character evidence

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Related to character evidence: Opinion Evidence

Character Evidence

Proof or attestations about an individual's moral standing, general nature, traits, and reputation in the general community.

A character witness is an individual who testifies as to the habits and reputation of another person. In criminal cases, a defendant might attempt to reduce the possibility that he or she will be convicted of committing the crime as charged by exhibiting his or her good character or propensity for not committing the offense. Ordinarily, this is limited to testimony concerning the particular character trait that is in issue. For example, evidence concerning the defendant's trustworthiness with property might be relevant in an Embezzlement case. The character witness must be a person who is familiar with the defendant's reputation in the community fairly close to the time the crime was committed.

In federal trials the admissibility of character evidence and the use of character witnesses are governed by the Federal Rules of Evidence.

character evidence

evidence of the character of a witness. In criminal proceedings, evidence as to the accused's bad character may only be adduced if it has been sought to establish good character. In civil proceedings, character evidence of the parties is largely irrelevant except in defamation cases where the plaintiff ‘s general bad reputation maybe proved in mitigation of damages, subject to rebuttal by general evidence of good character. Evidence as to the truthfulness of witnesses may be given in both civil and criminal cases.
References in periodicals archive ?
Before addressing challenges to rules that permit evidence of prior sexual misconduct in cases where defendants are charged with sex crimes, a brief background on the basics of character evidence is helpful to set the stage for the issues discussed in the rest of this paper.
consider Sanchirico's work on character evidence, (74) a type of
California Legislature to enact the character evidence restrictions.
By ignoring the forbidden inference and focusing solely on the purpose for which the evidence is offered, courts admit disguised character evidence through expert witnesses.
June 2012, at 26 (covering the use of character evidence on the merits).
24) The character evidence scheme in the Rules provides the answer to
The clear standard set by Rule 404(b), and explained in the comments thereto, illustrates that character evidence is particularly dangerous because it distracts attention from probatively valuable evidence.
See Eric Tucker, Facebook Used as Character Evidence, Lands Some in Jail, USA Today, July 16, 2008, http://www.
53) If character evidence enters a trial through prior bad acts evidence or by reputation and opinion testimony, the defendant is forced to refute additional charges, "inject[ing] an additional and confusing burden upon the defense.
The prosecution applied for bad character evidence under the 2003 Criminal Justice Act to be put before the jury, told of the similar previous sex attack.
Pipes dismissed Card's character evidence as `irrelevant.