Commonwealth v. Gboko

In Commonwealth v. Gboko, the Pennsylvania Superior Court had to determine whether a testifying defendant is permitted to present character evidence for truthfulness. The defendant was charged with recklessly endangering another person and possessing an instrument of crime. He testified in his own defense. The Court held that Rule of Evidence 608 allows “a testifying defendant to call witnesses to testify as to his or her truthful character whenever the Commonwealth attacks his or her general reputation for truthfulness during trial.” And Rule 404 “permits a defendant (testifying or non-testifying) to call witnesses to testify as to his or her truthful character when the defendant’s reputation for truthfulness is pertinent to the underlying criminal offense, e.g., perjury.” Neither of those situations applied to this defendant, so the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling excluding the character evidence.

Gboko