For Immediate Release - April 17, 2015

2015 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence Now Available

BOSTON, MA -- The Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law today announced the release of the 2015 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.  

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said, "I'm appreciative of the Executive Committee's time, effort and commitment to updating and expanding the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence to reflect new legal developments. The Guide is a highly respected and practical research tool and frequently used resource for the most current Massachusetts evidence law. Attorneys, judges, and self-represented litigants daily use and rely on the Guide in courts throughout the Commonwealth."

The 2015 edition is the seventh annual edition of the Guide.  It is available without charge on the court's website here, where it can be searched and downloaded. The Official Print Edition of the 2015 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 sitting judge 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 2015 edition of the Guide incorporates numerous decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court issued during 2014 and January 2015.  Additionally, this edition contains three new sections:  Section 1113, Opening Statements and Closing Arguments; Section 1114, Restitution; and Section 1115, Evidentiary Issues in Care and Protection and Termination of Parental Rights Cases.  Also, Section 1112, Eyewitness Identification, was substantially revised to account for significant decisions issued by the Supreme Judicial Court.  Finally, the advisory committee “restyled” pertinent sections of the 2015 edition so they conform to the 2011 amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence.  "Restyling" eliminates legalese and replaces it with "plain English" to make the text easier to read and understand, and does not represent any substantive change in the law.

In 2006, the Supreme Judicial Court established the 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, Hon. Stephen M. Limon, Hon. Barbara Hyland, Supreme Judicial Court senior attorney Pamela Lyons, New England Law Boston Professor Philip K. Hamilton, Boston University School of Law Professor Mark Petit, Ben Golden, Esq., and Appeals Court law clerk Jessica Frattaroli.