Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–1408. Possession of evidence and property.

*NOTE: This section has been amended by emergency legislation with identical permanent legislation that will become effective in December, 2021.*

(a) At the scene of any death subject to investigation under § 5-1405(b), the medical examiner, a medicolegal investigator, or a law enforcement officer shall take possession of any objects or articles which, in the opinion of the medical examiner, medicolegal investigator, or law enforcement officer, may be useful in establishing the cause and manner of death or the identity of the decedent and shall hold them as evidence. The Mayor shall issue regulations concerning the evidence in the possession of the CME and the transfer of that evidence to law enforcement agencies or the United States Attorney’s Office. The regulations shall include requirements on the length of time evidence shall be preserved by the CME, and shall require that toxicology and histology specimens be preserved for periods of time consistent with the accreditation requirements of the National Association of Medical Examiners.

(b) In the absence of the next of kin, a police officer, a medical examiner or a medicolegal investigator may take possession of all property of value found on or in the custody of the decedent. If possession is taken of the property, the police officer, medical examiner or medicolegal investigator shall make an exact inventory of it and deliver the property to the Property Clerk of the Metropolitan Police Department. The Mayor shall issue regulations concerning the transfer of any such property from the OCME.