State constitutional amendment would allow prior records to be used in child sexual abuse cases
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State constitutional amendment would allow prior records to be used in child sexual abuse cases

Date: October 20, 2014
By: Jill Ornitz
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HJR 16 

Intro: 
Missouri voters will have the chance to pass a constitutional amendment allowing a person's legal history to be used as evidence in child sex abuse cases.
RunTime:  0:38
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Jefferson County Republican Representative John McCaherty said Amendment 2 will allow prosecutors to use applicable information in cases involving the sexual assaults of children, saving minors from enduring any more trauma.

Actuality:  AMEND2A.WAV
Run Time:  00:10
Description: "For you or I that's one thing. You and I can sit before a jury and describe what happened to us. For a child, that's a completely different story."

 

McCaherty sponsored the legislation after being prompted by a constituent whose daughter was abused.

Critics said the evidence could be prejudicial and prevent an individual from receiving a fair trial.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

Intro: 
Opponents of a constitutional amendment on the November 4 ballot argue it could infringe upon a person's right to a fair trial if passed.
RunTime:  0:40
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: State Senator and lawyer Joe Keaveny said Amendment 2 goes too far when prosecuting individuals accused of committing child sex crimes.

That's why he voted against the legislation in 2013.

Actuality:  AMEND2D.WAV
Run Time:  00:17

Description: "There's no doubt that the underlying crime is a heinous crime. But, you know, when we start allowing prejudicial evidence like this to get involved in the trial portion, I just think it's too extreme."

Supporters said it would help shield victims of abuse from further trauma.

Criminal history is admissible in federal child sexual abuse cases and in 30 states.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.


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