While the Model Penal Code was certainly one of the most influential developments in criminal law in the past century, the American Law Institute (ALI) took a seriously wrong turn by recognizing “renunciation” as a defense to the crime of conspiracy. Under the Model Penal Code formulation, a member of a conspiracy who later disavows the agreement and thwarts its objective (for example, by notifying authorities of the planned crime in order to prevent its completion) is afforded a complete defense to conspiracy liability. This defense has enormous implications for crimes involving national security and terrorism, which are typically planned covertly and involve extensive coordination among multiple actors.
January 2015, Vol. 67, No. 1
Reid Kress Weisbord, Trust Term Extension