character evidence

Popular Terms
Substantive evidence of the reputation and disposition of an accused. Character evidence is submitted generally to (1) corroborate the credibility of a witness, (2) argue that a person of good character is less likely to commit the crime in question, or (3) argue that a person of bad character deserves no leniency. In criminal cases, evidence of good character may be given before a conviction (as a part of defense), and of a bad character after the conviction (to seek a stiff sentence). In civil cases (as in defamation), evidence of bad character is usually admissible, and evidence of a good character may be given in rebuttal.


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