Tate Case Inspires Bill To Keep Juveniles Out Of Prisons

[Justice for Juveniles]
The court case of Lionel Tate has inspired a South Florida legislator to push a measure that would keep juveniles out of prisons.

Tate is now nearly 17. He was 12 when he killed Tiffany Eunick back in July of 1999. He was tried as ‘an’ ‘adult’ and given a life prison term. But an appeals court has overturned the conviction, and Tate is now considering a plea bargain.

State Sen. Frederica Wilson of Miami said she’ll push legislation requiring anyone under age 18 who is convicted of a crime to be turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. But Tallahassee child advocate Jack Levine said a more likely scenario is for legislators to give judges more discretion when sentencing a younger offender.

A little over 6 percent of the state prison population is made up of inmates who committed their crimes while under 18.