Massachusetts law about DNA evidence

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on DNA evidence law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 22E State DNA database

MGL c. 278A Post-conviction access to forensic and scientific analysis

Massachusetts regulations

515 CMR 1 Collection, submission, receipt, identification, storage, and disposal of DNA samples

515 CMR 2 Testing and analysis, quality assurance, computerized storage, retrieval, and dissemination for the State DNA database

Federal laws

34 USC §§ 12591-12593 DNA identification

34 USC §§ 40701-40744 DNA identification

Rules and guidelines

Federal Rule of Evidence 702 Testimony by expert witnesses

Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, Section 702 Testimony by expert witnesses

Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, Section 703 Bases of opinion testimony by experts

Selected cases

Web sources

CODIS: Combined DNA Indexing System, FBI.
The national database of DNA evidence, "CODIS enables federal, state, and local crime labs to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking crimes to each other and to convicted offenders." Site includes statistics, standards, and more.

DOJ interim policy on emerging method to generate leads for unsolved violent crimes, U.S. Department of Justice.
Policy on forensic genetic genealogy.

Forensic DNA, National Institute of Justice.
The following topics are included: DNA Evidence Basics, Collecting DNA from Arrestees, Research, Evidence Backlogs, Post-Conviction Testing and Wrongful Convictions, Solving Cold Cases With DNA, and DNA and Property Crimes (use the site’s Search feature to locate them). 

Model jury instruction: inconclusive DNA testing, from Comm. v. Barnett, 482 Mass. 632 (2019), FN 8.

Reference manual on scientific evidence, 3rd ed., Federal Judicial Center.
pp. 55–127 — Reference Guide on Forensic Identification Expertise by Paul C. Giannelli, Edward J. Imwinkleried, and Joseph L. Peterson.
pp. 129–210 — Reference Guide on DNA Identification Evidence by David H. Kaye and George Sensabaugh.

Understanding DNA evidence: A guide for victim service providers, U.S. Department of Justice.
Fairly detailed guide to the collection of DNA evidence, sources of contamination, interpreting results, matches, and more.

What every law enforcement officer should know about DNA evidence, National Institute of Justice.
Explains ways to avoid contamination and includes chart of potential sources of DNA evidence.

Print sources

Crime and consequence: the collateral consequences of criminal conduct, MCLE, 4th ed. 2023. Chapter 5, DNA registry. 

Criminal law, 3rd ed. (Mass Practice v. 32), West Pub. Co., 2001 with supplement. Section 149 Forensic technology—DNA samples.

Criminal law forensic summit, 2018, MCLE, 2018.

Criminal practice and procedure, 4th ed. (Mass Practice v. 30B), Thomson Reuters, 2014 with supplement.  Section 42:30.50 Statutory postconviction access to forensic and scientific discovery.

DNA & criminal forensics, MCLE, 2020.

Mackenzie L. Brockmyre, "Getting it right: law enforcement's use of ancestry websites to catch criminals," 21 J. HIGH TECH. L. 165 (2021).  Available through the law libraries' document delivery service

McGlynn, Kayleigh E. “Remedying wrongful convictions through DNA testing: expanding post-conviction litigants’ access to DNA database searches to prove innocence”, v. 60 Boston College law review 709 (February 2019).

Massachusetts criminal law: a District Court prosecutor’s guide, Massachusetts Prosecutor’s Guide 2020. TOC: Identification evidence: Forensic identification: DNA Testing.

Massachusetts expert witnesses, 4th ed., 2022, MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 12, DNA Evidence.

Modern scientific evidence:  the law and science of expert testimony, annual, West. Chapter 30, DNA Typing.

Scientific evidence, 6th ed., LexisNexis, 2020. Chapter 18.

Trying murder and other homicide cases in Massachusetts, 4th ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 16.

"Validity, Construction, and Operation of State DNA Databases," 76 ALR 5th 239.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about DNA evidence

Last updated: May 16, 2024

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