Evidence Question

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Evidence Question

Postby tycoga8118 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:51 am

A character witness is used by the prosecution to testify about the defendant. Can the defendant then call a character witness about the prosecution's character witness to show his character for untruthfulness as long as he testifies in the form of reputation or opinion pursuant to Rule 608(a)?

Thanks in advance. I am studying for my exam and am not sure.

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Re: Evidence Question

Postby xjustyoursmile » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:47 am

Prosecution cannot attack defendant's character unless Defence opens the door to it. If Defence wants to attack a Pros witness character with a Ded witness they can but then you're opening the door to argue about the Defense witness' character as well which may or may not tie back to the Defendant's character so you want to be careful in attacking a Pros witness character. It's possible to do so by "creaking the door open" and attacking the Pros witness character to a more specific truthfulness/untruthulness to avoid fully swinging the door open.

Note: I'm 0L but I hve extensive Mock Trial expierence, please take this with a grain of salt. You should always answer what your professor would want you to answer.

EDIT: Btw, yes you can get in character through reputation and opinion just make sure it's not inadmissable lay opinion (speculation) and it's relevance. Specific instances work for character too but only if the witness has a criminal conviction or the court finds inquiring into the specific instance (on cross examination) as having more probative value than prejudicial effect. If you want details refer to the Evidence Code on that.

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