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Massachusetts Uniform Rules on Subpoenas to Court Officials Rule 2: Subpoena Duces Tecum to Court Officials

[Disclaimer]

1) A party shall not be entitled to serve a subpoena on a clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of records of the Trial Court to compel the production of court records [Note 1] or administrative records [Note 2] which said court official holds in his or her official capacity and said court official shall not be required to respond to such a subpoena.

2) In accordance with the applicable rules of procedure [Note 3], a clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of records of the Trial Court shall provide an attested copy of court records or administrative records to a party who requests an attested copy of such records unless the records have been sealed or impounded by statute, court rule, standing order, administrative directive, or order of impoundment. Access to sealed or impounded court records or administrative records shall be governed by the applicable statute, court rule, standing order, administrative directive, or Trial Court Rule VIII, Uniform Rules on Impoundment Procedure in the case of orders of impoundment.

3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2), a clerk-magistrate,
register, recorder, or other official keeper of records of the Trial Court may deny a request for an attested copy of administrative records if she or he determines that production of such records either may unduly impair the Trial Court's ability to perform its necessary functions or may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

4) A party whose request for an attested copy of court records or administrative records is denied shall be entitled to ask the court in which the underlying matter is pending to order the clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of records who denied the request to provide the party with an attested copy of the records provided said records have not been sealed or impounded. The party shall request the order by written motion and shall specify the purpose(s) for which the records are sought. Except for good cause shown, a copy of the motion shall be served on the court official who denied the request. Said official shall be entitled to provide the court with a brief written statement of his or her reasons for denying the request. Where it would assist an appropriate determination, the justice before whom the motion is pending may order the clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of records to provide to the court a copy of the records for inspection in camera.

5) A party who receives an attested copy of court records or administrative records of the Trial Court pursuant to the provisions of this rule shall be required to pay the clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of records the regular fee for an attested copy of such records unless the requesting party is a court, the Office of the Attorney General, an office of a district attorney, any other agency of the Commonwealth, a police prosecutor, or a party represented by an attorney provided by the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Massachusetts General Law c. 261, §§ 27A-27G shall apply to any request on behalf of an indigent party who is not represented by an attorney provided by the Committee for Public Counsel Services and in such case the cost of attested copies shall be deemed an "extra cost" as defined in § 27A.


[Note 1] For purposes of this rule the term "court records" shall include , but is not limited to, indexes, dockets, case papers, pleadings, records, reports, exhibits, electronic and stenographic recordings of court proceedings, created by, filed with, or kept and maintained by a clerk-magistrate, register, recorder, or other official keeper of court records in connection with any civil or criminal proceeding in any communicable form including, but not limited to, written, typed or printed records, microfiche records, microfilm records, audio and video recordings, and electronic or computerized records.

[Note 2] For purposes of this rule "administrative records" shall mean those records related to the administrative rather than the judicial functions of the Trial Court. Such records shall include, but are not limited to, audit forms and records, budget forms and records, MMARS/accounting forms and records, payroll forms and records, procurement forms and records, personnel records, and correspondence.

[Note 3] Mass.R.Civ.P. 44 and Mass.R.Crim.P. 40

As added, effective September 1, 1992