafficking statute. The most worrisome part of the process is that ALI did not meaningfully include trafficking expert, criminal justice expert, or survivor feedback in the drafting process, disregarding over a decade of inclusive public policy around these issues across the nation.
This Friday, 5/13, seven sections of Department of Justice, including Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) sent a letter to ALI opposing these revisions. As DOJ writes, the proposal “will roll back decades of progress in strengthening enforcement and protecting the public.” And if the motion fails, and ALI passes these amendments, DOJ mentions that they “will urge U.S. jurisdictions not to change their laws to accord with it.”
|*What is ALI?|
The American Law Institute (ALI) is a private, non-profit organization composed of judges, attorneys, and law professors. ALI publishes restatements of the law, model codes, and principles to provide clarity and consistency to the law. While influential with courts and state legislatures, ALI’s publications are not law and do not replace existing laws and statutes.
|** What is MPC?|
The Model Penal Code (MPC) is a set of criminal law principles issued by the American Law Institute (ALI) in 1962 to help state legislatures standardize criminal statutes. Since it was issued, many states have enacted criminal laws derived from the MPC and courts often use the MPC to interpret criminal laws. Since it was issued, many states have enacted criminal laws derived from the MPC and courts often use the MPC to interpret criminal laws.
National Center on Missing and Exploited Children strongly opposes the proposed changes, as does a bipartisan group of 37 Attorneys General led by multiple Attorneys General, including OR AG Ellen Rosenbaum, who wrote to ALI opposing the proposal last December. The National Association of Women Judges has also written in opposition of these amendments.