A Child Who Deserves
Treatment, Not Life Imprisonment
According to an article in the January 25, 2001 edition of The New York Times, 14 year old Lionel Tate has been tried as an adult in Broward County Circuit Court for the murder of six year old Tiffany Eunick. Lionel, who was 12 years old at the time of Tiffany's death, was convicted of her murder on January 25, 2001 and is scheduled for sentencing on March 2, 2001. Tried as an adult after his mother's decision that the child would not plead guilty to second-degree murder with a sentence to serve three years in a juvenile detention center and 10 years probation, Lionel now faces the potential sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The best interests of the people and this child cannot possibly be served by his remaining in prison for the remainder of his life - a statement which must even be supported by the prosecution as evidenced by their original offer of a much lighter sentence for a guilty plea. If the death was accidental as Lionel claims, then he should be released. If he indeed, as the prosecution claimed, murdered this little girl without remorse because he had a crush on her mother, then he should be assessed and treated as a child with a psychiatric illness. We, the undersigned, ask that you review the court documentation and intercede on this child's behalf by either granting clemency or recommending that he receive treatment in an inpatient psychiatric facility for adolescents. At the very MOST, this child should only be required to serve the sentence originally offered by the prosecution. Please do not allow two young lives to be lost forever.
Editor's note: This was a petition on behalf of Lionel Tate, an African American child. Wouldn't it be preferable for this child to have psychological treatment rather than prison? Of what benefit could a Florida prison do this child? Moreover, 1,812 people signed that petition in favor of not incarcerating young Lionel. See for yourself.
The petition can be found at:
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The Journal of History - Fall 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, Inc.