Massachusetts CORI Law and How It Works

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6 Section 167 (G.L. c. 6 §167) defines CORI in Massachusetts. CORI is an acronym for Criminal Offender Record Information. CORI contains data and records assembled by a Massachusetts criminal justice agency pertaining to an individual. The information is limited to that generated after the initiation of a criminal proceeding and it is only for offenses that are punishable by a house of correction or state prison sentence. CORI pertains to people seventeen or older unless the person under seventeen was prosecuted as an adult. As of now the only information contained in the CORI record is court generated material, meaning that arrests, parole and prison and house of correction release dates do not make the database.

Access to CORI in Massachusetts

A common question asked by people who have had some involvement with the Massachusetts Criminal Justice system is “who can access CORI”. The answer is somewhat complicated. G.L. c. 6 §172 provides a list of agencies and persons who under certain circumstances can gain access to the information. In essence, Government agencies and criminal justice agencies typically have access to this material. Private persons can access someone’s CORI if it is determined that the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the offenders’ privacy rights. In some cases victims of crimes can have access. The offender himself can see the CORI data as well.

CORI Reform Act of 2010 in Massachusetts

In 2010 the Massachusetts legislature amended the CORI laws. This has worked to the benefit of many people had been charged with crimes in Massachusetts. Much of this law goes into effect on May 4, 2012. Here are some key points:

  1. Sealing records.

    The law right prior to May 4, 2012 permits sealing felonies fifteen years after the completion of parole or probation. For misdemeanors the waiting period was ten years.

    Under the new CORI law the period for felonies is reduced to ten years, five years for misdemeanors. The clock starts after the release from prison, or when there is no sentence of incarceration then once the case is resolved in court.

  2. Non-Convictions and Continuances Without a Finding

    The law right now permits dissemination of CORI even if someone was acquitted of the charges, the case was continued without a finding or the case was dismissed or nolle prossed. Essentially, anyone who was charged with a crime, even if the person was wrongfully charged, was vulnerable to disclosure of the charges.

    Under the new CORI law non-convictions and continuances without a finding that have been dismissed after the continuation period are not accessible.

Hire a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer

The Massachusetts CORI law has impacted people for years in ways that have been unfair or unjust. Innocent people get accused of crimes regularly. People who have been the subject of Identity Fraud and Identity Theft have CORI entries that are inaccurate and not reflective of that person’s involvement with the Massachusetts Criminal Justice System. The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has been successfully fighting for people’s rights and defending the accused in Massachusetts for over twenty years. Anyone charged with a crime needs to hire an experienced lawyer. Our office can be reached 24/7 by calling 617-263-6800 or by clicking here and emailing us. Call us now so that we can begin fighting for your rights.

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