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Name: In re Antonio C.
Case #: F034727
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/25/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 12/13/00

The appellate court approved a condition of the juvenile’s probation that he not obtain any “new tattoos, brands, burns, piercings or any voluntary scarring.” This minor, who had dispositions on three minor offenses, also had three tattoos on his body. He was associated with, but not a member of a gang, the Surenos. On appeal, the minor challenged the tattooing prohibition on First Amendment grounds that the condition was not limited to gang tattoos. The appellate court addressed the contention even though there had not been an objection below. The juvenile court had simply ignored all of counsel’s other objections, so it would have been futile to object to this condition. Assuming, but not deciding that, a tattoo constitutes speech, the court upheld the condition. The condition regulated the minor’s manner of speech, not its content, and did so in a reasonable manner. The condition was reasonably related to the minor’s rehabilitation because it protected him from body piercing. The court noted that the condition may be viewed as necessary to prevent future criminality, such as violations of Penal Code sections 653f (tattooing of minors without parental consent) and 203 (mayhem).