Need some help with Evidence

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
acr

Silver
Posts: 719
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:14 pm

Need some help with Evidence

Postby acr » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:57 pm

I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks

Nyjdgirl

Bronze
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby Nyjdgirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:14 pm

acr wrote:I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks


Character evidence is any evidence that can be used to attack ones character if they take the stand. Character can never everrr ever be used to show propensity!!!!

It's good to break character evidence into civil and criminal and then analysis. In a criminal case, the prosecution can never open the door to show that the D has a bad character. It is only once the D opens the door can the prosecution rebut the D good character trait with reputation or option evidence of a bad character trait. Remember always that the D can only bring ina character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged. For instance, if the D robbed a bank it is impermissible for they D to open the door by bringing his own character witness to testify that the D is honest bc honesty has nothing to do with robbing a bank!!!!!

I'm a prosecutor so I love character evidence in a criminal case. Let me know if you have any questions about this. I can also tell you about civil issues :)

Nyjdgirl

Bronze
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby Nyjdgirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:19 pm

Only specific acts of character evidence can come in if you are ysuing if for another purpose that is not for propensity!

Think
MIMIC

To show MOTIVE, IDENTIY, MISTAKE (lack of), INTENT or COMMON SCHEME OR PLAN

acr

Silver
Posts: 719
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:14 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby acr » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:42 pm

Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks


Character evidence is any evidence that can be used to attack ones character if they take the stand. Character can never everrr ever be used to show propensity!!!!

It's good to break character evidence into civil and criminal and then analysis. In a criminal case, the prosecution can never open the door to show that the D has a bad character. It is only once the D opens the door can the prosecution rebut the D good character trait with reputation or option evidence of a bad character trait. Remember always that the D can only bring ina character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged. For instance, if the D robbed a bank it is impermissible for they D to open the door by bringing his own character witness to testify that the D is honest bc honesty has nothing to do with robbing a bank!!!!!

I'm a prosecutor so I love character evidence in a criminal case. Let me know if you have any questions about this. I can also tell you about civil issues :)


Thanks for the summary. I really appreciate it.

But I still don't understand.

You said that "Character can never ever ever be used to show propensity," but then say "the D can only bring in a character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged."

So, (according to the hypothetical given in my class) if there is a defendant accused of assault, the defendant can introduce a character witness who testifies that the witness has known the defendant for years and has a reputation for being non-violent.

Is this evidence not being introduced to show his propensity for non-violence? I don't understand the distinction.

Nyjdgirl

Bronze
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby Nyjdgirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:51 pm

acr wrote:
Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks


Character evidence is any evidence that can be used to attack ones character if they take the stand. Character can never everrr ever be used to show propensity!!!!

It's good to break character evidence into civil and criminal and then analysis. In a criminal case, the prosecution can never open the door to show that the D has a bad character. It is only once the D opens the door can the prosecution rebut the D good character trait with reputation or option evidence of a bad character trait. Remember always that the D can only bring ina character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged. For instance, if the D robbed a bank it is impermissible for they D to open the door by bringing his own character witness to testify that the D is honest bc honesty has nothing to do with robbing a bank!!!!!

I'm a prosecutor so I love character evidence in a criminal case. Let me know if you have any questions about this. I can also tell you about civil issues :)


Thanks for the summary. I really appreciate it.

But I still don't understand.

You said that "Character can never ever ever be used to show propensity," but then say "the D can only bring in a character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged."

So, (according to the hypothetical given in my class) if there is a defendant accused of assault, the defendant can introduce a character witness who testifies that the witness has known the defendant for years and has a reputation for being non-violent.

Is this evidence not being introduced to show his propensity for non-violence? I don't understand the distinction.



No problem! Here's a good way to think of character evidence ina criminal case. A D has a lot of lose if he is convicted ie) HIS FREEDOM. The D can introduce his character to show a jury or a judge that he would never act in the way the prosecution is protraying. I wouldn't quite call it propensity. But even if it is propensity remember a D is either taking the stand or bringing witnesses to the court room to fight for this freedom so therefore a court allows the D some wiggle room. A prosecutor can never ever just open its case by stating he D is a bad person and committed 20 assaults if the prosecution is using that evidence to show D committed that assault this time. Prosecution can only use that evidence for mimic purposes.

Nyjdgirl

Bronze
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby Nyjdgirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:54 pm

Remember that the prosecution has the highest burden of beyond a reasonable doubt. The court gives more leeway to a defendant in a criminal case :D

acr

Silver
Posts: 719
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:14 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby acr » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:59 pm

Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:
Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks


Character evidence is any evidence that can be used to attack ones character if they take the stand. Character can never everrr ever be used to show propensity!!!!

It's good to break character evidence into civil and criminal and then analysis. In a criminal case, the prosecution can never open the door to show that the D has a bad character. It is only once the D opens the door can the prosecution rebut the D good character trait with reputation or option evidence of a bad character trait. Remember always that the D can only bring ina character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged. For instance, if the D robbed a bank it is impermissible for they D to open the door by bringing his own character witness to testify that the D is honest bc honesty has nothing to do with robbing a bank!!!!!

I'm a prosecutor so I love character evidence in a criminal case. Let me know if you have any questions about this. I can also tell you about civil issues :)


Thanks for the summary. I really appreciate it.

But I still don't understand.

You said that "Character can never ever ever be used to show propensity," but then say "the D can only bring in a character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged."

So, (according to the hypothetical given in my class) if there is a defendant accused of assault, the defendant can introduce a character witness who testifies that the witness has known the defendant for years and has a reputation for being non-violent.

Is this evidence not being introduced to show his propensity for non-violence? I don't understand the distinction.



No problem! Here's a good way to think of character evidence ina criminal case. A D has a lot of lose if he is convicted ie) HIS FREEDOM. The D can introduce his character to show a jury or a judge that he would never act in the way the prosecution is protraying. I wouldn't quite call it propensity. But even if it is propensity remember a D is either taking the stand or bringing witnesses to the court room to fight for this freedom so therefore a court allows the D some wiggle room. A prosecutor can never ever just open its case by stating he D is a bad person and committed 20 assaults if the prosecution is using that evidence to show D committed that assault this time. Prosecution can only use that evidence for mimic purposes.


Okay, awesome, this is actually starting to make character evidence clearer to me.

So once the defendant introduces evidence of his own character (e.g. he calls a witness who testifies that the D is non-violent), the prosecution can then call its own character witnesses (e.g. to testify that the D does have a reputation for violence)? But the prosecution is limited to reputation and opinion, unless showing "MIMIC" or an essential element of the crime (in which case character evidence can be introduced whenever)? Is that correct?

Nyjdgirl

Bronze
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby Nyjdgirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:10 pm

acr wrote:
Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:
Nyjdgirl wrote:
acr wrote:I have no problem with most of the boring concepts in evidence (e.g. hearsay, relevancy), but for the goddamn ****ing life of me I can't understand character evidence/character impeachment/similar acts. I keep reading and rereading my class notes, the professor's notes, Cali lessons, understanding evidence, etc. but it just feels like I'm banging my head against a fucking wall and it's making no sense and not sticking. Does anyone know of any particular guides or online resources to explain this bullshit? Or does anyone have a good, brief way of simply explaining it? Thanks


Character evidence is any evidence that can be used to attack ones character if they take the stand. Character can never everrr ever be used to show propensity!!!!

It's good to break character evidence into civil and criminal and then analysis. In a criminal case, the prosecution can never open the door to show that the D has a bad character. It is only once the D opens the door can the prosecution rebut the D good character trait with reputation or option evidence of a bad character trait. Remember always that the D can only bring ina character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged. For instance, if the D robbed a bank it is impermissible for they D to open the door by bringing his own character witness to testify that the D is honest bc honesty has nothing to do with robbing a bank!!!!!

I'm a prosecutor so I love character evidence in a criminal case. Let me know if you have any questions about this. I can also tell you about civil issues :)


Thanks for the summary. I really appreciate it.

But I still don't understand.

You said that "Character can never ever ever be used to show propensity," but then say "the D can only bring in a character trait that is relevant to the crime being charged."

So, (according to the hypothetical given in my class) if there is a defendant accused of assault, the defendant can introduce a character witness who testifies that the witness has known the defendant for years and has a reputation for being non-violent.

Is this evidence not being introduced to show his propensity for non-violence? I don't understand the distinction.



No problem! Here's a good way to think of character evidence ina criminal case. A D has a lot of lose if he is convicted ie) HIS FREEDOM. The D can introduce his character to show a jury or a judge that he would never act in the way the prosecution is protraying. I wouldn't quite call it propensity. But even if it is propensity remember a D is either taking the stand or bringing witnesses to the court room to fight for this freedom so therefore a court allows the D some wiggle room. A prosecutor can never ever just open its case by stating he D is a bad person and committed 20 assaults if the prosecution is using that evidence to show D committed that assault this time. Prosecution can only use that evidence for mimic purposes.


Okay, awesome, this is actually starting to make character evidence clearer to me.

So once the defendant introduces evidence of his own character (e.g. he calls a witness who testifies that the D is non-violent), the prosecution can then call its own character witnesses (e.g. to testify that the D does have a reputation for violence)? But the prosecution is limited to reputation and opinion, unless showing "MIMIC" or an essential element of the crime (in which case character evidence can be introduced whenever)? Is that correct?


Yes! Exactly!! I'm not quite positive if the prosecution can used specific acts to show an essential element of the crime. Specific acts of bad character in a criminal case are not used much bc they have the danger of showing propensity. That why there is the mimic (prior bad acts exception) However ina civil case that has to do with defamation, neg hiring neg entrustment reputation, opinion or specific acts of good/bad character can be used. Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need me to clarify! ;)

clshopeful

Bronze
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:15 pm

Re: Need some help with Evidence

Postby clshopeful » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:29 am

re:

Okay, awesome, this is actually starting to make character evidence clearer to me.

So once the defendant introduces evidence of his own character (e.g. he calls a witness who testifies that the D is non-violent), the prosecution can then call its own character witnesses (e.g. to testify that the D does have a reputation for violence)? But the prosecution is limited to reputation and opinion, unless showing "MIMIC" or an essential element of the crime (in which case character evidence can be introduced whenever)? Is that correct?

--
Right, although here is when prosecution can use specific acts against D:

If D brings on a witness to say D is non-violent, prosecution can cross that witness with specific acts for the purpose of testing that witness's knowledge about D. For example: D brings on W who says "D is non-violent, I know him well." Prosecution gets up to cross W and says "Thats funny, did you know he punched an old lady last year who ended up in the hospital?"

Prosecution can use this specific act not to show propensity, but to show the jury that W doesn't know what he's talking about and therefore isn't reliable.



Return to “Forum for Law School Students�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests