Remember The Guy Who Wanted To Get The Giant “Murder” He Had Tattooed On His Own Neck Removed Because It Would Prejudice The Jury In His Murder Trial? That Was NOTHING. What Does A Criminal Defendant Do Who Looks Like THIS???

Caius Veiovis

The charming face above belongs to Caius Veiovis, 33, an artist, one might say, who uses his face as his canvas, but who also is charged in Massachusetts with kidnapping, torturing and murdering three men. Now, we are told, his defense attorney is arguing that someone who not only looks like demon from hell but clearly wanted to represent himself to the world this way cannot get a fair trial because, biased fools that jurors are, they might hold Veiovis’s looks against him.

I think it’s fair to say that mad wag Caius finally provides the reductio ad absurdum of the issue I raised here in April, as Kansas murder defendant Jeffrey Chapman petitioned to have the court allow him to remove the giant tattoo that spells out the word  MURDER he  intentionally had inked around his neck, also to avoid prejudice by the jury. He was allowed to do so, citing as precedent the case of this guy,

murderers tattoos2

…who made the state pay to have a Hollywood make-up artist cover up his tattoos even though the idiot had them put on him while he was awaiting trial.

Much as I am tempted to say that it is not unreasonable, unfair or unjust to allow people to stand trial with the messages they intended to send to the world about their beliefs and character echoing unmuffled through the courtroom—and I bet you are tempted too—it is easy to see why judges usually can’t allow this. No matter what someone tattoos on his face, the message still isn’t proof that he committed the crime he was charged with. Imagine a facial tattoo that says “I did it!” or “Guilty as charged!” Still, the last of my musings about Chapman was this:

“What other self-destructive conduct is like tattooing MURDER on one’s neck? Or is the official verdict of American society that there should be no personal responsibility for self-destructive conduct?”

I appears that Caius Veiovis provides some answers to these questions, because there is no reasonable way his self-mutilations can be covered up. A defendant can’t stand trial with a bag over his head, for observing the demeanor of the accused during trial is part of the jury’s job. In addition, altering an extreme appearance that may be part of the prosecution’s case ( Q: “Sir, do you see the individual you described who committed the crime anywhere in this courtroom?”  A: “Are you kidding???“) is not in the interest of justice.  I would also think a defense attorney should be able to get some mileage out of the argument that police were biased by the defendant’s appearance, and just lazily concluded that the horrific crimes must have been committed by the individual near the scene who chooses to look like Satan.

As an aside, it could be worse. For example, Caius might have made himself look like Maria Josè Cisterna, who has managed to stay out of trouble, which, I think, is wise…


So it seems that poor Caius is going to be stuck standing trial for murder looking like evil incarnate, or, perhaps, stupid incarnate.

Somehow, I just can’t work up much sympathy for him.

Note: You can read about what people with his strange obsession have to go through here.


Facts: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Sources: New York Times, California Lawyer


15 thoughts on “Remember The Guy Who Wanted To Get The Giant “Murder” He Had Tattooed On His Own Neck Removed Because It Would Prejudice The Jury In His Murder Trial? That Was NOTHING. What Does A Criminal Defendant Do Who Looks Like THIS???

  1. Given the large number of people that sport tattoos, body piercings and other mutilations in our society I find it disingenuous by the defense attorney to claim he cannot get a fair trial. Sure he looks odd and scary to the average person but so too do Goths that dress in all black and project sullenness.

    The defense attorney is not claiming pretrial publicity in which he is described in a manner that suggests only he is guilty for the change of venue, he is asking for no trial because of the way he looks. The defense attorney is attempting to project a bias without demonstrating actual bias exists that cannot be remedied during the jury selection.

    Imagine what will happen if he is successful. Any person could claim they cold not get fair trial by virtue of their appearance that cannot be easily changed (read skin color).

  2. He looks innocent to me.

    Honestly, the attorneys are the biggest criminals – I don’t trust people who look like attorneys.

  3. If you make yourself look evil there’s a good chance you might be seen that way. If a tattoo makes you a part of a group and gives you an identity that identity is fair game. If I show up in court looking like a grandma that’s pretty accurate.
    Clean and neat are required in a courtroom for the sake of respect, everything else is part of what you are and that includes what it shows about your character.

  4. Police officers commonly face a similar but much less extreme situation when the cleaned up, dressed up defendant who appears in court today bears little resemblance to the crack-crazed maniac you had to fight through a house and across the lawn last weekend. Frankly, I’ve had defendants show up in court and I couldn’t have picked them out of a lineup. The attorneys love for the judge and jury to see the “squeaky clean” version of their clients. That’s what so handy about AV recording on the street: the judge and/or jury get to see and hear the defendant just as the arresting officer did. One question, why would it not be sufficient to just cover the prejudicial “murder” tattoo with makeup (as mentioned in another case) or a bandage? Anyone?

  5. We have an employee with the tattoo of a giant question mark on her neck. We have a heck of a time placing her, and part of that is because the tattoo is unavoidable proof of her questionable (sorry …) judgment. If you think a 6″ tattoo of a question mark on your neck is a good idea, how can I trust you to make decisions on behalf of my company?

  6. When you’ve deliberately disfigured your body in order to present yourself to the world as a thug or a demonic freak, then you’ve made a statement as to who you are more loudly than any hairstyle or clothing could. If you then want to remove such insane motifs or implants later- fine. But that’s your option and your expense. You put it there. To demand that it be done at public expense- whether under indictment for a crime or not- is just as insane and unjust as Sandra Fluke demanding that taxpayers subsidize her bedhopping.

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