Daily outrage: Florida state ordered to pay for daily cover-up of defendant’s tattoos

WHO: John Allen Ditullio

WHAT: The 23-year-old is on trial for allegedly breaking into a neighbor’s trailer and stabbing two people, killing one of them. While in confinement, the self-described neo-Nazi had a 6-inch swastika tattooed under his right ear, barbed wire inked down the right side of his face, and an extreme personal vulgarity scrawled on one side of his neck. Now, the Tampa-area judge ruled that Florida must pay a cosmetologist up to $150 a day to conceal the tattoos with makeup for courtroom sessions.

WHY: Ditullio’s lawyer successfully argued that the tattoos are potentially offensive and could influence a jury’s opinion in the death penalty case. Prosecutors call the stabbings a hate crime, saying the surviving victim was attacked because she has a black friend and her teenage son is gay.

WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA: “The defendant did initially choose to communicate to the world through the tattoos on his body,” University of Florida law professor Michael Siegel said. “Now he’s asking for protection from his own decisions.”

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