1.) The general characteristics that a credible witness should possess is that such individual should be believable and competent to testify based on his or her personal knowledge of events or information that occurred (Brinker, 1995, p. 874). Credibility is the quality in a witness which renders his or her evidence worthy to believe. Thus, in order for a witness to be qualified as credible such individual should be honest, trustworthy and entitled to be believed. The oath or affidavit of such person is considered as reliable because of his or her good reputation for veracity. In addition, such individual should be intelligent, knowledgeable of the circumstances and a disinterested relation to the subject matter in issue (Kennedy and Kennedy, 1998, p. 155).
The three primary duties that every credible witness should perform are: 1.) He or she must have personal knowledge of the subject matter in question; 2.) He or she must take an oath or an affirmation of the matters to be testified in order to guarantee the accuracy and truthfulness of the testimony, and 3.) Such person must be able to express competency by showing his or her ability to comprehend and make known before an open court the material facts of the case. To be able to consider a witness credible, such person should possess personal knowledge regarding the facts and information that are in question; and should be able to convince the court that he or she was present when the criminal act occurred. Finally, such person must have a firsthand and direct knowledge regarding the circumstances regarding the case to qualify as an expert witness such as the police officers or medical experts.
2.) Pursuant to the Federal Rule of Evidence under Rule 608, the personal character of the witness be put on trial is only to for the character witness to testify about the reputation of the witness. The law allows a witness to be impeached if the character witness is familiar with the reputation for the truthfulness and veracity of the person to be impeached and that it is bad. Hence, such the honesty and integrity of a witness being impeached may be questioned by the character witness and shall only be allowed to testify in the community he or she lives. These character witnesses do not testify about the reputation of the defendant as to possess a character that is inconsistent with the crime being charged. In effect, the character witness can only testify about reputation and cannot state a personal opinion regarding the believability of the witness to be impeached is inadmissible. Therefore, the court will only allow character testimony in the form of either a reputation or personal opinion regarding the witness being impeached (McElhaney, 2005, p. 251).
Any evidence that will pertain to the truthful character of a witness shall be considered admissible in court provided that the character of the witness being impeached for truthfulness was confronted by presentation of reputation evidence or opinion.
Such examination of the witness must be an essential requirement of the court proceedings to guarantee the accuracy and veracity of the witness’ testimony. The personal character of the witness should be put in trial so that it will give the court an opportunity to verify the statements of the witnesses with regard to the probative value of the information presented in court.
Brinker, R. C. (1995). The Surveying Handbook. New York: Springer.
Kennedy, J.R. and Kennedy, W.D. (1998). Was Jefferson Davis Right? Lousiana: Pelican
McElhaney, J. W. (2005). Mcelhaney's: Trial Notebook, 4th ed.USA: American Bar Association.