There is a bizarre case out of Fresno California where Enrique Gonzalez faced lifetime imprisonment for “aggravated mayhem and street terrorism” because he allowed his 7-year-old son to have a quarter-sized tattoo on his right hip. While Fresno County Superior Court Judge Hillary Chittick wisely rejected the excessive charge of mayhem by the prosecutors, he still faces years in jail for cruel and inhumane treatment of a child.
Gonzalez is allegedly a member of the notorious Fresno Bulldog gang (named after the school mascot) and the tattoo was a gang symbol of a bulldog paw. Also arrested was alleged fellow gang member Travis Gorman. There is a conflict of testimony as to whether the boy wanted the tattoo.
His mother Tequisha Oloizia said that he was held down while witnesses insisted that he wanted the tattoo. If held down against his will, I can certainly understand a higher felony charge. However, the attempt at mayhem was out of bounds — as the court ultimately ruled. There does not appear to have been intent by the father to harm or hurt the boy — albeit a reprehensible and abusive act. As for “street terrorism,” it is part of the corruption of the criminal code to expand the meaning of terrorism to encompass a wide variety of conventional crimes.
The problem with the original charge is that state law makes it a misdemeanor to give a tattoo to a child under 18. That comes with a six-month sentence. (There is also presumably charges for administering tattoos without a permit). Yet, the prosecutors appear to have elevated the punishment in part due to the content of the tattoo — a gang symbol. Obviously, there are plenty of cultures that tattoo children. Those parents are also subject to misdemeanor charges. However, if the tattoo is related to a gang symbol the prosecutors were willing to fight for a life sentence. That raises an interesting free speech question. However, the primary question is one of the meaning and integrity of the criminal code. If these prosecutors were successful, mayhem would lose any definable meaning. Other parents allow girls to have their ears pierced and other cosmetic measures that cause pain.
I have no sympathy for Gonzalez and seriously question whether he should be allowed to raise the child. Tattooing children with gang symbols strikes me as a basis to remove the child from the home. However, the tattoo itself is already covered under the state criminal code as a misdemeanor not a crime akin to murder. The issue of force is a legitimate matter for enhancing the punishment, but the prosecutors weakened the credibility of their case with the original charge of mayhem.
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9 thoughts on “Father Faces Jail Sentence For Giving Seven-Year-Old Son A Quarter-Sized Tattoo”
Ahhh! Not being a lawyer, the “mayhem” charge didn’t make sense. I see that it’s meaning is “maim” as in cutting off someone’s limb.
Using the tattoo to “brand” the child as belonging to a street gang (presumably an unambiguous criminal organization) seems like “a very bad thing to do” to the kid. It probably should be illegal – but is it actually illegal?
Remember the good old days? Before everything was a “war on terrorism”, when everything was part of the oh-so-successful “war on drugs?”
What if a parent tattoos the boy’s foreskin and circumcises it? No harm, no foul?
There’s a TV reality show named something like ‘Tots and Tiaras’ that is about children’s beauty pageants. I watched an episode or two and it is sickening. The children, from infancy on up are molded into beauty pageant contestants. These little girls are deliberately sexualized with make-up, costumes and stage acts at a level that rivals kiddy-porn. Being pretty and winning are the only values being taught and reinforced with these kids. Family life revolves around pageant. Kerry Preajean (sp?) is the best example of where children raised this way end up. I’m thinking a pageant oriented upbringing belongs in the listing provided by other posters above.
The law and the justice system the law supports is being debased with this kind of prosecution. It’s being infantilized into a bunch of sore losers and bullies that will use any mechanism, from the obligatory ‘resisting’ charge on a motorist for moving out of their car slowly or asking questions to tazing (and shooting) well controlled subjects under the guise of being an imminent threat, all so someone not normally reachable by the justice system (and its enforcers) can be brought to heel.
The piling on of charges and perversion of charging language is something straight out of Jack McCoy’s play book and weekly touted to the TV watching masses as the proper way to get the job done. An entire generation of TV watchers has been spoon-fed the notion that the law and justice is just a word-salad buffet from which creative police and prosecutors, FBI et al are free to select whatever works to further their aims. The above vid (and scores of others) in the same vein is simply the logical next step. IMO. Rant.
The cop needs to be in jail. I’m sure the student and his parents are going to be very wealthy, as well the should be, once their lawyer gets finished with the school district.
And, let’s consider circumcision, not many of those procedures done with consent of the patient.
I am not a believer in Tats but “Tats for Tots” seems a little out of the question. This person should be …..
They might have tried to get traction around serious assault charges using the theory that a tattoo is a permanent disfigurement to which a seven-year old cannot consent.
What’s next? Will they start prosecuting parents who have their daughters’ easr pierced? Some parents do it while the girls are still infants so they can’t consent. It’s painful – maybe that too will qualify as cruel and inhumane treatment of a child.
This type of “parenting” turns my stomach, but I can’t view this as a felony either, especially when the content of the tattoo is pushing prosecutors to the more serious charge.
This is a sticky one. If the child was held down against his will, I could see enhanced charges against the father. I do believe that this father should be restricted in his contact with the child to allow time for an investigation of his previous parental choices. A little jail time might be good for an adult who tattoos a gang symbol on a 7 year old.
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