- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled a recent constitutional amendment allows prosecutors to present more evidence in child sex abuse cases, regardless of when the alleged abuse happened.

In a 6-0 ruling, Supreme Court judges said past criminal allegations can be used in child sex abuse trials from December 2014 forward - when the amendment took effect.

The issue came up after a Missouri man accused of a child sex crime in 2013 said allegations of past crimes shouldn’t be used in his upcoming trial.

Kendrick Tipler, 34, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in 2005. He was initially charged with first-degree statutory rape, but he accepted the plea deal for a charge with less prison time, according to court documents.

Tipler is now charged for an alleged attempted sexual act against a child in 2013. After a trial in that case in 2015 ended with a hung jury, the judge ruled that prosecutors could use Tipler’s past conviction as evidence in another trial.

Tipler’s public defender, Leslie Hazel, declined comment. She argued to Supreme Court judges that the change shouldn’t apply to crimes that allegedly happened before the amendment took effect.

But Supreme Court judges said the constitutional change “applies to all trials occurring on or after the effective date of the amendment, regardless of when the crimes are alleged to have occurred,” according to the judges’ ruling Tuesday.

“There is no basis in the text of this provision to limit its application to crimes that are alleged to have occurred after (it took effect), and there is no other basis on which to impose such a limitation,” the judges wrote.

The judges didn’t specifically weigh in on how Tipler’s criminal trial should be handled and said he should raise any objections on the use of evidence during the trial.

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