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.