In criminal cases, the notion that “anything you say can and will be used against you” applies to anything the criminal defendant says, at any time.
Witnesses can testify about things they heard the defendant say; under the rules of evidence in most if not all American jurisdictions, it’s not hearsay because the defendant can always take the stand and respond to the testimony.
As to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, police hope to speak to the folks who applied some of the tattoos to his body. Specifically, to his right arm during the period from February 2012 to June 2013.
“It’s the tattoo artist who gave him a tattoo on his right forearm, but we’re not saying what the tattoo was,” a spokesman from the Suffolk County DA’s office told Jim Corbett of USA Today.
“We don’t want to influence the statements of anyone who might have this information. So we’re not being specific in which tattoo we’re looking at. What we hope to learn, really we want to get unvarnished, unrehearsed observations from any tattoo artists. It could provide information of an evidentiary value.”
Of course, the mere mention of their desire to speak to the tattoo artists regarding tattoo art placed on Hernandez’s right forearm could influence statements and/or result in varnished, rehearsed observations. But since the police obviously don’t know who supplied the tattoos, they need to say something in the hopes of generating leads.
And so, as Corbett noted in his article, anyone out there who may know something about Hernandez’s tattoos on his right forearm obtained from February 2012 through June 2013 should call Boston Police Sgt. Marc Sullivan at 617-343-5839.
The fact that they’ve had to go public with this request demonstrates the complexity of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on something on Hernandez’s arm, police believe that he may have said something to someone to suggest that he was responsible for the shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu. If the case was open and shut, they wouldn’t be fishing.