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  • PART IV CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • TITLE II PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • CHAPTER 278A POST CONVICTION ACCESS TO FORENSIC AND SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS
  • Section 7 Findings of fact and conclusions of law; criteria for allowing requested analysis; orders for discovery

Section 7. (a) After reviewing the motion, the prosecuting attorney’s response and after holding a hearing, the court shall state findings of fact and conclusions of law on the record, or shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law that support the decision to allow or deny a motion brought under section 3.

(b) The court shall allow the requested forensic or scientific analysis if each of the following has been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1) that the evidence or biological material exists;

(2) that the evidence or biological material has been subject to a chain of custody that is sufficient to establish that it has not deteriorated, been substituted, tampered with, replaced, handled or altered such that the results of the requested analysis would lack any probative value;

(3) that the evidence or biological material has not been subjected to the requested analysis for any of the reasons in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of paragraph (5) of subsection (b) of section 3;

(4) that the requested analysis has the potential to result in evidence that is material to the moving party’s identification as the perpetrator of the crime in the underlying case;

(5) that the purpose of the motion is not the obstruction of justice or delay; and

(6) that the results of the particular type of analysis being requested have been found to be admissible in courts of the commonwealth.

(c) The court on motion of any party, after notice to the opposing party and any third party from whom discovery is sought, and an opportunity to be heard, may authorize such discovery as provided for under Rule 30(c)(4) of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, from either party or any third party as is deemed appropriate, subject to appropriate protective orders or an order to the party seeking discovery to produce reciprocal discovery.

Such discovery may include items and biological materials from third parties, provided the party seeking discovery demonstrates that analysis of these items or biological material will, by a preponderance of the evidence, provide evidence material to the identification of a perpetrator of the crime.

If, in response to a motion made under subsection (c) of section 3, the court finds good cause for the moving party’s inability to obtain items or information required under subsection (b) of said section 3 and subsection (b) of section 7, the court may order discovery to assist the moving party in identifying the location and condition of evidence or biological material that was obtained in relation to the underlying case, regardless of whether it was introduced at trial or would be admissible. The court, when considering such discovery requests, shall not require the establishment of a prima facie case for relief under Rule 30 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure.