It just got easier to research the historic criminal statutes through our online resources!
Here’s a primer.
The current criminal code is based on a massive reorganization that was adopted by the Legislature in 1977. (Laws 1977, Chapter 142). The omnibus bill became effective on October 1, 1978.
The next year, the Legislature updated the new criminal code with another huge criminal code bill. (Laws 1978, Chapter 201). The 1978 bill became effective on October 1, 1978, the same date as the one adopted the prior year.
Legislative work on this revision had started several years earlier. It was referenced in the Message of Governor Williams at the opening of the Legislature in 1973 on page 38 of the 1973 Session Laws.
The legislators on the Criminal Code Revision Committee were the Executive Committee members of the Legislative Council, namely Speaker Akers, Representatives Barr and Brown, and Senators Kay, King, and Thompson. (1973 House Journal, page 562).
The Legislative Criminal Code Revision Committee led to the appointment of a panel comprised of judges, prosecutors, legislators, police, and other members representing the court system and the public. This blue-ribbon panel, named the Criminal Code Revision Commission, produced a report that was published in 1975.
The State of Arizona Research Library also has a digital copy on the Arizona Memory Project of the binder of resources considered by the Commission, including drafting committee minutes and worksheets.
If you are looking for the criminal statutes that pre-dated the 1978 Criminal Code, we have the Howell Code, which was the first compilation of laws of the Territory of Arizona. It was adopted in 1864 by the First Territorial Legislature. Take a look to see if your impression of the Wild West is historically accurate!
We also have the codes and Session Laws that followed the Howell Code, from territorial days to Statehood and up to the present. Our collection includes the superseded editions of the Arizona Revised Statutes.