2009 California Government Code - Section 27520-27521.1 :: Article 2.5. Autopsy

GOVERNMENT CODE
SECTION 27520-27521.1

27520.  (a) The coroner shall perform or cause to be performed an
autopsy on a decedent, for which an autopsy has not already been
performed, if the surviving spouse requests him to do so in writing.
If there is no surviving spouse, the coroner shall perform the
autopsy if requested to do so in writing by a surviving child or
parent, or if there is no surviving child or parent, by the next of
kin of the deceased.
   (b) The coroner may perform or cause to be performed an autopsy on
a decedent, for which an autopsy has already been performed, if the
surviving spouse requests him to do so in writing. If there is no
surviving spouse, the coroner may perform the autopsy if requested to
do so in writing by a surviving child or parent, or if there is no
surviving child or parent, by the next of kin of the deceased.
   (c) The cost of an autopsy requested pursuant to either
subdivision (a) or (b) shall be borne by the person requesting that
it be performed.

27521.  (a) Any postmortem examination or autopsy conducted at the
discretion of a coroner upon an unidentified body or human remains
shall be subject to this section.
   (b) A postmortem examination or autopsy shall include, but shall
not be limited to, the following procedures:
   (1) Taking of all available fingerprints and palms prints.
   (2) A dental examination consisting of dental charts and dental
X-rays of the deceased person's teeth, which may be conducted on the
body or human remains by a qualified dentist as determined by the
coroner.
   (3) The collection of tissue, including a hair sample, or body
fluid samples for future DNA testing, if necessary.
   (4) Frontal and lateral facial photographs with the scale
indicated.
   (5) Notation and photographs, with a scale, of significant scars,
marks, tattoos, clothing items, or other personal effects found with
or near the body.
   (6) Notations of observations pertinent to the estimation of the
time of death.
   (7) Precise documentation of the location of the remains.
   (c) The postmortem examination or autopsy of the unidentified body
or remains may include full body X-rays.
   (d) The coroner shall prepare a final report of investigation in a
format established by the Department of Justice. The final report
shall list or describe the information collected pursuant to the
postmortem examination or autopsy conducted under subdivision (b).
   (e) The body of an unidentified deceased person may not be
cremated or buried until the jaws (maxilla and mandible with teeth)
and other tissue samples are retained for future possible use. Unless
the coroner has determined that the body of the unidentified
deceased person has suffered significant deterioration or
decomposition, the jaws shall not be removed until immediately before
the body is cremated or buried. The coroner shall retain the jaws
and other tissue samples for one year after a positive identification
is made, and no civil or criminal challenges are pending, or
indefinitely.
   (f) If the coroner with the aid of the dental examination and any
other identifying findings is unable to establish the identity of the
body or human remains, the coroner shall submit dental charts and
dental X-rays of the unidentified deceased person to the Department
of Justice on forms supplied by the Department of Justice within 45
days of the date the body or human remains were discovered.
   (g) If the coroner with the aid of the dental examination and
other identifying findings is unable to establish the identity of the
body or human remains, the coroner shall submit the final report of
investigation to the Department of Justice within 180 days of the
date the body or human remains were discovered.

27521.1.  The law enforcement agency investigating the death of an
unidentified person shall report the death to the Department of
Justice, in a format acceptable to the Department of Justice, no
later than 10 calendar days after the date the body or human remains
were discovered.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. California may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.