Now THIS Is A Prejudicial Tattoo..

This is not a hoax.

His name in Michael Vines, and we have his South Carolina mug shot. He is charged with unlawfully carrying  a firearm. You can see the guilt on his face.

Here is what will happen. We know this, because there have been many cases with criminal defendants standing trial who have, entirely due to their own cretinous choices, incriminating or otherwise potentially prejudicial tattoos, like swastikas, words like “hate,” “kill,” or “murder,” and names like “Hitler”  visible somewhere on their head or neck.In each case, the judge has ruled that the tattoos must be covered with make-up—paid for by the State— to ensure a fair trial. A conviction of a man with, say, “hate” tattooed on his neck who is charged with a hate crime would provoke an automatic reversal and new trial. I have several posts about these cases, and normally I would supply the links, but I’m afraid that looking at more than one of these pictures in a 24 hour period will jeopardize my already precarious IQ stability. Search for “tattoos” on the blog: you’ll find them.

This guy’s tattoo is a new wrinkle: Have a graphic representation of your crime imprinted on your forehead.  This opens up a whole new vista in self-incriminating body art. Spousal abusers can sport tattoos of a man belting a woman. Embezzlers can have a tattoo showing a hand reaching into the till. Drug pushers can wear a drawing of a loaded syringe. FBI agents can display portraits of Hillary Clinton.

Of course, the simple way to convey the same message is to just have a talented tattoo artist write “I’m an idiot” on your face. (Make sure he’s not eating a Milky Way, or you may be stuck with “I’m an idoit.” Come to think of it, that might be even better.

I have been wondering if a defendant would be allowed to stand trial with nice tattoos on his face that suggest harmlessness and innocence. You know: tattoos of Care Bears, peace signs, hearts or portraits of Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Theresa, or Barack Obama. Would a judge allow such a defendant to appear before the jury with those messages uncovered?

My guess is yes.

___________

Pointer and Source: Res Ipsa Loquitur

12 Comments

Filed under Law & Law Enforcement

12 responses to “Now THIS Is A Prejudicial Tattoo..

  1. Isn’t the prosecution allowed to show the mug shot as evidence, or to at least talk about the tattoo? I understand the cognitive dissonance power of background and reputation mindsets and how they are affected by appearance, but it still seems like a rather pointless gesture.

    • No. Mugshots are often excluded, because they aren’t probative, and make defendants look guilty.

      • adimagejim

        What if it just makes the defendant look stupid? Since stupidity is likely contributory to crime, is that admissible?

        • Matthew B.

          His appearance isn’t supposed to be what he’s being judged on, just the facts of the crime. So no, looking stupid in a mug shot isn’t a reason to show it.

          Now if there is police dash camera or body camera video of the events unfolding as the police investigated or arrested Vines, that might get in. The same for security footage if it is available. That could be argued as relevant. But a smart judge just might make them cover the tattoo before letting a jury see the video or stills.

        • Stupidity can be a defense, I guess, but never part of, or relevant to, the charged offense.

  2. Kevin

    This reminds me of a joke by a standup named Neal Brennan. The joke is, “When you get a face tattoo, you’re sending a message. And that message is, ‘I’m fine with minimum wage ‘” .kev

  3. dragin_dragon

    Jack said: “FBI agents can display portraits of Hillary Clinton.” Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that I have several spare keyboards around the house?

    • I always stop and consider if I should include those kind of comments, and I almost always get blowback for them. But hell, this is why I went to a blog format from the old, more staid Ethics Scoreboard. I get to amuse myself sometimes…

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