General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 38 Medical Examiners and Inquests - Section 8 Inquests

Section 8. The chief medical examiner or his designee may request the attorney general or the district attorney to direct that an inquest be held. The attorney general or district attorney may, regardless of whether or not action has been taken by the office of the chief medical examiner, require an inquest to be held in case of any death. The district court which has jurisdiction over the matter shall thereupon hold an inquest.

The court shall give seasonable notice of the time and place of the inquest to the department of telecommunications and energy, in any case of death by accident upon a public conveyance regulated by said department, and to the registry of motor vehicles in any case of death in which any motor vehicle is involved. Such notice shall also be given to any parent, spouse, or other member of the deceased’s immediate family or to the deceased’s legal representative or legal guardian.

Any person who has been identified by the attorney general or the district attorney, as the case may be, as the target of an investigation in connection with the death of the deceased may be present during the holding of such inquest and be represented by counsel, and may request leave of the court to present or examine witnesses, and shall at the completion of the court’s report of said inquest have the right to examine said report; provided, however, that no indictment shall be dismissed nor shall any evidence be suppressed for violation of the provisions of this paragraph. All other persons not required by law to attend may be excluded from the inquest; provided, however, that the parents, guardian or next of kin of the person whose death is the subject of the inquest shall be deemed to be interested persons who may be present during the holding of such inquest. The court may order, as it deems appropriate, that witnesses to be examined during the inquest be sequestered.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015