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  • PART IV CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • TITLE II PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • CHAPTER 276 SEARCH WARRANTS, REWARDS, FUGITIVES FROM JUSTICE, ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL. PROBATION OFFICERS AND BOARD OF PROBATION
  • Section 1 Complaint; warrant for designated property or articles; search incident to arrest; documentary evidence subject to privilege

Section 1. A court or justice authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases may, upon complaint on oath that the complainant believes that any of the property or articles hereinafter named are concealed in a house, place, vessel or vehicle or in the possession of a person anywhere within the commonwealth and territorial waters thereof, if satisfied that there is probable cause for such belief, issue a warrant identifying the property and naming or describing the person or place to be searched and commanding the person seeking such warrant to search for the following property or articles:

First, property or articles stolen, embezzled or obtained by false pretenses, or otherwise obtained in the commission of a crime;

Second, property or articles which are intended for use, or which are or have been used, as a means or instrumentality of committing a crime, including, but not in limitation of the foregoing, any property or article worn, carried or otherwise used, changed or marked in the preparation for or perpetration of or concealment of a crime;

Third, property or articles the possession or control of which is unlawful, or which are possessed or controlled for an unlawful purpose; except property subject to search and seizure under sections forty-two through fifty-six, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight;

Fourth, the dead body of a human being.

Fifth, the body of a living person for whom a current arrest warrant is outstanding.

A search conducted incident to an arrest may be made only for the purposes of seizing fruits, instrumentalities, contraband and other evidence of the crime for which the arrest has been made, in order to prevent its destruction or concealment; and removing any weapons that the arrestee might use to resist arrest or effect his escape. Property seized as a result of a search in violation of the provisions of this paragraph shall not be admissible in evidence in criminal proceedings.

The word “property”, as used in this section shall include books, papers, documents, records and any other tangible objects.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate, impair or limit powers of search and seizure granted under other provisions of the General Laws or under the common law.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, no search and seizure without a warrant shall be conducted, and no search warrant shall issue for any documentary evidence in the possession of a lawyer, psychotherapist, or a clergyman, including an accredited Christian Science practitioner, who is known or may reasonably be assumed to have a relationship with any other person which relationship is the subject of a testimonial privilege, unless, in addition to the other requirements of this section, a justice is satisfied that there is probable cause to believe that the documentary evidence will be destroyed, secreted, or lost in the event a search warrant does not issue. Nothing in this paragraph shall impair or affect the ability, pursuant to otherwise applicable law, to search or seize without a warrant or to issue a warrant for the search or seizure of any documentary evidence where there is probable cause to believe that the lawyer, psychotherapist, or clergyman in possession of such documentary evidence has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. For purposes of this paragraph, “documentary evidence” includes, but is not limited to, writings, documents, blueprints, drawings, photographs, computer printouts, microfilms, X-rays, files, diagrams, ledgers, books, tapes, audio and video recordings, films or papers of any type or description.