For Immediate Release - February 18, 2016

2016 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 2016 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.  

"The Executive Committee has updated and expanded the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence to reflect new legal developments, and I am most appreciative of their excellent work," Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said. "The Guide is an invaluable practical research tool and important resource for understanding Massachusetts evidence law. Attorneys, judges, and self-represented litigants rely on the Guide daily in courts throughout the Commonwealth."

The 2016 edition is the eighth 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 2016 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 2016 edition of the Guide reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. In addition to incorporating dozens of new opinions issued in 2015 by the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court, the 2016 edition contains substantial revisions, including: (1) an expansion of Section 403 to include the admissibility of similar occurrence evidence and courtroom experiments and demonstrations; (2) an in-depth discussion of aspects of the attorney-client privilege in Section 502; (3) an overhaul of Section 509 (Identity of Informer, Surveillance Location, and Protected Witness Privileges); and (4) a modification of Section 511 (Privilege Against Self-Incrimination) to include new rules on criminal responsibility examinations and the use of suppressed statements.

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; Benjamin K. Golden, Esq.; Edmund P. Daley III, Esq.; and Appeals Court Law Clerk Jess Cochrane, Esq.