This article centers on the case of United States v. Martinez, the only recent case in which an accused was acquitted on the ground of good moral character. Martinez illustrates the powerful effect of a good character evidence defense that showed the accused led a blameless life before being inveigled into drug courier service by an intimidating DEA informer. This article begins with a brief review of United States v. Martinez. Following a presentation of this case, the article shifts focus to examine what our sister discipline of psychology can tell us about human personality and the cross-situational stability of human behavior and the scientific basis for or against admission of character evidence. Next, the article examines the state of the law relating to defense character evidence and the prosecution's right to rebut good character with bad character. Finally, the article proposes some changes in the structural system for admitting character evidence.
Thomas J. Reed,
The Character Evidence Defense: Acquittal Based on Good Character,
45 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol45/iss3/4