Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–1412. Maintenance of records; annual report.

(a) The CME shall be responsible for maintaining full and complete records and files, properly indexed, giving the name, if known, of every person whose death is investigated, the place where the body was found, the date, cause and manner of death and all other relevant information and reports of the medical examiner concerning the death. The CME shall issue a death certificate in all appropriate cases.

(a-1) Records and files related to an open investigation of a homicide shall be retained for 65 years from the date the CME initiates its investigation of the homicide. Other records and files maintained under subsection (a) of this section shall be retained by the CME for periods of time established by regulations issued pursuant to § 5-1417. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “open investigation” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 5-113.31(10).

(b) The records and files maintained under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be open to inspection by the Mayor, or Mayor’s authorized representative, the United States Attorney and the United States Attorney’s assistants, the Metropolitan Police Department, or any other law enforcement agency or official, and the Child Fatality Review Committee when necessary for the discharge of its official duties; upon request, to such persons, the CME shall promptly deliver to such persons copies of records relating to the deaths as to which further investigation may be advisable.

(c) Any other person with a legitimate interest may obtain copies of records maintained pursuant to subsection (a) of this section upon such conditions and payment of such fees as may be prescribed by regulation by the Mayor. If such person fails to meet the prescribed conditions, such person may obtain copies of such records pursuant to court order if the court is satisfied that such person has a legitimate interest.

(d) The CME shall prepare an annual report to the Mayor which includes information on the number of autopsies performed, statistics as to the causes of deaths, and any other relevant information the Mayor may require. The annual report shall be open to inspection by the public. The annual report shall not identify by name, deceased persons examined.


(Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 2913, 47 DCR 6308; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 4619(c), 48 DCR 6981; July 15, 2004, D.C. Law 15-174, § 201(b), 51 DCR 3677.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 11-2309.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1413.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-28 substituted “official, and the Child Fatality Review Committee when necessary for the discharge of its official duties” for “official” in subsec. (b).

D.C. Law 15-174 added subsec. (a-1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 2913 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 19(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-40, April 25, 2001, 48 DCR 5917).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 19(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Legislative Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-82, July 9, 2001, 48 DCR 6355).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 19(c) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Temporary Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-20, September 6, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 9090).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority Pursuant to Title XXIX of D.C. Law 13-172, the “Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Act of 2000” Creating the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, see Mayor’s Order 2001-04, January 5, 2001 ( 48 DCR 938).