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Lawdibles :: CALI Podcasts

Character Evidence: Evidence law’s anti-propensity inference rule and its exceptions. – Arthur Best

April 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments · All Posts, Evidence, Lawdibles Audio

Professor Arthur BestWhy does so much evidence about a defendant’s character get admitted, even though the law supposedly rejects the propensity inference? This question highlights a fundamental problem in evidence law – the shaky rationale for the anti-propensity rule, and the complications surrounding the many exceptions to the rule. Professor Arthur Best will address these issues and more in this character evidence Lawdible.

Apparently, even though there are big risks of prejudice and imprecision when we admit character evidence to show action in conformity with that character, some common-sense feelings about that evidence support the use of some major exceptions to the prohibition.

A defendant may introduce evidence of his or her own good character and may introduce evidence about an alleged victim’s character for aggressiveness, for example. The prosecution may respond with additional character evidence.  The combination of a general prohibition and a variety of exceptions suggests that the law may have only moderate allegiance to the basic anti-propensity rule.

CALI Lesson pairing: Character Evidence Under Federal Rules

Professor Best’s faculty profile is here.


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