Americans consider child molestation and sexual assault among the most heinous crimes that one can commit. In response to the public's opinion regarding these crimes, Congress created exceptions to the longstanding rule barring character propensity evidence. Over the protests of prominent lefal figures, Congress enacted Federal Rules of Evidence 413- 415 in 1994. Though these rules have been sustained by several appellate court decisions, the constitutionality of Rules 413-415 has not been conclusively decided by the United States Supreme Court. Missouri's legislature has twice attempted to pass a statute regarding child molestation similar to Federal Rule of Evidence 414, and twice the Missouri Supreme Court has struck down these attempts as unconstitutional.7 Although the Missouri Supreme Court relied entirely on state constitutional grounds in refusing to uphold statutes permitting propensity evidence in child molestation prosecutions, one must ask whether the Missouri Supreme Court should instead follow in the footsteps of the of the federal judiciary, which has allowed similar long-standing rules of evidence to be rejected in favor of the will of the legislature. The essence of this query lies in the answer to the question of whether the prejudicial effect of such propensity evidence and the threat to an individual's right to be tried only for the crime for which one stands accused outweighs the potential dangers posed to victims and society.

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