Impeachment Basics: The ABCs of Challenging Witness Credibility

Apr 15, 2019

When questioning witnesses, the principle of impeachment simply means the introduction of evidence that may cast doubt on the credibility of the witness or the validity of the testimony. There are countless ways to impeach a witness. California Evidence Code section 780 identifies the most common methods, but they are expressly non-exhaustive: “[T]he … jury may consider in determining the credibility of a witness any matter that has any tendency in reason to prove or disprove the...

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Impeachment Evidence: Attacking Credibility And Proving Its Truth?  

Feb 23, 2019

When it comes to impeachment—attacking the credibility of a witness—lawyers sometimes fail to consider whether the evidence is substantive or pure impeachment. It can lead to an exchange like the following:

Judge: Are you offering this evidence as pure impeachment or to establish its truth?

Lawyer: Yes.

Knowing whether impeachment evidence may also be substantive is important. Substantive evidence “is offered to establish the truth of a matter to be determined by...

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The Admissibility of Character Evidence: Demystifying the Rules and their Application

Apr 01, 2018

Character evidence is similar to hearsay in that there is a general rule of inadmissibility followed by so many exceptions that they often gobble up the general rule. But what can make character evidence trickier is that even when it is admissible, there are specific rules about the type of character evidence that is allowed. This article provides a road map so that trial lawyers can know the what, when, and how of character evidence.  

What is...

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