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Rule 608. A Witnessís Character forTruthfulness or Untruthfulness


(a)      Reputation orOpinion Evidence. A witnessís credibility may be attacked or supported bytestimony about the witnessís reputation for having a character fortruthfulness or untruthfulness, or by testimony in the form of an opinion aboutthat character. But evidence of truthful character is admissible only after thewitnessís character for truthfulness has been attacked.


(b)      SpecificInstances of Conduct. Exceptfor a criminal conviction under Rule 609, extrinsic evidence is not admissibleto prove specific instances of a witnessís conduct in order to attack orsupport the witnessís character for truthfulness. But the court may, oncross-examination, allow them to be inquired into if they are probative of thecharacter for truthfulness or untruthfulness of:


(1)   thewitness; or


(2)   anotherwitness whose character the witness being cross-examined has testified about.


By testifying on another matter, awitness does not waive any privilege against self-incrimination for testimonythat relates only to the witnessís character for truthfulness.


(c)      Evidenceof Bias. Bias,prejudice or any motive to misrepresent may be shown to impeach the witnesseither by examination of the witness or by other evidence.



2011 Advisory Committee Note. Ė The language of this rule has beenamended as part of the restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easilyunderstood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to changeany result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.




Thisamendment is in order to be consistent with changes made to the Federal Rule.


Subdivisions(a) and (b) are the federal rule, verbatim, and are comparable to Rules 22 and6, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971), except to the extent that Subdivision (a)limits such evidence to credibility for truthfulness or untruthfulness. Rule22(c), Utah Rules of Evidence (1971) allowed a broader attack on the characterof a witness as to truth, honesty and integrity.


This ruleshould be read in conjunction with Rule 405. Subdivision (b) allows, in thediscretion of the court on cross-examination, inquiry into specific instancesof the witness's conduct relative to his character for truthfulness or untruthfulnessor specific instances of conduct of a person as to whom the witness hasprovided character testimony. See, State v. Adams, 26 Utah 2d 377, 489 P.2d1191 (1971). Attack upon a witness's credibility by specific instances ofcharacter other than conviction of a crime is inadmissible under current Utahlaw. Cf. Bullock v. Ungricht, 538 P.2d 190 (Utah1975); Rule 47, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). Allowing cross-examination of awitness as to specific instances affecting character for truthfulness is new toUtah practice and in accord with the decision in Michelson v. United States,335 U.S. 469 (1948). The cross-examination of a character witness as tospecific instances of conduct which the character witness may have heard aboutconcerning the person whose character is placed in evidence has been sanctionedby a prior decision, State v. Watts, 639 P.2d 158 (Utah 1981).


The rule issubject to a witness invoking the statutory privilege against degradationcontained in Utah Code Annotated, Section 78-24-9 (1953). See, In re Peterson,15 Utah 2d 27, 386 P.2d 726 (1963). The privilege, however, may be subject tolimitation to accommodate an accused's right ofconfrontation. Cf. Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308 (1974).


Subdivision(c) is Rule 608(c), Military Rules of Evidence, verbatim.