Exemptions to the Public Records Law

Please note that certain records or portions thereof are exempt from disclosure under the public records law and those records will be withheld.   Examples of exempt records include:

  • materials pertaining to on-going investigations or prosecutions (G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(f));
  • personal identifying information (G.L. c. 4, § 7 (26)(c));
  • grand jury minutes and related materials (G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(a) & (f); Mass. R. Crim. P. 5(d));
  • medical, health, and hospital records (G.L. c. 4, § 7 (26)(c));
  • autopsy reports (G.L. c. 4, § 7 (26)(a) & (c);  G.L. c. 38, § 2);
  • attorney work product and materials protected by the attorney client privilege (G.L. c. 4 § 7 (26)(d); DaRosa v. City of New Bedford, 471 Mass. 446 (2015); Suffolk Construction Co., Inc. v.  Division of Capital Asset Management, 449 Mass. 444 (2007));
  • materials pertaining to juvenile delinquency cases (G.L. c. 119, § 60A);
  • Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) (G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(a); G.L. c. 6, §§167A, 172);
  • reports of rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence (G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(a); G.L. c. 41, § 97D); and personnel files (G.L. c. 4, § 7 (26)(c)) .

For a complete listing of the exemptions to the Public Records Law, please see “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” available at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf links to PDF file.

In keeping with the exemptions noted above, some records will be produced in redacted form.  You will receive a letter from this Office explaining the particular exemptions that apply to your request.

In accordance with G.L. c. 66, § 10(d), you may be assessed a fee for the costs associated with the production of public records.  This Office will contact you regarding the charges applicable to your request.

Under the Massachusetts Statewide Record Retention schedule, this Office is only obligated to retain records for prescribed lengths of time.  The Massachusetts Statewide Records Retention Schedule is available at:  https://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcpdf/0211.pdf links to PDF file.

Please be advised that certified copies of court records are not available from this Office.  You may be able to obtain such records from the clerk’s office in the applicable district court or the superior court in your county.  For a listing of judicial records that may be available from the appropriate clerk’s office, please see the “Guidelines on the Public’s Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records,” available at:  http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/sjc/docs/pubaccess.pdf links to PDF file.

If you are attempting to obtain a copy of your own criminal history, please contact the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.  Contact information for DCJIS is available at:  http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dcjis/.  If you are seeking information related to the sealing or expungement of records, please see “A Guide to Public Access, Sealing & Expungement of District Court Records,” available at :  http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/courts-and-judges/courts/district-court/pubaccesscourtrecords.pdf links to PDF file.

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