Massachusetts State House.
Policy Library

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Wade

December 01, 2015

The Boston Bar Association (BBA) filed an amicus brief arguing that the lower court misinterpreted the new Massachusetts post-conviction DNA testing law, and erred in forcing the trial attorney to violate attorney-client privilege. The law, M.G.L. c. 278A, represents a major breakthrough for the state as a check against wrongful convictions, and it is vital to make sure it is properly implemented by the courts. The BBA provided much of the background and advocacy for this law through its Task Force on Wrongful Convictions and their resulting 2009 report, Getting It Right: Improving the Accuracy and Reliability of the Criminal Justice System in Massachusetts. On July 29, 2016, the SJC released its decision, holding in line with our brief on all counts – that the trial court judge misinterpreted the post-conviction DNA testing statute and erred in violating attorney-client privilege. Read our full statement on the case here and our Issue Spot blog coverage (Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege, Defending Access to Justice).