I really don't see the problem. Since the puzzle gives a hint to the theme as BROKENCODES, I think it's very crosswordpuzzle-ish to assume that you can read the theme words as "Code of ...". And certainly "code of silence", "code of ethics", and "code of honor", are familiar phrases. A "code of law" is the same as a civil code, a codified body of statutes. And "code of law" gets over 150,000 hits on Google, so it's not just me who thinks it's a familiar phrase.
I don't think the BROKENCODES type of theme would ever be used in a commuter puzzle, or in USA Today, or in a tabloid newspaper. But the LA Times provides us with high-quality themed puzzles, thank goodness!