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The text of new Rule 23 and the initial paragraph of the Reporter’s Notes, which explains the reason for its creation is reproduced here:

(a) Essential Elements. Any stipulation to an essential element of a charged offense entered by the parties before or during trial shall be in writing and signed by the prosecutor, the defendant, and defense counsel. Any such stipulation shall be read to the jury before the close of the Commonwealth’s case and may be introduced into evidence.

(b) Other Stipulations. Any other stipulation shall be placed on the record before the close of evidence and may be read or otherwise communicated to the jury or introduced into evidence in the discretion of the court.

Added April 29, 2015, effective July 1, 2015.

Reporter’s Notes: Rule 23 is intended to fill a gap in the Rules of Criminal Procedure identified by the Supreme Judicial Court in Commonwealth v. Ortiz, 466 Mass. 475 (2013). The rule provides for the manner in which stipulations of fact agreed to by the parties before or during trial are to be memorialized and used at trial. Rule 11 governs stipulations of fact agreed to at the pretrial conference, but prior to Rule 23 there were no rules that applied to such stipulations reached after the filing of the pretrial conference report at the pretrial hearing. Rule 23 remedies that deficiency, supplementing Rule 11’s provisions concerning stipulations of fact.

The full version of the Reporter’s notes provide greater detail on sections a and b.

 

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