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4.4 Character of Defendant

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4.4 CHARACTER OF DEFENDANT 

Comment

The Committee believes that the trial judge need not give an instruction on the character of the defendant when such evidence is admitted under Fed. R. Evid. 404(a)(1) because it adds nothing to the general instructions regarding the consideration and weighing of evidence. See United States v. Karterman, 60 F.3d 576, 579 (9th Cir.1995) (refusal of trial court to instruct on character of defendant was not plain error where "the district court instructed the jury to ‘consider all of the evidence introduced by all parties,’ to ‘carefully scrutinize all the testimony given,’ and to consider ‘every matter in evidence which tends to show whether a witness is worthy of belief.’"); see also Fed. R. Evid. 404(a)(1).

Former Instruction 4.4 in the Manual of Model Criminal Jury Instructions for the Ninth Circuit (2003) read as follows:

You have heard evidence of the defendant’s character for [e.g., truthfulness, peacefulness, honesty, etc.]. In deciding this case, you should consider that evidence together with and in the same manner as all the other evidence in the case.