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Rule 608. ?AWitness?s Character for Truthfulness or Untruthfulness.


(a)      Reputationor Opinion Evidence. A witness?s credibility may be attacked orsupported by testimony about the witness?s reputation for having a characterfor truthfulness or untruthfulness, or by testimony in the form of an opinionabout that character. But evidence of truthful character is admissible onlyafter the witness?s character for truthfulness has been attacked.


(b)      SpecificInstances of Conduct. Except for a criminal conviction under Rule609, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to prove specific instances of awitness?s conduct in order to attack or support the witness?s character fortruthfulness. But the court may, on cross-examination, allow them to be inquiredinto if they are probative of the character for truthfulness or untruthfulnessof:

(b)(1)   the witness; or


(b)(2)   another witness whose character the witness beingcross-examined has testified about.


Bytestifying on another matter, a witness does not waive any privilege againstself-incrimination for testimony that relates only to the witness?s characterfor 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.



EffectiveNovember 1, 2004



2011 Advisory Committee Note. ?The language of this rule has been amended as part of therestyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to makestyle and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes areintended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in anyruling on evidence admissibility.


Original Advisory Committee Note.  This amendment is inorder 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 oruntruthfulness or specific instances of conduct of a person as to whom thewitness has provided character testimony. See, State v. Adams, 26 Utah2d 377, 489 P.2d 1191 (1971). Attack upon a witness's credibility by specificinstances of character other than conviction of a crime is inadmissible undercurrent Utah law. Cf. Bullock v. Ungricht,538 P.2d 190 (Utah 1975); Rule 47, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971).Allowing cross-examination of a witness as to specific instances affectingcharacter for truthfulness is new to Utah practice and in accord with thedecision in Michelson v. United States, 335 U.S. 469 (1948). The cross-examinationof a character witness as to specific instances of conduct which the characterwitness may have heard about concerning the person whose character is placed inevidence has been sanctioned by a prior decision, State v. Watts, 639P.2d 158 (Utah 1981).


The ruleis subject to a witness invoking the statutory privilege against degradationcontained in Utah Code ? 78-24-9 (1953). See, In re Peterson, 15 Utah 2d27, 386 P.2d 726 (1963). The privilege, however, maybe subject to limitation to accommodate an accused's rightof confrontation. Cf. Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308(1974).


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