For Immediate Release - February 07, 2014

2014 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence Now Available

The Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law today announce the release of the 2014 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence . The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recommend use of the Guide by the bench, bar, and public.

Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland stated:  "I commend the members of the executive committee for their continued commitment to excellence by updating and expanding the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence to reflect new legal developments. The Guide is an outstanding and practical research tool that has quickly become a highly respected and well-used source of the current Massachusetts evidence law. Attorneys, judges, and self-represented litigants daily use the Guide in courts throughout the Commonwealth."

The 2014 edition is the sixth annual edition of the Guide. It is available without charge on the Massachusetts Court System website where it can be searched and downloaded. The Official Print Edition of the 2014 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence is available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute , which is again providing a complimentary copy to every Judge and appointed and elected Clerk in the Commonwealth. 

The Massachusetts Guide to Evidence assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in an easy-to-use document organized similarly to the Federal Rules of Evidence. The Guide includes extensive explanatory notes and citations to pertinent authorities.

The 2014 edition of the Guide reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. In addition to incorporating dozens of new opinions issued in 2013 by the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, and the United States Supreme Court, the 2014 edition contains the following new materials:  a section discussing the use of motions in limine (Section 103(e)); (2) an expansion of Section 404(a)(2)(b) to reflect the additional purposes for which character evidence may be offered by the accused in a criminal case and in rebuttal by the prosecution; (3) a synopsis of new case law concerning the scope of the attorney-client privilege under Section 502; (4) a new section 611(g) discussing the use of stipulations in both civil and criminal cases; (5) a clarification of the distinction between lay witness opinion testimony and expert witness opinion testimony in the Note to Section 701; (6) new cases addressing the evolving jurisprudence under the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause; and (7) in Sections 801-804, a reorganization and improved explanation of the law dealing with hearsay and its exceptions, including, in particular, a clarification of the state of mind exception.

In 2006, the Supreme Judicial Court established a 17-member Advisory Committee to prepare a Massachusetts Guide to Evidence at the request of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. In 2008, the Supreme Judicial Court appointed the Executive Committee of the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law to monitor and incorporate new legal developments and produce annual new editions of the Guide. Appeals Court Judge Peter Agnes chairs the Executive Committee and is the editor-in-chief of the Guide. The other members of the Executive Committee are: Hon. David A. Lowy (editor), attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey (editor), Clerk of the Appeals Court Joseph F. Stanton (reporter), Hon. Mark S. Coven, Supreme Judicial Court senior attorney Pamela Lyons, New England Law Boston Professor Philip K. Hamilton, Boston University School of Law Professor Mark Petit, and Appeals Court law clerk Tom Maxim.