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General Laws

Section 47A. The police commissioner, chief superintendent or other officer or board at the head of each police department in the commonwealth shall appoint a police officer to act as custodian of all controlled substances and narcotic drugs seized in the course of any arrest or investigation. Such custodian shall be designated as the “evidence officer”.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, controlled substances or narcotic drugs seized in cases under the provisions of this chapter where the violation is a misdemeanor and requiring chemical analyses which are to be performed at a laboratory operated by the department of state police or the University of Massachusetts medical center may be mailed to or from the place of such analyses by using the registered mail service of the United States Postal Service, and testimony from a law enforcement officer that he mailed or received such substances or narcotic drugs by registered mail together with the return receipts accompanying such mailing shall be prima facie evidence that said substances or drugs are the substances or drugs so seized.

At any time after the seizure of a controlled substance or narcotic drug, a district attorney or the attorney general may petition the superior court in the name of the commonwealth to order the destruction of said controlled substance or narcotic drug seized in the course of any arrest or investigation. The court shall order the commonwealth to give notice by certified or registered mail to the known defendant and his attorney and shall promptly, but not less than two weeks after notice, hold a hearing on the petition. At such hearing, the court shall hear evidence from the parties on the issue of destruction, the extent of the proposed destruction, the preservation of samples, the inspection, examination and testing of the controlled substance or narcotic drugs. The court, after such hearing, shall have the power to order the forfeiture and destruction of such controlled substance or narcotic drug as it so determines, under procedures and to the extent as so determined by the court, with the remainder to be kept under the provisions of this section and shall thereupon issue a final order in writing.

Such final order shall provide for the analysis of representative and fair samples of such forfeited controlled substances or narcotic drugs by a chemist of the department of state police or by a chemist at the University of Massachusetts medical school who shall issue a signed certificate, on oath, of the results of such analysis. Such certificate shall be sworn to before a justice of the peace or a notary public and shall be prima facie evidence of the composition and quality of such controlled substances or narcotic drugs when introduced as evidence before a grand jury or any court proceeding in the commonwealth. Upon completion of such analysis, such order shall direct the evidence officer to deliver such controlled substances or narcotic drugs ordered destroyed to the department of state police for such destruction or disposition in any way not prohibited by law; provided, however, that the evidence officer shall make proper provisions for maintaining and securing such samples as may be directed by the court.

The court having jurisdiction shall, upon completion of a trial or other disposition by the trial court and after the expiration of the period for an appeal from that trial or disposition, in writing, order such forfeited controlled substances or narcotic drugs not destroyed prior thereto to be caused to be delivered forthwith by the evidence officer to the department of state police for destruction or disposition in any way not prohibited by law. In the event of an appeal as prescribed by law, the evidence officer shall retain possession of such controlled substances or narcotic drugs until final disposition of the case, at which time, the district attorney or attorney general may petition the superior court for summary destruction of such controlled substances or narcotic drugs.

The department of state police shall keep a record of the place where such controlled substances or narcotic drugs were seized, of the kinds and quantities of drugs received, by whose order the controlled substance or narcotic drugs were received, by whom the controlled substance or narcotic drugs were delivered and received, the date and manner of destruction or disposition of such controlled substances or narcotic drugs, and a report under oath of such destruction or disposition shall be made to the court, which record shall be open to inspection by attorneys of record in the case and by all federal and state officers charged with enforcement of federal and state narcotic laws.

The department of state police shall keep a complete record of all drugs received and of all drugs disposed of, showing the exact kinds, quantities and forms of such drugs; the persons from whom received and the dates of receipt, disposal or destruction, which record shall be open to inspection by all federal and state officers charged with enforcement of federal and state narcotic laws.

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