District Attorney for the Northern District v. Superior Court DepartmentAnnotate this Case
In this case involving the issue of how to allocate responsibility for retaining and preserving exhibits after criminal trials the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the exhibit-transfer orders in two of three criminal cases and affirmed in part and remanded in part the order in the third case, holding that that superior court clerks' offices are responsible for maintaining exhibits post trial unless a clerk's office shows that there is good cause to believe retention would be impracticable.
The three postconviction orders at issue in this case, issued by three different superior court judges, required that exhibits in the clerk's office be transferred to local police departments. The district attorney for the northern district petitioned a single justice of the Court seeking to vacate the orders and to require that all exhibits that had been transferred to police departments be returned to the clerk's office. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the clerk's office memorandum in this case was insufficient to satisfy the good cause standard with respect to a baby carriage, but the record supported the judge's decisions with respect to a BB gun, firearms, and ammunition.