2012 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 2012 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 2012 edition is the fourth annual edition of the Guide. It is available without charge on the websites of the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court and Trial Court at www.mass.gov/courts/sjc/guide-to-evidence where it can be searched and downloaded. The Official Print Edition of the 2012 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 in the Commonwealth. http://www.flaschner.org/publications.htm
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 2012 edition of the Guide reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. In addition to incorporating dozens of new opinions issued in 2011 by the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, and the United States Supreme Court, the 2012 edition contains new sections addressing industry and safety standards (section 414); electronic or digital communication (Section 901[b]); consciousness of guilt or liability (Section 1110); and missing witness (Section 1111). In addition, the committee revised the Introductory Note to Article VIII, Hearsay, to address several opinions issued by the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Judicial Court that discuss the confrontation clause and hearsay in criminal cases.
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 Marc Kantrowitz, who chaired the Advisory Committee, chairs the Executive Committee and is the editor-in-chief of the Guide. The other members of the Executive Committee are: Hon. Peter W. Agnes (editor), Hon. David A. Lowy (editor), Clerk of the Appeals Court Joseph F. Stanton (reporter), Hon. Mark S. Coven, Supreme Judicial Court senior attorney Barbara F. Berenson, New England Law Boston Professor Philip K. Hamilton, attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey, and Appeals Court law clerks Emily Hamrock and Lydia Edwards.