Every once in a while it’s good to throw out a little reminder regarding tattoos. We love ‘em, we get ‘em and sometimes some of us travel great distances and spend massive amounts of cash to get just what we want tattooed by that particular tattoo artist we’ve been admiring for years. And although most of us take getting a tattoo seriously enough, it’s always good to send a little reminder out there that what you get tattooed is not going away and if there happens to be consequences as a result of what you have tattooed, then you have to face them because that’s just the way that it goes.
Of course, the vast majority of people out there aren’t in the same boat as 25-year-old white supremacist Christopher Slavin, but regardless, Slavin’s case is still a case of not wanting to take responsibility for his tattoos. Slavin was found guilty in 2001 of attempted murder, assault and aggravated harassment back in 2000 after he and fellow skinhead Ryan Wagner lured two Mexican immigrants to an abandoned building in Long Island, New York and brutally attacked them with a metal post-hole digger and a folding knife. The Mexicans ended up escaping and Slavin and Wagner were arrested, but Slavin later argued that police took photos of him without his shirt on, in which his neo-Nazi tattoos were visible. These photos were handed over to prosecutors and used to obtain a grand jury indictment. It was Slavin’s belief that he didn’t receive a fair trial as a result of the jury having access to these photos.
Well, as of this past Monday, a three-judge appellate panel has confirmed that the lower court’s ruling on Slavin’s case stands. The verdict? Sorry Christopher Slavin, your petty whinging ain’t gonna cut it…
‘”Even assuming that the prosecution’s use of the tattoo evidence was testimonial in nature, however, ‘[t]he tattoo[s] … w[ere] not compelled by the government,’” the judges, quoting from the 2nd Circuit’s decision in U.S. v. Greer, a case they heard a month earlier. “We noted in Greer that even if officers were able to read the tattoos at issue ‘only by applying physical force[,] … it would … not amount to compulsion for Fifth Amendment purposes.’ To the contrary, “[t]he voluntary tattooing of an incriminating word” to a defendant’s body plainly is ‘not the product of government compulsion.’”
In other words, you’re responsible for what you have tattooed. No one else but you.