After the character of a witness for truthfulness has been attacked, the other party has the opportunity of rehabilitating that witness. How does one know if the character of a witness has been attacked? There are three primary methods, found in Rule 608 and 609:

  1. Opinion or reputation of witness’s bad character for truthfulness
  2. Cross-examination of specific acts of untruthful character
  3. Evidence of a past conviction.

Thus, if the opposing party offers any of those three things, then the rehabilitating party can counter.

In United States v. Bonner, 302 F.3d 776 (7th Cir. 2002), Bonner objected to the admission of character witnesses provided to bolster the credibility of the prosecution’s main witness. Generally, bolstering is not permitted unless the character of the witness has been attacked. Here, the credibility has been attacked because Bonner implied that the prosecution’s witness was being untruthful to receive benefits from helping out the case.


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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