Reflection on the Law Reforming Process

This paper is based on three experiences as draftsman or reporter in penal law legislation projects. The first such experience was as sole draftsman for a New Hampshire criminal code, an undertaking commenced in November 1967, which produced a proposed code in April 1969. I am continuing this activity at the present time as assistant to a committee of the New Hampshire legislature that is currently holding hearings on the proposal in preparation for reporting out a criminal code bill this spring. Since work on the New Hampshire code represents the most extensive experience, it is the basis for most of the analysis in this paper. The second stint at drafting has been as co-reporter, with three others, in an effort to prepare a revised criminal code for Massachusetts. This effort began in October 1968, and is still progressing; almost an entire code has been drafted, with completion expected in the next few months. The third legislative law reform experience was in Rhode Island, where from January to April 1970, I drafted a statute designed to establish an office of special prosecutors for the Rhode Island Family Court.