Post-Conviction DNA Testing:  Massachusetts

Posted February 23, 2012

On February 9, 2012, Massachusetts became the 49th state to enact a law that provides a mechanism for post-conviction DNA testing. Senate Bill 1987 (2011), introduced by Senator Cynthia Stone-Creem, enables a convicted person claiming factual innocence to file a motion requesting the testing of biological evidence in the court of their conviction. If their motion satisfies the statutory standards by a “preponderance of the evidence” then the requested samples will be analyzed by an accredited laboratory. 

The law also requires that rules for evidence retention be developed, provides punishments for those who willfully destroy evidence samples and assigns the cost of the testing to the requester, unless they are indigent.

To see summaries of the other 48 state post-conviction statutes visit NCSL’s DNA Laws Database, or our chart outlining key elements of the laws.