Drafting a Code of Conduct
How can one create a clear statement for the public of the rules of conduct, one that is easy to read, understand, and apply in daily life, even in the situations of anxiety and confusion in which the potential for criminal conduct sometimes arises? Here are five drafting principles toward that end.
The feature of current criminal codes that most hurts its communication to the public, unnecessarily so, is its inclusion of much more than the rules of conduct. The conduct rules are hidden among the much longer and more complex rules governing the adjudication of liability and grading. Even if the conduct rules could be understood, they cannot be found. At under 2,300 words, including headings, the draft code of conduct in Appendix A is one-fifteenth the length of the Model Penal Code, although it covers essentially the same material.1
Consider an example, perhaps an extreme one. The Model Penal Code's definition of assault is set out in the margin.2 In essence, the Code's section 211.1 criminalizes causing bodily injury to another. Eliminating the____________________
|'(1) Simple Assault. A person is guilty of assault if he:|
Simple assault is a misdemeanor unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty misdemeanor.
|(2) Aggravated Assault. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:|