Summary Of The Lionel Tate Case

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Juvenile delinquency is the violations of the criminal law by any minor. Minors are considered to be anyone under the age of eighteen, or in some states, under the age of seventeen or even sixteen. When a minor commits a crime that would have been a serious case if committed by an adult, they are considered a “juvenile delinquent.” The Lionel Tate case is one where the crime was acted upon by a minor. Lionel Tate was merely twelve years old when he murdered a young six-year-old girl whom his mother was babysitting. His mother decided to sleep upstairs, leaving Lionel and the girl watching TV. However, Lionel, who weighed 166 pounds, decided to imitate certain wrestling moves on the 48-pound girl, such as body slamming and stomping her. This …show more content…

He was soon arrested and tried as an adult, receiving the life sentence with no parole. This case became incredibly controversial to the public, due to the judge’s statement. The judge stated that his actions were “cold, callous and indescribably cruel” and “were not the acts born out of immaturity” (Agnew & Brezina, 2014). However, an editorial in the Atlanta Constitution disagreed by stating that his actions were the exact result of his immaturity. Many of the public, along with the editorial, voiced their opinion on how Lionel deserved a punishment that is much less serious than a life sentence. In 2003, a court overturned his conviction and the prosecutors offered Lionel and his mother a deal which they accepted. Lionel had to plead guilty to second-degree murder, and in return would receive a sentence of three years in prison, one year of house arrest, and 10 years of probation. He served the last additional months that completed his sentence in prison and was released in 2004. The decision on his case was deliberated again due to the circumstances of the crime he committed and his age. He was considered a “juvenile delinquent” when he murdered the young six-year-old girl and therefore the first …show more content…

Society tends to view and treat juvenile offenders differently from adult offenders, which leads to why the public viewed the Lionel Tate case in a different perspective, due to Lionel Tate being a juvenile offender rather than an adult offender. The public usually views a juvenile offender as immature, and incapable of knowing the consequences to their actions. They also tend to see the young offender in need of guidance and help, which is exactly the way society viewed Lionel Tate. The publics perspective on Lionel was that he was an immature twelve-year-old boy who had no true intention of murdering the young girl, and that he was in need of guidance and help. However, if Lionel was an adult offender, society would have seen him in a different perspective. They tend to view adult offenders as individuals who are responsible for their behavior and deserve to be punished based on the crime they committed. Most people also view older juvenile offenders as adult offenders, though this was not the case for twelve-year-old Lionel. Juvenile offenders and adult offenders are also treated differently by the court. Juvenile

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