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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 28A: Refusal of summoned witness to appear or testify; penalty

Section 28A. Any person who, having been summoned as a witness to give testimony or produce papers, by the authority of either branch of the general court, or both jointly, or under any provision of law, upon any matter under inquiry before either branch, or before any committee of either branch, or before any joint or special committee or special commission consisting in whole or in part of members of the general court, wilfully makes default or who, having appeared, refuses without constitutional right, to answer under oath or affirmation any question pertinent to the question under inquiry shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than one year, or both. If such refusal is before the general court or either branch thereof, no prosecution shall be started until an order therefor setting forth the facts constituting such failure or refusal is adopted and certified to the attorney general or to the appropriate district attorney. If such refusal is before a committee or commission, no prosecution shall be started until such committee or commission makes a report thereof to the general court or either branch and an order therefor setting forth the facts constituting such failure or refusal is adopted and certified to the attorney general or to the appropriate district attorney. When such order is adopted by the general court, such certification shall be made by the clerk of the senate and when adopted by either branch thereof such certification shall be made by the clerk of such branch. Upon receipt of such certification the attorney general or the said district attorney shall present the matter to the grand jury for its action. The provisions of this section shall be in addition to any constitutional power of the general court or either branch thereof to punish for contempt.