2020 Edition

Official Print Edition of the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law

The Flaschner Judicial Institute has once again worked with the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law to produce the Official Print Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, 2020 Edition. It is the only print edition with the exact same pagination, index and table of authorities as the version all Massachusetts state judges receive from the Flaschner Judicial Institute.

The Guide assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in an easy-to-use document organized similarly to the Federal Rules of Evidence, with extensive explanatory notes and citations. Everything in the Guide has been approved by the SJC as a valid statement of Massachusetts evidence law.

The 2020 edition of the Guide reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019, and incorporates dozens of new opinions issued by the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. An exception to the Guide’s currency is that one significant decision, Adoption of Luc, 484 Mass. 139 (2020), decided after the December 31, 2019 deadline, is included to make that decision immediately available to judges and attorneys practicing in the area of Care and Protection, Child Custody, and Termination of Parental Rights cases.

The 2020 edition contains significant revisions to the notes of Section 701 regarding opinion testimony by lay witnesses, Section 703 regarding bases of opinion testimony by experts, and the Introductory Note to Article VIII, Hearsay, on the topic of the right to confrontation. In addition, the 2020 edition includes significant revisions to the Guide’s Article XI miscellaneous provisions, including changes to the sections and notes in Section 1112 regarding eyewitness identifications and Section 1116 concerning peremptory challenges. The 2020 edition also revises the text to Section 804(a)(3) and its note to reflect a newly recognized criteria for a declarant’s unavailability in civil cases.

The 2020 edition also includes, for the first time, a chart that compares each section of the Guide to the corresponding Federal Rule of Evidence, if any. This is the committee’s first effort to undertake a wholesale comparison between the two bodies of law. The chart is intended to assist lawyers that practice in both Massachusetts and Federal courts, and also recognizes that many law schools now teach the law of evidence primarily through the study of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Publisher: Flaschner Judicial Institute (2020)


Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches


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