First, it is important to note that there is no issue with saying a witness is mistaken, going towards their perception, memory, or narrative accuracy. Attacking the witnesses poor eyesight or memory is not an attack on character, so it is generally admissible (assuming relevancy).

Noncharacter Impeachment

This is impeaching the witness by saying that there are lying now, not saying that they are a liar. There are several ways to do this:

  • Contradiction by conflicting evidence.
  • Past inconsistent statement
  • Bias

Character Impeachment

Character impeachment is saying that the witness is a liar and lied in accordance with that attribute. Rule 404(a)(3) would allow this evidence if permitted under Rules 607–609.

  • 607: Either party can attack witness credibility.
  • 608(a): Either party can offer evidence of untruthfulness.
  • 608(b): Cross-examination may ask about specific instances of the witness’s conduct regarding truthfulness.
  • 609: Either party can impeach by showing a witness’s past conviction of a serious or deceptive crime. “Lied then, lying now.”

The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.

Categories: 2L Spring, Evidence

Will Laursen

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