Obsolete Date: 3/1/2005
(a) Opinion and Reputation Evidence of Character. The credibility of a witness may be attacked or supported by evidence in the form of opinion or reputation, but subject to these limitations: (1) the evidence may refer only to character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, and (2) evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the character of the witness for truthfulness has been attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
(b) Specific Instances of Conduct. Specific instances of the conduct of a witness, for the purpose of attacking or supporting the witness' credibility, other than conviction of crime as provided in Rule 609, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence. However, in the discretion of the court, if probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness, they may be inquired into on cross-examination of the witness (i) concerning the witness' character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, or (ii) concerning the character for truthfulness or untruthfulness of another witness as to which character the witness being cross-examined has testified.
(c) Privilege Against Self-Incrimination. The giving of testimony, whether by an accused or by any other witness, does not operate as a waiver of the accused's or the witness' privilege against self-incrimination when examined with respect to matters relating only to credibility.
Rule 608 is taken from Rule 608 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. It develops the exception stated in Rule 404 to the general prohibition against use of character evidence by allowing evidence of a witness' truthful or untruthful character to support or attack the witness' character for truthfulness.
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendment is technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 2005, to substitute the term "character for truthfulness" for the term "credibility" in subdivisions (b) and (c).
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, in response to the December 1, 2011, revision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of April 26-27, 2012, page 24; January 29-30, 2004, page 21; March 24-25, 1988, page 12; December 3, 1987, page 15; April 8, 1976, page 27. Fed.R.Ev. 608; Rule 608, SBAND proposal.