Nelson wrote:lilypad144 wrote:Can anyone explain impeachment to me? I just realized I have been mixing it up with character evidence this entire time and have been crying for a half hour. I can't seem to understand it. When can we use opinion/reputation and when specific instances or extrinsic?
Dear god, I'm gonna fail so bad.
You can always impeach a witness with opinion or reputation evidence about their character for truthfulness. You can only use extrinsic evidence for impeachment (i.e. the extrinsic evidence is not relevant to the material substantive issue in the case) 1) if it's the witness's own prior inconsistent statement and the witness is on the stand, given an opportunity to explain or deny, and can be crossed/redirected by the other side; or 2) it's a criminal conviction that satisfies FRE 609. Otherwise, you're not going to be able to use extrinsic evidence. You can inquire into specific instances of conduct on cross that are probative of character for truthfulness only (so not just general bad character), but you have to take the witness's answer.
Thank you, that's helpful! I have a question then, I thought for impeaching with a prior conviction, you MAY admit a crime that doesn't involve dishonesty if it's a felony and subject to balancing. But I just looked at a model answer from a previous exam and the answer stated that a probation officer could not testify that a witness was convicted of malicious destruction of property bc it was not a prior conviction of dishonesty. How does that make sense? Super confused on that.