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4.7 Character of Witness for Truthfulness

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The Committee believes that the trial judge need not give an instruction on the character of a witness for truthfulness because it adds nothing to the general instructions on witness credibility. As to these instructions, see Instructions 1.7 and 3.9.

Former Instruction 4.7 in the Manual of Model Criminal Jury Instructions for the Ninth Circuit (2003) read as follows:

You have heard evidence of the character for truthfulness of [name of witness], a witness. You may consider this evidence along with other evidence in deciding whether or not to believe that witness’s testimony and how much weight to give to it.

Character and reputation are not two separate types of evidence. Reputation is one means of proving character. Opinion evidence is another. Regarding admissibility of character evidence, see Fed. R. Evid. 607 (Who May Impeach), 608 (Evidence of Character and Conduct of Witness) and 609 (Impeachment By Evidence of Conviction of Crime).