Researchers tasked with finding the legislative history of New York criminal statutes have long faced a daunting challenge. By far the best source of this history is found in the records of the Temporary Commission on Revision of Penal Laws and Criminal Code, a state agency that functioned between 1961 and 1970. Unfortunately, these published documents were not widely distributed to law libraries, nor was their research value generally recognized. As a result, few libraries hold this collection, and the few libraries that do are unwilling to lend documents from it. Thus the legislative history has been difficult to come by – until now.
The State Supreme Court Criminal Term Library for New York County has just released a digital collection of these records, available on its website:
This free public resource is full-text searchable, and makes the documents accessible in PDF format. For the first time ever, the legislative history of most modern New York criminal law – substantive and procedural – will be easily accessible to researchers.