Strange But True: Judge Rules That a Defendant’s FACE is Prejudicial

And now, from Reuters, an instance of the American justice system violating principles of honesty, logic and common sense in order to be “fair.”

As a neo-Nazi gang member prepared to go  on trial for murder, he got himself some new tattoos:  a swastika, barbed wire, and an obscene word. On his face!

His lawyer argued in a pretrial motion that the tattoos, which John Ditullio acquired after his arrest, could prejudice a jury.

Well, yeah—I suppose so!  It also “prejudices” a jury when an accused killer looks like he could rip someone’s head off with his bare hands,  when an accused prostitute is wearing a EEE push-up bra, or when a defendant sweats when he lies. Judges don’t usually do anything about these things. This  judge, however, ordered the state to pay for a cosmetologist to apply makeup before trial each day to cover up the tattoos on Ditullio’s face and neck.

What’s next, I wonder? Extreme make-overs for defendants so they look “nice”? Capped teeth? Hair plugs? Dermabrasion? Botox? The court is deceiving the jury in the interest of fairness, even though the defendant cconsciously chose to make certain anyone looking at his face would receive the message, “I am a Nazi!”

Allowing a jury to see, not only what a defendant really looks like, but also how he wants to look, is not unfair, and doesn’t prejudice anyone.  But such over-cautious and absurd rulings do prejudice critics of the justice system, and the wisdom of judges.

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