Abstract

The problems of character evidence "resolved" by the new Federal Rules are problems that involve the structure of human personality. The judgmental processing by jurors of character information involves a behavioral transaction called interpersonal perception. Each of these psychological problems has been intensively investigated for nearly 40 years. As the character problems of the law now take on the appearance of having been solved, there is not the slightest indication that the results of this scientific endeavor influenced the choices made by the law. The solutions to these problems composed by the Judicial Conference and embraced by the Supreme Court and Congress are grounded exclusively on supposed common sense and naive psychological thought. The persevering thought and creative imagination that typically accompany legal judgments do not appear in the intellectual effort underneath the new character rules. As a consequence, to defend its action the law has only Wigmore's claim that science has not yet provided an acceptable alternative to its own intuitive judgment about human personality. It is time to investigate the validity of that claim; this article initiates such an inquiry.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1975

Notes/Citation Information

Notre Dame Lawyer, Vol. 50, No. 5 (June 1975), 758-789

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Evidence Commons

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