Legislation & statutes

Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office

Legislation and Statutes that impact Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices

  • AB 2083 – Provides the Child Death Review Team (CDRT) mental health information as it pertains to any infant or child death that falls under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office.
  • AB 2119 (PDF) – Provides the Medical Examiner, Coroner, or forensic pathologist to access mental health information in order to render cause and manner of death.
  • Postmortem examination SB 1189 (PDF)
  • AB 1737 – Child Death Investigations: Review Teams – Making Child Death review teams mandatory
  • AB 1864 – Inquest: Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Defines sudden unexplained death in childhood. Requires the coroner to notify the parent or responsible adult of a child within that definition about the importance of taking tissue samples. Exempts the coroner from liability for damages in a civil action for any act or omission done in compliance these provisions.
  • AB 2427 – Postmortem photographs; Authorizes the making or dissemination of a copy reproduction, or facsimile described in existing law for use or potential use in a civil action or proceeding that relates to the death of the deceased person if the coroner receives written authorization from a legal heir or representative of the deceased person before the action is filed or while the action is pending, or if a subpoena is issued in a pending civil action.
  • End of Life Option Act, ABx2 15 – which the Governor signed into law allows patients with terminal conditions nearing the end of life to request medication from a physician to end their lives. There is a provision that states as follows: 443.18 Nothing in this part may be construed to authorize a physician or any other person to end an individual’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing, or active euthanasia. Actions taken in accordance with this part shall not, for any purposes, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, homicide, or elder abuse under the law.
  • SB 1163 by Senator Galgiani – SB 1163 would require that all postmortem examinations and autopsies on an unidentified human body or on human remains, to be conducted by an attending physician and surgeon or the chief medical examiner who is a board-certified forensic pathologist by the American Board of Pathology.
  • SB 1303 by Senator Pan – Would, for counties with a population of 500,000 or greater, require that the office of the coroner or the sheriff’s coroner’s office, as applicable, be replaced with an office of the medical examiner without a public vote or election. By requiring that counties comply with these requirements, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
    • The bill can be accessed here.

Reportable Deaths

California law requires investigation of deaths that occur from unknown causes or under suspicious circumstances. The following categories of deaths are immediately reportable to the Medical Examiner Office:

  • Suspected or known homicides, suicides and accidents
  • Deaths involving suspected or known criminal activity
  • Deaths involving suspected poisonings
  • Deaths related to substance abuse
  • Deaths occurring in jail or in police custody
  • Deaths occurring at state mental hospitals
  • Deaths related to occupational diseases or hazards
  • Deaths in which the deceased was not attended to by a physician for the 20 days prior to dying.
  • Deaths in which a physician cannot reasonably give the cause of death
  • Deaths involving suspected contagious diseases constituting a public hazard
  • Deaths of unidentified persons
  • Deaths occurring within 24 hours of hospital admission
  • Deaths suspected to be from sudden infant death syndrome

Immediate reporting of the above listed deaths assures compliance with the statutory provisions of California Government Code 27491 and Health and Safety Code 102850 and Code 103000.

Contact Us

Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office
3100 Foothill Rd.
Ventura, CA 93003
Tel: (805) 641-4400
Fax: (805) 641-4410