The Storm that Never Came

Based on the debate at last year’s Annual Meeting, I had expected that Tuesday’s discussionStichel-Mark2 relating to the Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault project would be heated. I had intended to post a blog entry early yesterday morning titled: “The Calm Before the Storm.” But, I did not finish the piece and now I am glad that I did not post it. I would have been wrong. We had a very calm discussion in the finest tradition of the ALI. My hat goes off to everyone who participated and, especially, to ALI President Roberta Cooper Ramo for her skill in moderating the session.

This is a difficult area of the law. But, it is one that ALI must address. One cannot have a “model penal code” without addressing sexual assault crimes. There is no dispute among the members, notwithstanding their differences of opinion about parts of the current draft, that the sexual assault provisions in the 1962 MPC are incredibly out of date.

It is clear from Tuesday’s discussion that substantial differences of opinion exist among the membership about the project. There may be some fundamental things relating to the subject upon which it will not be possible to reach a consensus among the membership. However, I hope that when the project (or parts of it) are brought back to the Annual Meeting next year for a vote, some of the concerns about the current draft will have been addressed by the Reporters and that the membership can reach agreement on the substantive provisions of the project.