(information last updated Fall 2017)

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“Whoever enters any premises in which animals are being housed . . . and, without authority, injures, damages, commits any trespass upon, removes or carries away any data, equipment, facility or property . . . shall, if such injury, damage, trespass, removal, carrying away, interference or release is malicious and wilful, be punished [by a maximum of ten years in prison or $25,000 and two and one-half years jail] or if such injury, damage, trespass, removal, carrying away, interference or release is wilful but not malicious, be punished [by a maximum of five years or $5,000 and two and one-half years jail].”  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 104B.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  In order to be guilty of trespass, a person entering land must “hav[e] been forbidden so to do . . . whether directly or by notice posted thereon . . . .”  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 120.

Other Provisions:

Trespass against “any public source of water or public water supply facilities or land” carries a heightened penalty.  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 123A.


See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“Whoever (1) willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 21/2 years or by both such fine and imprisonment.  The conduct, acts or threats described in this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device or electronic communication device including, but not limited to, any device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.”  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 43.


Use of Information:

Although incomplete, our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.


Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is a good ground to support” the claim.  Mass. R. Civ. P. 11.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.”  Mass. R. Evid. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Daubert standard with emphasis on general acceptance.  See Com. v. Hoose, 467 5 N.E.3d 843, 861 (2014); Com. v. Lanigan, 641 N.E.2d 1342, 1349 (1994).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.