Monday, July 16, 2012

MBE Fast Fact: Impeachment by Conviction of a Crime.

A quick and easy approach to analyzing impeachment by conviction of a crime:

Was the crime a felony? If yes, then you need not determine whether the crime involves dishonesty. Felonies are admissible to impeach.

Was the crime a misdemeanor? If yes, then you must determine whether the crime involved dishonesty. If the crime does not involve dishonesty, then it is not admissible for purposes of impeachment. If the crime does involve dishonesty, then it is potentially admissible. You must determine whether the defendant is the witness being impeached. If so, then the evidence is only admissible if the probative value of the evidence outweighs the prejudicial effect. If not, then the evidence is admissible if the probative value is not substantially outweighed by the prejudicial effect (essentially, rule 403).

Regardless of your determination above, apply the limitations, such as the ten-year rule, pardons, etc.

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