Welcome to MASSACHUSETTS CRIMINAL LAW: A PROSECUTOR'S GUIDE Online.

On this site, you will find the full text of the 40th edition of the Prosecutor's Guide. The Guide presents a timely and comprehensive analysis of Massachusetts criminal law and its practice in the courts of the Commonwealth. It is fully updated each fall and during the year as new developments in the law warrant. Please consult our What's New page for the most recent changes. In addition, this online text is linked to a database of Massachusetts court decisions maintained by the Trial Court Law Libraries at masscases.com.

The text also cites and discusses significant criminal law cases decided by the Supreme Court, the federal Courts of Appeals, and state appellate courts from around the country. The principal focus, however, is on Massachusetts criminal law and its practice in the courts of the Commonwealth.

Access to the Guide is by annual subscription. If you are not yet a subscriber, please take the tour of a sample chapter from the Guide.

Please Note: If you are an employee of the Massachusetts Trial Court or an Assistant District Attorney, you have unlimited access to the Prosecutor's Guide web site thanks to licenses purchased on your behalf by the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library and the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, respectively. Please contact your office IT Department for access instructions.

Also law students at the following institutions have access through your school Law Library: Harvard, Suffolk, Boston College, Northeastern, Western New England School of Law, New England Law | Boston, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts.

Please note:

5/3/21:   Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" with a principal focus on issues of potential juror bias, the use of peremptory challenges, and post-verdict access to juror questionnaires, as well as noting new cases on the consent defense and the first complaint doctrine. The chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" has been revised to include new cases discussing the community caretaking doctrine and the quantum of suspicion necessary to justify an investigatory stop. Judge Stearns has also included a commentary on Torres v. Madrid, an important recent Supreme Court case discussing the use of force to effect an arrest.

4/19/21:   The chapters on "Motor Vehicle Offenses" have been revised to incorporate new cases on proof of operation and on leaving the scene and the Daigle decision on Breathalyzer refusal evidence, as well as to note important post-Camblin developments. The chapter on "Assault and Battery: Dangerous Weapon" has been revised with particular note of the holding in Commonwealth v. Colas regarding the pointing of a weapon and proof of an intent to kill.

Please see What's New for further details.

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Massachusetts Prosecutor's Guide Online
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