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Voters approve amendment allowing prior evidence to be used in court

Missouri voters have approved a constitutional amendment allowing previous allegations of criminal acts to be used against people facing sex-related charges involving victims under 18 years old.

Constitutional Amendment 2 had faced no organized opposition in Tuesday’s election. It was supported by prosecutors and sheriffs.

Previous crimes and allegations of criminal acts generally can’t be used against defendants in court. The amendment creates an exception for potential child sex abuse cases.

Some prosecutors and law enforcement officials say the measure could help convict sex offenders. But at least one prominent defense attorney said it could lead to more wrongful convictions against innocent defendants.

Missouri will be one of 12 states that allow prior criminal allegations to be used in child sex abuse cases.

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