Character

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CHARACTER, evidence. The opinion generally entertained of a person derived from the common re 'port of the people who are acquainted with him. 3 Serg. & R. 336; 3 Mass. 192; 3 Esp. C. 236.
     2. There are three classes of cases on which the moral character and conduct of a person in society may be used in proof before a jury, each resting upon particular and distinct grounds. Such evidence is admissible, 1st. To afford a presumption that a particular party has not been guilty of a criminal act. 2d. To affect the damages in particular cases, where their amount depends on the character and conduct of any individual; and, 3d. To impeach or confirm the veracity of a witness.
     3.-1. Where the guilt of an accused party is doubtful, and the character of the supposed agent is involved in the question, a presumption of innocence arises from his former conduct in society, as evidenced by his general character, since it is not probable that a person of known probity and humanity, would commit a dishonest or outrageous act in the particular instance. Such presumptions, however, are so remote from fact, and it is frequently so difficult to estimate a person's real character, that they are entitled to little weight, except in doubtful cases. Since the law considers a presumption of this nature to be admissible, it is in principle admissible 'Whenever a reasonable presumption arises from it, as to the fact in question; in practice it is admitted whenever the character of the party is involved in the issue. See 2 St. Tr. 1038 1 Coxes Rep. 424; 5 Serg. & R. 352 3 Bibb, R. 195; 2 Bibb, R. 286; 5 Day, R. 260; 5 Esp. C. 13; 3 Camp. C. 519; 1 Camp. C. 460; Str. R. 925. Tha. Cr. Cas. 230; 5 Port. 382.
     4.-2. In some instances evidence in disparagement of character is admissible, not in order to prove or disprove the commission of a particular fact, but with a view to damages. In actions for criminal conversation with the plaintiff's wife, evidence may be given of the wife's general bad character, for want of chastity, and even of particular acts of adultery committed by her, previous to her intercourse with the defendant. B. N. P. 27, 296; 12 Mod. 232; 3 Esp. C. 236. See 5 Munf. 10. In actions for slander and libel, when the defendant has not justified, evidence of the plaintiff's bad character has also been admitted. 3 Camp. C. 251; 1 M. & S. 284; 2 Esp. C. 720; 2 Nott & M'Cord, 511; 1 Nott & M'Cord, 268; and see 11 Johns. R. 38; 1 Root, R. 449; 1 Johns. R. 46; 6 Penna. St. Rep. 170. The ground of admitting such evidence is, that a person of disparaged fame is not entitled to the same measure of damages with one whose character is unblemished. When, however, the defendant justifies the slander, it seems to be doubtful whether the evidence of reports as to the conduct and character of the plaintiff can be received. See 1 M. & S. 286, n (a) 3 Mass. R. 553 1 Pick. R. 19. When evidence is admitted touching the general character of a party, it is manifest that it is to be confined to matters in reference to the nature of the, charge against him. 2 Wend. 352.
     5.-3. The party against whom a witness is called, may disprove the fact& stated by him, or may examine other witnesses as to his general character; but they will not be allowed to speak of particular facts or parts of his conduct. B. N. P. 296. For example, evidence of the general character of a prosecutrix for a rape, may be given, as that she was a street walker; but evidence of specific acts of criminality cannot be admitted. 3 Carr. & P. 589. The regular mode is to inquire whether the witness under examination has the means of knowing the former witness general character, and whether from such knowledge he would believe, him on his oath. 4 St. Tr. 693; 4 Esp. C. 102. In answer to such evidence against character, the other party may cross-examine the witness as to his means of knowledge, and the grounds of his opinion; or he may attack such witness general character, and by fresh evidence support the character of his own. 2 Stark. C. 151; Id. 241; St. Ev. pt. 4, 1753 to 1758; 1 Phil. Ev. 229. A party cannot give evidence to confirm the good character of a witness, unless his general character has been impugned by his antagonist. 9 Watts, R. 124. See, in general, as to character, Phil. Ev. Index, tit. Character; Stark. Ev. pl. 4, 364 Swift's Ev. 140 to 144 5 Ohio R. 227; Greenl. Ev. Sec. 54; 3 Hill, R. 178 Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

References in periodicals archive ?
ENMs characterize general environmental regimes under which species or phenomena may occur.
In doing so, he intensifies the unmistakable sense of formal continuity and coherence that characterizes all the pieces within the collection.
Much like lenders and credit companies use data mining to great effect in assessing the financial gamble involved with lending money or extending credit to individuals or groups, law enforcement agencies can use it to characterize the risk involved in various incidents.
Later he writes, "Bray...inserts quotation marks to characterize what I, in fact, did not write." I challenge him to identify where, in my review, the phrase "military freedom" appears.
It has become fashionable to characterize my country as unilateralist and against all arms control agreements.
Keller appeals to cross-gendered images of the divine in early Christianity (a female Holy Spirit, a breasted Father) to argue for a current conception of "gender fluidity" that can maintain a sense of the connectedness and "ethical mutuality" which should characterize our moral subjectivities.
Centering his work on what Du Bois had earlier described as the "double-consciousness" of the African American intellectual and what Ralph Ellison would later characterize as a "complex double vision" of black American culture, Wright was able to achieve a profound and enduring humanism.
This research should lead to a better understanding of how hearing impairment or deafness is transmitted from parent to child, making it possible to identify and characterize the genes in which changes or mutations cause hearing impairment.
Scientists at North Carolina State University wanted to characterize the chemical components responsible for the development of off-flavors in peanuts caused by high-temperature microwave blanching.
Many analytical techniques have been proposed to characterize the coating layer, but most are limited in some way or entail difficult procedures for preparing the samples.
Based on this surface topography, data analysis techniques are utilized to characterize the surface roughness and carbon black dispersion.
The new network configuration is intended to help characterize the performance of the Brewers and to collect information relevant to quantifying the effects of tropospheric ozone and fine particles on surface UV levels and radiative forcing.