The Federal Rules of Evidence limit the use of propensity character evidence to specific instances, including the impeachment of a witness. The character evidence rules focus textually on individuals, and it is unclear whether they apply to corporations. This note examines whether Rule 404, which prohibits propensity character evidence, and Rule 608, which makes an exception for the purposes of impeachment, apply to corporations. It explores whether corporations can possess character for the purposes of the Rules, examines how corporate vicarious testimony affects impeachment, and investigates whether the rationales for the character evidence rules are applicable to corporations. This note concludes that Rules 404 and 608 should be amended to include corporations, so that corporations testifying vicariously through representatives can be held accountable at trial for prior dishonest acts.
Geoffrey M. Stannard,
The Liar and the Loophole: Corporate Character Evidence and Impeachment,
81 Brook. L. Rev.
Available at: http://brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/blr/vol81/iss1/6