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Name: People v. Myers
Case #: G037074
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/15/2007

Character evidence for the purpose of Evidence Code section 1103 comprises something other than evidence of conduct at the time in question because the purpose of character evidence is to show that a person acted in conformity with his character. As such, character evidence is premised on a continuity of character over time as opposed to an isolated incident. In addition to other counts, appellant was charged with resisting an officer with serious bodily injury and battery on an officer. In an in limine motion the prosecution sought to introduce evidence of appellant’s violent character if appellant testified that the officer acted violently during the arrest. Defense counsel objected that such evidence was prejudicial but not that it was inadmissable under section 1103. The appellate court agreed that appellant’s testimony as to the officer’s aggressive behavior did not constitute 1103 character evidence and, therefore, should not have permitted introduction of appellant’s character. But in view of the entire evidence, although an objection by defense counsel on 1103 grounds would have been meritorious, the failure to do so caused no prejudice. The appellate court also found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for discovery of the officer’s personnel record (Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531) and that defense counsel’s presumed recommendation to appellant to testify as to the details of the alleged prior serious felony conviction in Arizona was not ineffective assistance of counsel as the court could have determined the nature of the prior without the testimony.