Since character cannot be used to show conduct, it also follows that a fact cannot be shown when the purpose of proving that fact is show that a person has a
certain kind of character trait or propensity and then to show that, because that person had that character trait or propensity, he acted in a certain way. For
example, it is not permissible to offer evidence that a defendant possessed a gun, to show that the defendant had a propensity to commit a crime, in order to show
that he therefore committed the crime charged:
The opinions in
United States v Robinson
First Set of Opinions in
United States v. Robinson, 544 F.2d 611 (2d Cir., 1976) (edited for student use):
Oakes, Circuit Judge:
This singular case involves the admissibility of testimony regarding a.38-caliber handgun found in the possession of appellant, Cecil Robinson, at
the time of his arrest for bank robbery. Following the exclusion of both the gun itself and testimony pertaining thereto at appellant's first trial, the
jury hung 8-4 for conviction. With the admission of evidence pertaining to the gun at a retrial, a conviction was rendered after three days of jury
deliberation and two Allen-type charges, Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492, 501-02, 41 L. Ed. 528, 17 S. Ct. 154 (1896). The conviction, for bank
robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), n1 led to the imposition of a twelve-year prison sentence by the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, Frederick van Pelt Bryan, Judge.
n1 Appellant was also indicted for conspiracy to commit bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 371, and armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C.