Character Evidence

  1. Generally
    Inadmissible (ex. D liar so D lie on that day)
  2. Criminal CasesĀ 


    Open the Door: D must offer relevant character evidence first (place in controversy)

    D trait: offer character evidence of D & P offer character evidence of D to rebut

    V trait: offer character evidence of V& P offer character evidence of V or D (same trait only)

    Homicide: offer evidence of V first aggressor & P offer character evidence of V peacefulness
  3. Proving Character Evidence
    Testimony: reputation or opinion

    W testimony: truthfulness only relevant
  4. Specific Instances Exceptions Generally (2)
    Cross examination: after reputation or opinion testimony (based on good faith belief)

    W cross: no extrinsic evidence if prior act that did not result in conviction denied

    Criminal conviction impeachment: admissible (even if appeal pending) to undermine truthfulness when (1) 1+ yr. crime (subject to 403) and (2) crime elements require admitting false statement

    Rebuttable Presumption of inadmissibility : 10+ yr. passed (conviction or imprisonment) must pass 403 & notice to other party

    Inadmissible: pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation (juvenile adjudications allowed)
  5. Specific Instances Exceptions Defendant (4)
    Element: character trait is element of charge, claim, or defense

    Prove: motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident

    Sexual Assault Cases all evidence of D sexual assault (P must disclose use)

    Child Molestation Cases: all evidence of D child molestation (P must disclose use)
  6. Specific Instances Exception Victim (1)
    Sex-offense cases: V sexual behavior or sexual predisposition inadmissible

    • Exception: criminal cases
    • (1) Prove D not source of semen, injury, or other physical evidence
    • (2) Sexual behavior with D to prove consent
    • (3) All evidence that violate D constitutional right if excluded

    Exception: civil cases if passes 403 or if V places reputation for attack

    Pretrial notice: parties and victim (both right to be heard at admissibility hearing)
Card Set
Character Evidence