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HF 3636

as introduced - 84th Legislature (2005 - 2006) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/16/2006

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to coroners; modifying and updating the coroner and medical examiners
law; providing criminal penalties; amending Minnesota Statutes 2004, sections
390.005; 390.01; 390.04; 390.11; 390.111; 390.15; 390.17; 390.21; 390.221;
390.23; 390.25; 390.31, subdivision 1; Minnesota Statutes 2005 Supplement,
section 390.05; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter
390; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2004, sections 390.006; 390.06; 390.07;
390.16; 390.19; 390.20; 390.24; 390.31, subdivisions 2, 3; 390.33; 390.34;
390.35; 390.36.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.005, is amended to read:


390.005 ELECTION OR APPOINTMENT, ELIGIBILITY; VACANCIES;
REMOVAL.

Subdivision 1.

deleted text beginCounty electiondeleted text endnew text begin Selection of coronernew text end.

A coroner deleted text beginshalldeleted text endnew text begin maynew text end be
elected deleted text beginin each countydeleted text endnew text begin, new text endas prescribed by section 382.01, deleted text beginexcept as provided in this sectiondeleted text endnew text begin
or appointed in each county
new text end.

Subd. 2.

Appointment by resolution.

deleted text beginIn a county where the office of coroner has
not been abolished,
deleted text end The board of county commissioners maynew text begin,new text end by resolutionnew text begin,new text end state its
intention to fill the office new text beginof coroner new text endby appointment. The resolution must be adopted at
least six months before the end of the term of the incumbent coronernew text begin, if electednew text end. After the
resolution is adopted, the board shall fill the office by appointing a person not less than
30 days before the end of the incumbent's term. The appointed coroner shall serve for a
term of office determined by the board beginning upon the expiration of the term of the
incumbent. The term must not be longer than four years.

If there is a vacancy in the new text beginelected new text endoffice deleted text beginin the countydeleted text end, the board may by resolution,
state its intention to fill the office by appointment. When the resolution is adopted, the
board shall fill the office by appointment immediately. The coroner shall serve for a term
determined by the board. The term must not be longer than four years.

new text begin Subd. 2a. new text end

new text begin Medical examiner. new text end

new text begin A county medical examiner shall be appointed by the
board of county commissioners. The term must not be longer than four years.
new text end

Subd. 3.

deleted text beginEducational requirementsdeleted text endnew text begin Qualificationsnew text end.

deleted text begin A coroner must have
successfully completed academic courses in pharmacology, surgery, pathology, toxicology,
and physiology. However, if a board of county commissioners determines that the office
of coroner shall not be elective and it cannot appoint any person meeting the educational
qualifications as coroner, the board may:
deleted text end

deleted text begin (1) appoint any qualified person, whether or not a resident of the county; or
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2) if no qualified person can be found, appoint a person who is serving or has served
as deputy coroner, whether or not a resident of the county.
deleted text end new text begin (a) The medical examiner must
be a forensic pathologist who is certified or eligible for certification by the American
Board of Pathology. The medical examiner is an appointed public official in a system of
death investigation in which the administrative control, the determination of the extent
of the examination, need for autopsy and the filing of the cause and manner of death
information with the state registrar pursuant to section 144.221 are all under the control
of the medical examiner.
new text end

new text begin (b) The coroner must be a physician with a valid license in good standing under
chapter 147, to practice medicine as defined under section 147.081, subd. 3. The coroner
is a public official, elected or appointed, whose duty is to make inquiry into deaths in
certain categories, determine the cause and manner of death, and file the information with
the state registrar pursuant to section 144.221. The coroner must be credentialed by the
American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation within two years of taking office.
The coroner must obtain additional training in medicolegal death investigation, such as
by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, within four years of taking
office. The coroner or medical examiner need not be a resident of the county.
new text end

Subd. 4.

Certain incumbents.

An incumbent coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endin office
on deleted text beginJuly 1, 1965 meetsdeleted text end new text beginthe effective date of this section is hereby deemed to meet new text endthe
qualifications prescribed by this section for the purpose of continuance indeleted text begin, reelection to,
or appointment to
deleted text endnew text begin thenew text end officenew text begin of coroner until the end of the current term, after which this
statute will apply
new text end.

Subd. 5.

Vacancies, removal.

Vacancies in the office of coroner new text beginor medical
examiner
new text endshall be filled according to sections 375.08 and 382.02new text begin, or under subdivision 1new text end.
deleted text begin Adeleted text endnew text begin The medical examiner or appointed new text end coroner may be removed deleted text beginfrom office as provided
by law.
deleted text endnew text begin by the county board during a term of office for cause shown after a hearing upon
due notice of written charges. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with that
county's human resources policy.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [390.0065] HENNEPIN COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER.
new text end

new text begin Hennepin County shall use the following procedure to select the Hennepin County
medical examiner: The Hennepin County Board shall designate three licensed physicians
who shall constitute a Medical Examiner Board. One member shall be a dean or professor
of the Department of Pathology of a Class A medical school as designated by the American
Medical Association. Another member of the board shall be a member of the Minnesota
Society of Pathologists. The third member shall be designated by the Hennepin County
Medical Association from its membership. The Medical Examiner Board shall accept
applications for the position of Hennepin County medical examiner when a vacancy exists
in the office. Applications therefore shall be considered from doctors of medicine who
are: (1) graduates of a medical school recognized by the American Medical Association
or American Osteopathic Association, (2) members in good standing in the medical
profession, (3) eligible for appointment to the staff of the Hennepin County Medical
Center, and (4) certified or eligible for certification in forensic pathology by the American
Board of Pathology. The Medical Examiner Board shall review the qualifications of the
applicants and shall rank the applicants deemed qualified for the position and provide
to the county board a report of the seven highest ranked applicants together with their
qualifications. The county board shall appoint a county medical examiner from those
listed in the report. The term of the examiner shall continue for four years from the date of
appointment. Reappointment shall be made at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the
term. If a vacancy requires a temporary appointment, the board of commissioners shall
appoint a medical doctor on the staff of the county medical examiner's office to assume
the duties of the medical examiner until an appointment can be made in compliance with
the specified selection procedure. Actual and necessary expenses of the Medical Examiner
Board shall be paid in accordance with sections 471.38 to 471.415.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.01, is amended to read:


390.01 BONDnew text begin AND INDEMNIFICATIONnew text end .

deleted text begin Before taking office, the coroner shall post bond to the state in a penal sum set by the
county board, not less than $500 nor more than $10,000. The coroner's bond is subject
to the same conditions in substance as in the bond required by law to be given by the
sheriff, except as to the description of the office.
deleted text endnew text begin The coroner or medical examiner shall
be included in the bond held by the county for all appointed and elected county officials
and shall be defended and indemnified, pursuant to section 466.07.
new text end The deleted text beginbond anddeleted text end oath of
office shall be new text beginrecorded and new text endfiled with the county recorder.

Sec. 4.

new text begin [390.011] AUTONOMY.
new text end

new text begin The office of the coroner or medical examiner is an independent agency of the
county, subject only to appointment and budgeting by the county board.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [390.012] JURISDICTION.
new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner of the county in which a person dies or is
pronounced dead shall have jurisdiction over the death, regardless of where any injury
that resulted in the death occurred. The place where death is pronounced is deemed to be
the place where death occurred. If the place of death is unknown but the dead body is
found in Minnesota, the place where the body is found is considered the place of death. If
the date of death is unknown, the date the body is found is considered the date of death.
When a death occurs in a moving conveyance and the body is first removed in Minnesota,
documentation of death must be filed in Minnesota and the place of death is considered
the place where the body is first removed from the conveyance.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.04, is amended to read:


390.04 deleted text beginTO ACT WHEN SHERIFF A PARTY TO AN ACTIONdeleted text endnew text begin PROVISION
FOR TRANSFER OF JURISDICTION
new text end.

When the deleted text beginsheriff is a party to an action or when a party, or a party's agent or
attorney, files with the court administrator of the district court an affidavit stating that the
party believes the sheriff,
deleted text end new text begincoroner or medical examiner, new text endbecause of partiality, prejudice,
consanguinity, or interest, deleted text beginwilldeleted text endnew text begin is new text end not deleted text beginfaithfullydeleted text endnew text begin able to new text end perform the deleted text beginsheriff's deleted text endnew text begin coroner or
medical examiner's
new text endduties deleted text beginin an action commenced, or about to be commenced, the clerk
shall direct process in the action to the coroner. The coroner shall perform the duties of
the sheriff relative to the action in the same manner required for a sheriff.
deleted text endnew text begin, the coroner or
medical examiner shall have the authority to transfer jurisdiction to another coroner or
medical examiner, as arranged by the county board.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2005 Supplement, section 390.05, is amended to read:


390.05 deleted text beginDEPUTIESdeleted text endnew text begin MEDICAL EXAMINER OR CORONER STAFFnew text end.

deleted text begin Adeleted text endnew text begin Thenew text end coroner deleted text beginshalldeleted text endnew text begin or medical examiner maynew text end appoint one or more deleted text begindeputies.deleted text endnew text begin
assistant coroners or assistant medical examiners, as necessary to fulfill the duties of the
office, subject to authorization by the county board. Such assistants shall have the same
qualifications as a coroner or medical examiner.
new text end When the coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endis
absent or unable to act, deleted text begindeputiesdeleted text endnew text begin assistants shallnew text end have the same powers new text beginand duties new text endand are
subject to the same deleted text beginliabilities as coroners. A deputy shall be appointed in writing. The
oath and appointment shall be recorded with the county recorder. The deputy shall act by
name as deputy coroner and hold office at the same time as the coroner.
deleted text endnew text begin limitations as the
coroner or medical examiner. The assistants shall be appointed in writing, shall take an
oath that shall be recorded and filed with the county recorder, and shall be included in the
county bond. The assistant shall act by name as assistant coroner or medical examiner and
hold office at the same time as the coroner or medical examiner.
new text end

new text begin A coroner or medical examiner may appoint one or more investigators, with such
qualification as the coroner or medical examiner deems appropriate. Such investigators
shall have the powers and duties that are delegated to them by the coroner or medical
examiner. Unless they are public employees, investigators shall be appointed in writing
and take an oath, shall be included in the county bond, and the oath and appointment shall
be recorded and filed with the county recorder. Subject to authorization of the county
board, assistants may be appointed to the unclassified service and investigators to the
classified service of the county.
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [390.061] MORGUE.
new text end

new text begin Every county need not have a morgue, but there must be a system or process for
receiving, storing, and releasing all dead bodies subject to this statute.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.11, is amended to read:


390.11 INVESTIGATIONS deleted text beginAND INQUESTSdeleted text end.

Subdivision 1.

deleted text beginDeaths requiring inquests and investigationsdeleted text endnew text begin Reports of deathnew text end.

deleted text begin Except as provided in subdivision 1a, the coroner shall investigate and may conduct
inquests in all human deaths of the following types:
deleted text end new text begin All sudden or unexpected deaths
and all deaths that may be due entirely or in part to any factor other than natural disease
processes must be promptly reported to the coroner or medical examiner for evaluation.
Sufficient information must be provided to the coroner or medical examiner. Reportable
deaths include, but are not limited to:
new text end

(1) new text beginunnatural deaths, including new text endviolent deathsdeleted text begin, whether apparently homicidal,
suicidal, or accidental, including but not limited to deaths due to thermal, chemical,
electrical, or radiational injury, and deaths due to criminal abortion, whether apparently
self induced or not;
deleted text endnew text begin arising from homicide, suicide, or accident;
new text end

new text begin (2) deaths due to a fire or associated with burns or chemical, electrical, or radiation
injury;
new text end

new text begin (3) unexplained or unexpected perinatal and postpartum maternal deaths;
new text end

deleted text begin (2) deleted text endnew text begin(4) new text enddeaths under new text beginsuspicious, new text endunusualnew text begin,new text end or deleted text beginmysterious deleted text endnew text beginunexpected new text endcircumstances;

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (5)new text end deaths of persons deleted text beginwhose bodies aredeleted text end to be cremateddeleted text begin, dissected, buried at sea,deleted text end
or otherwise disposed of so that the bodies will later be unavailable for examination; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4)deleted text endnew text begin (6)new text end deaths of inmates of public institutions new text beginand persons in custody of law
enforcement officers
new text endwho deleted text beginaredeleted text endnew text begin havenew text end not new text beginbeen new text endhospitalized new text beginprimarily new text endfor organic disease deleted text beginand
whose deaths are not of any type referred to in clause (1) or (2).
deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (7) deaths that occur during, in association with, or as the result of diagnostic,
therapeutic, or anesthetic procedures;
new text end

new text begin (8) deaths due to culpable neglect;
new text end

new text begin (9) stillbirths of 20 weeks or longer gestation unattended by a physician;
new text end

new text begin (10) sudden deaths of persons not affected by recognizable disease;
new text end

new text begin (11) unexpected deaths of persons notwithstanding a history of underlying disease;
new text end

new text begin (12) deaths in which a fracture of a major bone such as a femur, humerus, or tibia
has occurred within the past six months;
new text end

new text begin (13) deaths unattended by a physician occurring outside of a licensed health care
facility or licensed residential hospice program;
new text end

new text begin (14) deaths of persons not seen by their physician within 120 days of demise;
new text end

new text begin (15) deaths of persons occurring in an emergency department;
new text end

new text begin (16) stillbirths or deaths of newborn infants in which there has been maternal use of
or exposure to unprescribed controlled substances including street drugs or in which there
is history or evidence of maternal trauma;
new text end

new text begin (17) unexpected deaths of children;
new text end

new text begin (18) solid organ donors;
new text end

new text begin (19) unidentified bodies;
new text end

new text begin (20) skeletonized remains;
new text end

new text begin (21) deaths occurring within 24 hours of arrival at a health care facility if death
is unexpected;
new text end

new text begin (22) deaths associated with the decedent??a??a??s employment;
new text end

new text begin (23) deaths of nonregistered hospice patients or patients in nonlicensed hospice
programs; and
new text end

new text begin (24) deaths attributable to acts of terrorism.
new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner shall determine the extent of the investigation, including
whether additional investigation is needed, jurisdiction is assumed, or an autopsy will
be performed, notwithstanding any other statute. Such authority shall not be subject to
judicial order or injunction.
new text end

Subd. 1a.

Commissioner of corrections; investigation of deaths.

deleted text begin The
commissioner of corrections may require that all Department of Corrections incarcerated
deaths be reviewed by an independent, contracted, board-certified forensic pathologist.
deleted text end new text begin
Any county with jurisdiction over a Department of Corrections facility must have a
board-certified forensic pathologist to review all Department of Corrections incarcerated
deaths and autopsy all unnatural, unattended, or unexpected deaths and others as necessary.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 1b. new text end

new text begin Hospice registration. new text end

new text begin Each coroner and medical examiner shall establish
a registration policy regarding hospice patients. If a hospice patient is determined to be
properly preregistered, the coroner or medical examiner may treat the death as attended
by a physician.
new text end

Subd. 2.

deleted text beginViolent or mysterious deaths;deleted text end Autopsies.

The coroner new text beginor medical
examiner
new text endmay deleted text beginconductdeleted text endnew text begin ordernew text end an autopsynew text begin, at the coroner or medical examiner's sole
discretion,
new text end in the case of any human death referred to in subdivision 1, deleted text beginclause (1) or (2),deleted text end
whennew text begin, in the judgment ofnew text end the coroner deleted text beginjudges thatdeleted text endnew text begin or medical examinernew text end the public interest
deleted text begin requiresdeleted text end new text beginwould be served by new text endan autopsydeleted text begin, except that an autopsy must be conducted in all
unattended inmate deaths that occur in a state correctional facility
deleted text end.new text begin The autopsy shall be
performed without unnecessary delay. A report of the facts developed by the autopsy
and findings of the person performing the autopsy shall be made promptly and filed in
the office of the coroner or medical examiner. When further investigation is deemed
advisable, a copy of the report shall be delivered to the county attorney. Every autopsy
performed pursuant to this subdivision shall, whenever practical, be performed in the
county morgue. Nothing herein shall require the coroner or medical examiner to order an
autopsy upon the body of a deceased person if the person died of known or ascertainable
causes or had been under the care of a licensed physician immediately prior to death or if
the coroner or medical examiner determines the autopsy to be unnecessary.
new text end

new text begin Autopsies performed pursuant to this subdivision may include the removal,
retention, testing, or use of organs, parts of organs, fluids or tissues, at the discretion of
the coroner or medical examiner, when removal, retention, testing, or use may be useful
in determining or confirming the cause of death, mechanism of death, manner of death,
identification of the deceased, presence of disease or injury or preservation of evidence.
Such tissue retained by the coroner or medical examiner pursuant to this subdivision shall
be disposed of in accordance with standard biohazardous hospital and/or surgical material
and does not require specific consent or notification of the legal next of kin. When
removal, retention, testing, and use of organs, parts of organs, fluids, or tissues is deemed
beneficial, and is done only for research or the advancement of medical knowledge and
progress, written consent or documented oral consent shall be obtained from the legal next
of kin, if any, of the deceased person prior to the removal, retention, testing, or use.
new text end

deleted text begin Subd. 2a. deleted text end

deleted text begin Deaths caused by fire; autopsies. deleted text end

deleted text begin The coroner shall conduct an autopsy
in the case of any human death reported to the coroner by the state fire marshal or a chief
officer under section deleted text begin299F.04, subdivision 5deleted text end, and apparently caused by fire.
deleted text end

Subd. 3.

deleted text beginOther deaths; autopsies;deleted text end Exhumation; deleted text beginconsentdeleted text endnew text begin disintermentnew text end.

The
coroner deleted text beginmay conduct an autopsy in the case of any human death referred to in subdivision
1, clause (3) or (4),
deleted text end or new text begin medical examiner new text endmay exhume any human body and perform
an autopsy on it in the case of any human death referred to in subdivision 1 when the
coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endjudges that the public interest requires an autopsy. No
deleted text begin autopsydeleted text endnew text begin exhumationnew text end shall be conducted unless the surviving deleted text beginspouse, ordeleted text endnew text begin legalnew text end next of kin
deleted text begin if there is no surviving spouse,deleted text end consents to it, or the district court of the county where the
body is located or burieddeleted text begin, upon notice as the court directs, enters an order authorizing an
autopsy or an exhumation and autopsy
deleted text endnew text begin orders it. Notice of such exhumation shall be given
as directed by the district court
new text end. Application for an order may be made by the coronernew text begin,
medical examiner,
new text end or deleted text beginby thedeleted text end county attorney of the county where the body is located or
buried, new text beginand shall be granted new text endupon a showing that the court deems appropriate.

Subd. 4.

Assistance of medical specialists.

If during an investigation the coroner new text beginor
medical examiner
new text endbelieves the assistance of pathologists, toxicologists, deleted text begindeputy coroners,deleted text end
laboratory technicians, or other medicalnew text begin, scientific, or forensicnew text end experts is necessary to
determine new text beginor confirm new text endthe cause new text beginor manner new text endof death, new text beginidentification, time of death, or to
address other issues requiring expert opinion,
new text endthe coroner deleted text beginshalldeleted text endnew text begin or medical examiner maynew text end
obtain their assistance.

Subd. 5.

Inquest.

new text beginAn inquest into a death may be held at the request of the medical
examiner and the county attorney or the coroner and the county attorney. An inquest is
optional and the coroner or medical examiner may investigate and certify a death without
one. The coroner or medical examiner and county attorney may decide how to empanel
the inquest. Inquest records will be made public, but
new text endthe record and report of the inquest
proceedings may not be used in evidence in any civil action arising out of the death for
which an inquest was ordered. deleted text beginBefore an inquest is held, the coroner shall notify the
county attorney to appear and examine witnesses at the inquest.
deleted text end

new text begin Whenever the decision is made to hold an inquest, the county attorney may issue
subpoenas for witnesses and enforce their attendance. The persons served with subpoenas
shall be allowed the same compensation and be subject to the same enforcement and
penalties as provided by Rule 22 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure.
new text end

Subd. 6.

Recordsnew text begin kept by coroner or medical examinernew text end.

The coroner new text beginor medical
examiner
new text endshall keep new text beginfull and complete records, new text endproperly indexed deleted text beginrecordsdeleted text endnew text begin,new text end 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 deleted text beginrelevantdeleted text endnew text begin availablenew text end information
concerning the deathdeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin that the coroner or medical examiner considers pertinent. These
records are the property of the county and are subject to the Minnesota Data Practices
Act, sections 13.10 and 13.83. These records shall be kept at the coroner??a??a??s or medical
examiner??a??a??s office, unless no storage space is available. They shall then be kept with
official county records and only released in accordance with the Data Practices Act.
Records shall be kept in accordance with section 15.17.
new text end

Subd. 7.

deleted text beginReportsdeleted text endnew text begin Duty to reportnew text end.

deleted text begin(a)deleted text end Deaths of the types described in this section
must be promptly reported for investigation to the coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endby the law
enforcement officer, attending physician, new text beginhealth care professional, new text endmorticiannew text begin or funeral
director
new text end, person in charge of the public institutions referred to in subdivision 1, or deleted text beginother
person with knowledge of the death.
deleted text endnew text begin anyone who discovers a deceased person.
new text end

new text begin Subd.7a. new text end

new text begin Records and other material available to coroner or medical examiner.
new text end

deleted text begin (b) For the purposes of this section, health-related records or data on a decedent, deleted text endExcept
new text begin for new text endhealth data defined in section 13.3805, subdivision 1,new text begin paragraph (a), clause (2),
health-related records or data on a decedent
new text endwhose death is being investigated under
this section, deleted text beginwhether the records or data are recorded or unrecorded, including but
not limited to those concerning medical, surgical, psychiatric, psychological, or any
other consultation, diagnosis, or treatment, including medical imaging,
deleted text end shall be made
promptly available to the coronernew text begin or medical examinernew text end, upon the coroner's new text beginor medical
examiner's
new text endwritten request, by deleted text beginadeleted text endnew text begin anynew text end personnew text begin, agency, entity, or organization new text end having
custody of, possession of, access to, or knowledge of the records or data. new text beginThis provision
includes records and data, whether recorded or unrecorded, including but not limited to,
records and data, including medical imaging, concerning medical, surgical, psychiatric,
psychological, chemical dependency, or any other consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. In
cases involving a stillborn infant or the death of a fetus or infant less than one year of age,
the prenatal records on the decedent??a??a??s mother shall also be made available promptly to the
coroner or medical examiner.
new text endThe coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endshall pay the reasonable
costs of copies of records or data new text beginso new text end provided deleted text beginto the coronerdeleted text end under this section. Data
collected or created pursuant to this subdivision relating to any psychiatric, psychological,
or mental health consultation with, diagnosis of, or treatment of the decedent whose
death is being investigated shall remain confidential or protected nonpublic data, except
that the coroner's new text beginor medical examiner's final summary new text endreport may contain a summary
ofnew text begin, or references to,new text end such data. new text beginWhere records of a decedent become part of the medical
examiner??a??a??s or coroner??a??a??s file, they are not subject to subpoena or a request for production
directed to the medical examiner or coroner. Body fluids, slides, tissue, organ specimens,
radiographs, monitor records, video or other recordings, and any other material or article
of diagnostic value obtained from the decedent prior to death, shall be made available to
the coroner or medical examiner upon request. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections
13.384 and 595.02, the coroner or medical examiner shall have the power to subpoena any
and all documents, records, including medical records, and papers deemed useful in the
investigation of a death.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7b. new text end

new text begin Records released by coroner or medical examiner. new text end

new text begin Records and
reports, including those of autopsies performed, generated, and certified by the coroner or
medical examiner shall be admissible as evidence in any court or grand jury proceeding.
The admissibility of such evidence under this subdivision shall not include statements
made by witnesses or other persons unless otherwise admissible.
new text end

Subd. 8.

new text beginInvestigation procedure; new text endcoroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endin charge of
body.

Upon notification of deleted text beginadeleted text endnew text begin thenew text end death deleted text beginsubject todeleted text end new text beginof any person as defined in new text endthis section,
the coroner or deleted text begindeputy shalldeleted text endnew text begin medical examiner staff or their designee maynew text end proceed to the
body, take charge of it, anddeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin arrange for transfer of it, when appropriate. This provision
also applies to bones, body parts, and specimens that may be human remains. Discovery
of such bones, body parts, and specimens must be promptly reported to the coroner or
medical examiner.
new text end When necessary, new text beginthe coroner or medical examiner staff may new text endorder that
there be no interference with new text beginor compromise of new text endthe body or the scene of death.new text begin In the
event a person is transported to an emergency vehicle or facility and pronounced dead, the
scene of death shall include the original location of the decedent when first discovered to
be ill, unresponsive, or stricken prior to removal by emergency medical personnel. Any
person violating such an order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The coroner or medical
examiner staff shall make inquiry regarding the cause and manner of death and, in cases
that fall under the medical examiner??a??a??s or coroner??a??a??s jurisdiction, prepare written findings
together with the report of death and its circumstances, which shall be filed in the office of
the coroner or medical examiner.
new text end

Subd. 9.

Criminal act report.

deleted text beginOn coming to believe that the death may have
resulted from a criminal act,
deleted text end The coroner or deleted text begindeputydeleted text endnew text begin medical examinernew text end shall deliver deleted text begina
signed
deleted text end new text beginto the county attorney copies of reports or other information created by the
coroner??a??a??s or medical examiner??a??a??s office in any cases of a criminal nature. When further
investigation is deemed advisable, a
new text endcopy of the report of investigationnew text begin, autopsy,new text end or inquest
new text begin shall be delivered new text endto the county attorney.

Subd. 10.

deleted text beginSuddendeleted text end Infant death.

If a child under the age of two years dies suddenly
and unexpectedly deleted text beginunder circumstances indicating that the death may have been caused
by sudden infant death syndrome, the coroner, medical examiner, or personal physician
shall notify the child's parents or guardian that an autopsy is essential to establish the
cause of death as sudden infant death syndrome. If an autopsy reveals that sudden infant
death syndrome is the cause of death, that fact must be stated in the autopsy report.
deleted text endnew text begin,new text end the
parents or guardian of the child shall be promptly notified of the deleted text begincause of death and of thedeleted text end
availability of counseling services.

deleted text begin Subd. 11. deleted text end

deleted text begin Autopsy fees. deleted text end

deleted text begin The coroner may charge a reasonable fee to a person
requesting an autopsy if the autopsy would not otherwise be conducted under subdivision
1, 2, or 3.
deleted text end

Subd. 12.

Authorized removal of deleted text beginthedeleted text end brain.

If the coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endis
informed by a physician deleted text beginor pathologistdeleted text end that a deleted text begindead persondeleted text endnew text begin decedentnew text end is suspected of having
had Alzheimer's disease, the coroner deleted text beginshalldeleted text endnew text begin or medical examiner maynew text end authorize the removal
of the brain deleted text beginof the dead persondeleted text end for the purposes of sections 145.131 and 145.132.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.111, is amended to read:


390.111 EXPENSESnew text begin AND COMPENSATIONnew text end.

The county board deleted text beginmay allowdeleted text end new text beginis responsible fornew text end the reasonable and necessary
new text begin compensation and new text endexpenses of the coroner or deleted text begindeputies incurred for telephone tolls,
telegrams, postage, the cost of transcribing the testimony taken at an inquest, and other
expenses incurred solely for the officers' official business under this chapter.
deleted text endnew text begin medical
examiner, assistants, investigators, and other medical specialists.
new text end

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.15, is amended to read:


390.15 deleted text beginWITNESSES;deleted text end FEES.

The coroner new text beginor medical examiner new text endmay deleted text beginissue subpoenas for witnesses, returnable
immediately or at a specified time and place. The persons served with the subpoenas shall
be allowed the fees, the coroner shall enforce their attendance, and they shall be subject
to the penalties provided by statute or the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
deleted text endnew text begin charge a fee for
cremation approval, duplication of reports, and other administrative functions to recover
reasonable expenses, subject to county board approval.
new text end

Sec. 12.

new text begin [390.151] ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION.
new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner may facilitate donation of organs and tissues in
compliance with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, sections 525.921 to 525.9224.
new text end

Sec. 13.

new text begin [390.152] CREMATION APPROVAL.
new text end

new text begin After investigating deaths of persons who are to be cremated, the coroner or medical
examiner may give approval for cremation and shall record such approval by either
signing a cremation authorization form, or electronically through the centralized electronic
system for the processing of death records established by the state registrar. It shall be a
misdemeanor to perform a cremation without such approval.
new text end

Sec. 14.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.17, is amended to read:


390.17 TESTIMONYdeleted text begin; FILINGdeleted text end.

deleted text begin The testimony of a witness examined at an inquest must be put in writing by the
coroner or under the coroner's direction and signed by the witness. The coroner shall then
file the testimony, together with a record of all proceedings, in the office of the court
administrator of the district court of the county.
deleted text end new text begin Whenever requested by the county
attorney of the county of the office??a??a??s jurisdiction, the medical examiner or coroner and
staff shall appear and testify before a grand jury and in criminal cases; unless specified
in a contractual agreement, salaried medical examiners or coroners and staff shall testify
without fees or additional compensation. Should testimony be requested in civil cases, the
individual consultant or office may charge for the professional time expended or reserved.
When the physician who performed the autopsy is unavailable, another physician from
that office may testify.
new text end

Sec. 15.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.21, is amended to read:


390.21 new text beginDISPOSITION; new text endBURIAL.

deleted text begin When a coroner holds an inquest upon view of the dead body of any person
unknown, or, being called for that purpose, does not think it necessary, on view of
the body, that an inquest be held, the coroner shall have the body decently buried. All
expenses of the inquisition and burial shall be paid by the county where the dead body is
found.
deleted text end new text begin After an investigation has been completed, including an autopsy if one is done, the
body shall be released promptly to the person or persons who have the right to control the
disposition of the body. Section 149A.80, subdivision 2, shall control. If the identity of
the deceased person is unknown, or if the body is unclaimed, the medical examiner or
coroner shall provide for dignified burial or storage of the remains. Dignified burial shall
not include cremation, donation for anatomic dissection, burial at sea, or other disposition
that will make the body later unavailable. The county where the dead body is found shall
pay reasonable expenses of the burial. If an estate is opened within six years and claim
made for the property or proceeds of the sale of the property of the decedent, the county
shall be reimbursed the amount spent on burial, with interest at the statutory rate.
new text end

Sec. 16.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.221, is amended to read:


390.221 BODIES; EFFECTS; CUSTODY.

A person may not deleted text beginremovedeleted text end new text beginmovenew text end, interfere with, or handle the body or the effects
of deleted text beginany persondeleted text endnew text begin a decedentnew text end subject to an investigation by the deleted text begincountydeleted text end coroner or medical
examiner except upon order of the coroner deleted text beginordeleted text endnew text begin,new text end medical examinernew text begin, assistant,new text end or deleted text begindeputydeleted text endnew text begin
authorized investigator
new text end. The coroner or medical examiner shall take charge of the effects
found on new text beginor near new text endthe body of a deceased person and dispose of them as the deleted text begindistrict
court directs by written order
deleted text endnew text begin directed under section 390.225new text end. If a crime new text beginis suspected
new text end in connection with the death of a deceased person deleted text beginis suspecteddeleted text end, the coroner or medical
examiner may prevent any personnew text begin, except law enforcement,new text end from entering the premises,
rooms, or buildings, and shall have the custody of objects that the coroner or examiner
deems material evidence in the case. new text beginThe coroner or medical examiner shall release any
property or articles needed for any criminal investigation to law enforcement officers
conducting the investigation, except as noted in section 390.225, subdivision 2.
new text endA deleted text beginwillfuldeleted text endnew text begin
knowing
new text end violation of this section is a new text begingross new text endmisdemeanor.

Sec. 17.

new text begin [390.225] PROPERTY.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Procedure. new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner may take possession of
all articles that may be useful in establishing the cause or manner of death, identification,
or next of kin of the deceased, and, if taken, mark them for identification, make an
inventory, and retain them securely until they are no longer needed for evidence or
investigation. Except as noted in subdivision 2, the coroner or medical examiner shall
release any property or articles needed for any criminal investigation to law enforcement
officers conducting the investigation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Retention of property. new text end

new text begin When a reasonable basis exists for not releasing
property or articles to law enforcement officers, the coroner or medical examiner shall
consult with the county attorney. If the county attorney determines that a reasonable basis
exists for not releasing the property or articles, the coroner or medical examiner may
retain them. The coroner or medical examiner shall obtain written confirmation of this
opinion and keep a copy in the decedent??a??a??s file.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Release of property. new text end

new text begin With the exception of firearms, when property
or articles are no longer needed for the investigation or as evidence, the coroner or
medical examiner shall release such property or articles to the person or persons entitled
to them. Wearing apparel and property of nominal value may be surrendered by the
coroner or medical examiner to the person or person entitled to control the disposition
of the decedent. When personal property of more than nominal value has come into
the possession of the coroner or medical examiner, and has not otherwise been released
pursuant to this subdivision, the coroner or medical examiner shall dispose of the property
according to section 525.393.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Firearms. new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner shall release all firearms,
when no longer needed, to the law enforcement agency handling the investigation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Property of unknown decedents. new text end

new text begin If the name of the decedent is not
known, the coroner or medical examiner shall release such property to the county for
disposal or sale. If the unknown decedent??a??a??s identity is established and if a representative
shall qualify within six years from the time of such sale, the county administrator, or a
designee, shall pay the amount of the proceeds of the sale to the representative on behalf
of the estate upon order of the court. If no order is made within six years, the proceeds of
the sale shall become a part of the general revenue of the county.
new text end

Sec. 18.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.23, is amended to read:


390.23 new text beginDEATH new text endRECORDS deleted text beginOF VIOLENT OR MYSTERIOUS DEATHdeleted text end.

No person, other than the county coronerdeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin or new text end medical examinerdeleted text begin, judge exercising
probate jurisdiction, or Department of Corrections' independent, contracted,
board-certified forensic pathologist,
deleted text end shall deleted text beginissue a recorddeleted text endnew text begin file or amend the cause or mannernew text end
of death new text begininformation with the state registrar new text endin cases of new text beginlikely or suspected accidental,
suicidal, homicidal,
new text endviolentnew text begin,new text end or mysterious deathsdeleted text begin, including suspected homicides,deleted text end
occurring in the county. deleted text beginThe Department of Corrections' independent, contracted,
board-certified forensic pathologist must issue the certificate of death in all Department of
Corrections-incarcerated deaths.
deleted text endnew text begin If there is reasonable proof that a death has occurred, but
no body has been found, a judge may direct the state registrar to register the death with
the fact of death information provided by the court order according to section 144.221
subdivision 3.
new text end

Sec. 19.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.25, is amended to read:


390.25 deleted text beginFINGERPRINTING OFdeleted text end UNIDENTIFIED DECEASED deleted text beginPERSONdeleted text endnew text begin
PERSONS
new text end.

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Attempts to identify. new text end

deleted text begin Each coroner shall have fingerprinted all
deceased persons in the county whose identity is not immediately established. Within
24 hours after the body is found, the coroner shall forward to the Bureau of Criminal
Apprehension the fingerprints, fingerprint records, and other identification data. The
superintendent of the bureau shall prescribe the form of these reports. The duties are in
addition to those imposed on the coroner by section 525.393.
deleted text end new text begin The coroner or medical
examiner shall make reasonable attempts to identify the deceased person promptly. These
actions may include obtaining: photographs of the body; fingerprints from the body, if
possible; formal dental examination by a dentist with forensic training, with charting and
radiographs; full body radiographs; specimens such as tissue, blood, bone, teeth, and/or
hair, suitable for DNA analysis or other identification techniques; blood type; photographs
of items such as clothing and property found on and with the body; and anthropological
determination of age, race, sex, and stature, if appropriate. All of these actions shall be
taken prior to the disposition of any unidentified deceased person.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Report to BCA. new text end

new text begin After 60 days, the coroner or medical examiner
shall provide to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension missing persons clearinghouse
information to be entered into federal and state databases that can aid in the identification,
including the National Crime Information Center database. The coroner or medical
examiner shall provide to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension specimens suitable for
DNA analysis. DNA profiles and information shall be entered by the Bureau of Criminal
Apprehension into federal and state DNA databases within five business days after the
completion of the DNA analysis and procedures necessary for the entry of the DNA profile.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Other efforts to identify. new text end

new text begin Nothing in this section shall be interpreted
to preclude any medical examiner or coroner from pursuing other efforts to identify
unidentified deceased persons, including publicizing information, descriptions, or
photographs that may aid in the identification, allow family members to identify missing
persons, and seek to protect the dignity of the missing persons.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Preservation of data. new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner may preserve
and retain photographs, specimens, documents, and other data such as dental records,
radiographs, fingerprints, or DNA, for establishing or confirming the identification of
bodies or for other forensic purposes deemed appropriate under the jurisdiction of the
office. Upon request by an appropriate agency, or upon the coroner or medical examiner's
own initiative, the coroner or medical examiner may make the information available to aid
in the establishment of the identity of a deceased person.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Notice to state archaeologist. new text end

new text begin After the coroner or medical examiner
has completed the investigation, the coroner or medical examiner shall notify the state
archaeologist, according to section 307.08, of all unidentified human remains found
outside of platted, recorded, or identified cemeteries and in contexts which indicate
antiquity of greater than 50 years.
new text end

Sec. 20.

new text begin [390.251] REQUEST FOR EXAMINATIONS.
new text end

new text begin The coroner or medical examiner may, when requested, make physical examinations
and tests incident to any matter of a criminal nature under consideration by the district
court or county attorney or publicly appointed criminal defense counsel, and shall deliver
a copy of a report of such tests and examinations to the court or authorized attorney
making the request. Such an examination does not establish a doctor-patient relationship.
The court, attorney, or agency making the request shall pay the cost of such examinations
and tests.
new text end

Sec. 21.

new text begin [390.252] CONTRACTS FOR SERVICES.
new text end

new text begin A county board may contract to perform coroner or medical examiner services
with other units of government or their agencies under a schedule of fees approved by
that board.
new text end

Sec. 22.

Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 390.31, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

deleted text beginPurposedeleted text endnew text begin Expirationnew text end.

new text beginThose counties currently using the "simplified
investigations of death,"
new text endsections 390.31 to 390.35 deleted text beginprovide a simplified system for the
investigation of the death of any person when the county attorney determines that an
investigation is necessary and provide for professional assistance to those making the
investigation. It is declared to be in the public interest for medical doctors to conduct the
medical investigations deemed necessary under the supervision of the county attorney
and, if a trial is deemed necessary, that it be held in a court of record.
deleted text end new text beginmay continue to do
so until December 31, 2007, after which this statute will apply.
new text end

Sec. 23. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2004, sections 390.006; 390.06; 390.07; 390.16; 390.19; 390.20;
390.24; 390.31, subdivisions 2 and 3; 390.33; 390.34; 390.35; and 390.36,
new text end new text begin are repealed.
new text end