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In Massachusetts, a criminal defendant can seek a summons (or a subpoena) from the court directing a third party to produce evidence that is relevant to the defendant’s case.

According to Rule 17(a)(2) of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure,

A summons may…command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents, or other objects designated therein.

However, there are a number of conditions that the defendant must satisfy before the judge can issue such an order.

the party moving to subpoena documents to be produced before trial must establish good cause, satisfied by showing

(1) that the documents are evidentiary and relevant;

(2) that they are not otherwise procurable reasonably in advance of trial by exercise of due diligence;

(3) that the party cannot properly prepare for trial without such production and inspection in advance of trial and that the failure to obtain such inspection may tend to unreasonably delay the trial; and

(4) that the application [was] made in good faith and is not intended as a general fishing expedition.

Commonwealth v. Lampron, 441 Mass. 265 (2004).

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