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METHODS OF PROVING CHARACTER [FED. R. EVID. Rule 405]

(See Rules of Evidence Outline)

Reputation or Opinion.

In all cases in which evidence of character or a trait of character of a person is admissible, proof may be made by testimony as to reputation or by testimony in the form of an opinion. On cross-examination, inquiry is allowable into relevant specific instances of conduct. FED. R. EVID. Rule 405(a); US v. Peterson, 553 F.2d 324 (3d Cir. 1977) (stating evidence defendant belonged to pacifist church not admissible to show character trait of non-violence).

 

Specific Instances of Conduct.

In cases in which character or a trait of character of a person is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, proof may also be made of specific instances of his conduct. FED. R. EVID. Rule 405(b); US v. Pantone, 609 F.2d 675 (3d Cir. 1979) [Rule 405 forbids use of specific instances of conduct to prove character unless character is an essential element of offense charges].

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