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The Mississippi Penal Code was determined at the turn of this century to be the fifty-second-worst penal code in the United States. As much as Mississippi is often used to being-and is even proudly defiant for being-ranked low on national scales, this is an issue about which we should be deeply concerned. A well-drafted penal code is crucial because it is at the core of the primary value of justice. While we are experienced with being ranked last in many situations, often unfairly, the criticism of the Mississippi Penal Code is accurate. Although many of the cited defects are ameliorated by court opinions, it is not desirable that the penal law should be so dependent on numerous sources outside the code. This article is the first in a series of articles that will present the case for penal-code reform and explain the Committee's rationales. This series of articles is intended to replace comments, which the Committee did not write, although there are extensive comments to the Model Penal Code, on which these proposals are based. This first article will introduce and explain the Committee's process. In addition, this article will begin the explanation of the important areas of change, starting with states of mind and homicide. Future articles will explain the other groups of crimes and other issues that the Committee has addressed. In this article, Section II will explain the methodology of the Committee's work; Section III will explain the Model Penal Code because it was used as the basis for the Committee's proposals; Section IV will discuss the criticism of the current code; Section V will explain how the reform would improve two important areas of the Mississippi Code: state of mind and homicide. Section VI will conclude.

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