Chapter4 - CHAPTER 4 _ Evidence of Character, Uncharged...

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CHAPTER 4 _______________________________ Evidence of Character, Uncharged Misconduct, and Similar Events B. CHARACTER EVIDENCE e. Proving Character as Circumstantial Evidence of Out-of-court Conduct i. The Basic Rule Questions for Classroom Discussion [p. 330] 1. Negligence action by Plaintiff against Defendant arising from an automobile accident. Plaintiff claims Defendant ran a red light and struck Plaintiff’s car, causing the injury. To prove Defendant ran the light, Plaintiff calls Witness, who is familiar with Defendant’s community reputation, to testify that Defendant is known as a careless driver. Defendant objects. How should the court rule? 2. Same case. Is the evidence Plaintiff wishes to present relevant? Why or why not? 3. If the evidence is relevant, why does the rule require its exclusion? Why not allow the court to admit it unless its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or other concerns contained in Rule 403? ii. Evidence of a Criminal Defendant’s Character (a) In general Questions for Classroom Discussion [p. 340] 1. Why does the law allow a criminal defendant to prove her innocence by offering evidence of her good character, but, except in very limited circumstances, does not allow the prosecution to present character evidence during its case-in-chief to prove the defendant’s guilt? 1
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2. What restrictions do Michelson , and Rules 404-405, place on the defendant’s right to prove innocence with character evidence? 3. Once the defendant offers character evidence to prove her innocence, how may the prosecution respond? 4. Does the court still retain the authority to forbid the prosecution from asking about specific instances of conduct on cross-examination? If so, why? 5. If the prosecution chooses to call its own witness to “rebut” the defendant’s character evidence, may defendant raise specific instances of conduct on cross-examination of that witness? 6. Prosecution of Defendant for the murder of Victim. The prosecution alleges that Defendant planned and carried out the murder of Victim, Defendant’s business rival. To prove Defendant committed the crime, the prosecution calls Witness during its case-in-chief to testify that she has known Defendant for many years, and that in her opinion, Defendant is a violent person. Defendant objects. How should the court rule? 7. Same case. During his case-in-chief, Defendant calls Witness to testify that she has lived in the same community as Defendant for many years, that she knows Defendant’s reputation for peacefulness, and that Defendant’s reputation is that he is a peaceful person. The prosecution objects that Defendant has offered inadmissible character evidence. How should the court rule? 8.
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2010 for the course LAW 7330 taught by Professor Lushing during the Fall '05 term at Yeshiva.

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Chapter4 - CHAPTER 4 _ Evidence of Character, Uncharged...

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