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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Donald G Casswell, "Through the Admissibility of Evidence Maze: An Attempt at a Purposive Structuring" (1991) 29:3 Alta L Rev 584 at 613-14 (Canadian evidence rules that require limiting instructions include the hearsay rule, prior-conviction evidence, prior inconsistent statements, character evidence and similar facts, and statements by co-accused).
these rules as the "character evidence prohibition," (19) but
After hearing further arguments from both sides, the district court ruled the photographs admissible over the defendant's objection that they were character evidence and unduly prejudicial.
Let us be clear about the logic of the situation: in acknowledging that good character evidence is (exculpatorily) relevant, the courts are committed to saying that:
(15) The advisory comment accompanying Rule 404 notes explicitly that character evidence tends to distract from probatively valuable evidence.
(79) This violates Rule 404(a), which generally prohibits the introduction of character evidence. (80) Or rather, this would violate Rule 404(a) if it were recognized for what it is--evidence--and the Rules of Evidence were applied accordingly.
Background information on the rule is as follows: FRE 404(a)(2)(B)(ii) appears in the first section of FRE 404, entitled "Character Evidence." (112) It allows rebuttal of victim character evidence with evidence of the "same trait" of the defendant.
Similarly, the lyric did not constitute character evidence inadmissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b).
It covers the basics; relevance, unfair prejudice, and excluding evidence for reasons of policy; preliminary facts and laying a foundation; objections and offers of proof; best and secondary evidence rules and judicial notice; character evidence; habit; uncharged misconduct evidence; lay and expert witnesses; cross-examination, impeachment, and rehabilitation of witnesses; hearsay; privilege; and presumptions.
Retired Dublin fire officer John Kidd gave character evidence saying Ducie helped organise events raising funds for a children's cancer charity.
Mr Cole said character evidence had been "overwhelmingly positive of a hard working, diligent and worthy officer".