Can your tattoos be used against you in a court of law?

Prosecutors in Aaron Hernandez case say some of his tattoos are evidence of guilt

Aaron Hernandez
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Can your ink be used to incriminate you? That is what a judge in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial is currently considering. The judge has to decide whether the former New England Patriots star’s controversial tattoos meet the legal threshold to be admitted as evidence.

Hernandez has two tattoos of guns that match the description of guns used in the 2012 double murder with which he has been charged. He also has the words “God Forgives” tattooed in reverse, so it can be read in a mirror.

But is that alone an admission of guilt? And can that be used as evidence? 22News went to the law offices of Raipher Pellegrino in Springfield.

“If you take the scales of justice and you put the prejudicial effect on one side and the prohibitive value on the other, if the prohibitive value outweighs the prejudicial effect, then the evidence goes in. If the prejudicial effect is too great, it doesn’t go in. That is the balancing test that the judge will make,” Pellegrino said.

Pellegrino said that tattoos are often used to identify a suspect, because it’s more valuable than prejudicial. Gang tattoos may be withheld from evidence, because they can make a jury more likely to associate that with guilt, rather than actual evidence.

Prosecutors say Hernandez got the tattoos just a few months after the killings.

Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.