Press Release

Press Release 2019 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence Now Available

For immediate release:
2/25/2019
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Appeals Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for 2019 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence Now Available

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law today announced the release of the 2019 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.

"I commend the members of the Executive Committee for their excellent work updating the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence to reflect new legal developments," Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said. "Attorneys, judges, and self-represented litigants rely on the Guide as an invaluable practical research tool and important resource for understanding Massachusetts evidence law."

The 2019 edition is the eleventh annual edition of the Guide. An electronic version is available without charge on the court's website https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-guide-to-evidence, where it can be searched and downloaded. The Official Print Edition of the 2019 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence is available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute, http://www.flaschner.org/publications/, 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 2019 edition of the Guide reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. In addition to incorporating dozens of new opinions issued in 2018 by the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court, the 2019 edition contains substantial revisions, including: substantial revisions to the notes to Section 404(b) regarding admissibility of crimes, wrongs, or other acts, the text to Section 504(c) regarding parent-child disqualification, the text and note to Section 611(b)(1) regarding the scope of cross-examination, the note to Section 613(a)(2) and (3) concerning impeachment evidence, the note to Section 704 regarding improper vouching, the note to Section 801 regarding the use of deposition evidence at trial, added Section 1112(b)(4) and a new note regarding suggestive identification not resulting from police procedures, revised the text and notes to Section 1115 (Evidentiary Issues in Care and Protection, Child Custody, and Termination of Parental Rights Cases), and expanded the note to Section 1116(b)(1) regarding peremptory challenges. Finally, in order to keep the Guide to a manageable length, we have eliminated many long quotations in favor of briefer paraphrases, streamlined some notes and eliminated redundant citations.

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. Mark S. Coven (editor) of the District Court, attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey (editor), Clerk of the Appeals Court Joseph F. Stanton (reporter), Hon. Gregory I. Massing of the Appeals Court, Hon. Heidi Brieger of the Superior Court, Hon. Barbara M. Hyland of the Probate and Family Court, Hon. Stephen M. Limon of the Juvenile Court, Hon. Gloria Y. Tan of the Juvenile Court, Supreme Judicial Court senior attorney A.W. "Chip" Phinney, Supreme Judicial Court assistant legal counsel Timothy E. Maguire, New England Law Boston Professor Philip K. Hamilton, Boston University School of Law Professor Mark Pettit, Boston College Law School Professor R. Michael Cassidy, Benjamin K. Golden, Esq., Edmund P. Daley III, Esq., Appeals Court law clerks Mary E. McBride, Esq., Sean C. Connolly, Esq., and Robert S. Murphy, Esq., Hon. R. Marc Kantrowitz (editor-in-chief emeritus), and Supreme Judicial Court Justice David A. Lowy, who has been a member of the Committee since its inception, and now serves as a consulting member.

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Media Contact for 2019 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence Now Available

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Appeals Court 

The Appeals Court is the Commonwealth's intermediate appellate court.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.
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