Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's all terrible. All of it.

Yes, once the media gets a-hold of a case it makes things worse. Josh's case was a house-hold name as well. Virtually all of our family and friends found out what happened to him on CNN the night he was arrested. Local media was HORRENDOUS. The notoriety only makes things harder. But of course, it's a toss-up; who's to say the kids whose cases are not blasted all over television and print media are any better off? They get left languishing all alone.

It's all terrible. All of it. My husband is English and he is absolutely appalled at what this "free" USA does to its children; it's unheard of in England to throw children away as unsalvageable. NO CHILD gets such a sentence as LWOP in Great Britain.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

There are thousands of Lionels out there

Well said, Jeff.
Unfortunately this happens everywhere, not only in Florida.
Children as young as 9 and 10 are being targeted by police,
put through the juvenile system
and when they are old enough to be prosecuted as adults they are treated the same as Lionel.

The only difference is that Lionel's original case was so unusual
that he became a household word.

There are thousands of Lionels out there, some barely able to walk
waiting to become "juvenile justice's" next statistic.


The Florida judicial system is weighted in favor of abusing children

What happened to Lionel Tate is very simple. This is Florida. He was a child convicted of murder as an adult for childs play. The Florida judicial system is weighted in favor of abusing children and wonders why juvenile justice doesn't work.

Lionel was found to have been a victim of injustice and was released on a court ordered parole. On his return home, the Sheriff's Department Police made clear their unhappiness that a murderer had been released to the community. Lionel gravitated to the kind of people that he had become accustomed to through his adolescence in an adult prison. The police watched him. There were no warnings. His mother wasn't told. The police and parole made no effort at intervention. Instead, they watched and waited. They set-up a sting and they arrested Lionel with a bunch of petty dealers. The Sheriff's Department actually announced through police statements to the press that they had been right about Lionel and that he is where he belongs. Where else but in Florida can children expect to get personal police attention.

That's what happened to Lionel and to almost anyone else who ever got a major crime conviction overturned in Florida. The Boogie Man's gonna get you. The Boogie Man got Lionel.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Attorney: Boy recants statement that Lionel Tate robbed man

CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press

Thursday, June 23, 2005

FORT LAUDERDALE — A 13-year-old boy has recanted his statement to police that Lionel Tate, once the youngest American in modern history sentenced to life in prison, robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint, Tate's lawyer said Wednesday.
The boy, Taquincy Tomkins, now says that a 16-year-old identified only as "Willie" committed the crime and that he initially fingered Tate out of fear of retribution and because of intense police pressure.

Attorney James Lewis said Broward County sheriff's investigators "targeted Lionel Tate from the very beginning and tried to make the pieces fit. We think we have now cracked this case."

A judge has scheduled a hearing Thursday on whether Tate, 18, should be released on bond pending another hearing on Aug. 8 to determine if his probation should be revoked because of the pizza robbery. The criminal charges could mean Tate violated his probation — and result in a possible life prison sentence — stemming from his conviction in the 1999 killing of family friend Tiffany Eunick, 6.

Tate, who was 12 when the girl was killed, made headlines around the world when he was originally sentenced to life in prison for the crime, but his conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal. Tate had originally contended that he accidentally killed Tiffany while imitating TV wrestling moves.

Broward sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal said that new physical evidence linking Tate to the May 23 crime will be presented at the hearing Thursday and that the delivery man, Walter Gallardo, has not wavered in identifying Tate as the culprit.

"We are confident in our case and we believe that Lionel Tate was responsible for the armed robbery," Leljedal said.

Private investigator Joe Carrillo said he interviewed Tomkins and his mother, Kenya Miller, for several hours Sunday at their apartment in Pembroke Park where the crime occurred. In that interview, Tomkins said his sworn, videotaped statement to police blaming Tate for the robbery was incorrect.

"I said that it was Lionel that did it ... 'cause Willie had said that he was going to kill me,'" Tomkins said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by Lewis.

Tomkins said that investigators were "threatening me" and repeatedly asked "Was it Lionel? Was it Lionel?" and telling him that if he wasn't honest about what happened "I would be in jail and I can't see my family for the rest of my life."

Lewis would not further identify "Willie," other than to say he lived in the same apartment complex where the crime occurred and that he moved away three days later. Carrillo said he has spoken with Willie and if he could find him, so could detectives.

In both statements, Tomkins said that Tate used the telephone in his apartment to order four pies from Domino's Pizza. In his new statement, Tomkins said that it was Willie, and not Tate, who came back, barged through the apartment door and confronted the delivery man with a gun after the pizzas arrived.

The gun used in the robbery has not been found, but three handguns were missing from the home Tate shared with his mother, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Lewis said that Willie is taller and lighter-skinned than Tate, wore his hair in braided corn rows and had on different clothes than Tate that day. Lewis also questioned whether Gallardo could make a positive identification since the robber was wearing a cloth to mask part of his face.

Lewis said that Tate "is hopeful he will be cleared. He's hoping that justice is going to work for him."

© 2007 Naples Daily News and NDN Productions. Published in Naples, Florida, USA by the E.W. Scripps Co.

Judge Delays Robbery Trial for Lionel Tate

The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE - The robbery trial of Lionel Tate, once sentenced to life in prison for killing a girl when he was 12, was delayed several months Monday after defense lawyers said they have evidence that proves Tate did not hold up a pizza delivery man.

Tate lawyer Jim Lewis said DNA taken from the mask allegedly used in the 2005 robbery belongs to another man. A new witness also claims Tate never committed the robbery and never carried the gun, Lewis said.

"There's great doubt to how and who committed this robbery," Lewis said.

The trial had been set to begin Monday, but the judge rescheduled it for Sept. 4 at the request of the defense and prosecutors.

Tate initially pleaded guilty to robbery and gun possession in the holdup in return for a sentence of between 10 and 30 years. He withdrew the plea in the robbery but was sentenced to 30 years on the gun charge.

Lewis asked the judge to overturn the gun possession charge, claiming that Tate's former lawyer was incompetent.

Tate, 20, refused a plea deal that would have given him a 30-year total sentence for both charges in the holdup. A conviction on the robbery charges could add a life sentence to his existing sentence.

Prosecutor Chuck Morton declined to comment on the case.

Tate was convicted in the 1999 murder of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick, and became the youngest person in modern U.S. history to get a life prison term before an appeals court intervened. Lawyers initially claimed that Tiffany, who suffered skull fractures and a lacerated liver, was accidentally killed when Tate, then 12, imitated pro wrestling moves he'd seen on television.

Tate said little in Monday's brief hearing except to answer the judge's questions.

A 12-year-old neighbor said that he allowed Tate, then 18, to use the telephone in his apartment to call for a pizza delivery. Tate then left, but later returned, forcing his way inside, authorities said.

The Domino's delivery man, Walter E. Gallardo, told police the door was open when he arrived at the apartment with four pizzas. As he entered, he saw someone with a gun that appeared to be a .38-caliber revolver.

Gallardo told detectives he "threw the pizzas and fled out the door," was chased by the gunman and fell. The delivery man returned to the apartment complex with sheriff's deputies, saw Tate in the area and identified him as the suspect, police said. No gun was recovered.

The neighbor also identified the suspect as Tate, but later said a man identified only as "Willie" did it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Contacts for media interested in an update on Lionel Tate`s case

For Media contact:

MIAMI, FL. 33145
TEL. 305-567-0099
FAX. 305-567-1833


Denise Marhoefer
The Defense Foundation For Children USA
The Juvenile Defender
voicemail 765.381.1112


For two years now, Tailpipe has been hearing rumors about an alleged miscarriage of justice in the arrest of Lionel Tate for the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man in 2005. Tailpipe has heard the rumors and, until now, dismissed them. You remember Tate, that walking train wreck of a youth who made headlines around the world in 1999 when he was 12, killing a 6-year-old girl while demonstrating some wrestling moves on her. That led to his dubious distinction as the youngest person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence.

He evaded hard time with an appeal (in a subsequent plea deal, he got a year's house arrest followed by ten years' probation), but the teenager couldn't seem to stay out of trouble. In September 2004, police took him into custody after finding him away from home at 2 a.m. carrying an eight-inch knife. The result: another five years of probation. Nine months later, Tate was busted for the pizza stickup.

According to Tate's arrest report, Walter Gallardo was delivering pizzas to unit 208 at 3871 SW 52nd Ave. in Pembroke Park on May 23, 2005. There was no answer at the second-floor apartment, and Gallardo turned around to leave down the flight of stairs when he heard someone yell "Hey!" He walked back up and saw unit 208's door ajar. He walked in. Behind the door, Gallardo told BSO detectives, was a black man with a black handkerchief or bandanna covering his mouth and pointing an "old handgun" at the pizza deliverer. Gallardo fled, screaming for help. Later that evening, while sitting in the back seat of a squad car, Gallardo identified Tate.

A bum rap? Yeah, yeah. The perpetrator had a partially covered face, so how could the victim be so sure it was Tate? And a black handkerchief allegedly used in the crime showed traces of DNA from the prime witness against Tate. But the kid has seemed so determined to turn his life into a lethal smashup that it's hard to believe anything good about him. If convicted of the armed robbery and armed burglary charges, the now-20-year-old inmate, who's being held at the Everglades Correctional Institute, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Private investigator Joe Carrillo is a tall, energetic, 51-year-old, Miami-based private eye whose sleuthing skills helped the Miami Police Department nab rapist Reynaldo Rapalo in 2004. Carrillo and former FBI agent Bob Whiting have been on Tate's side since his last arrest. Carrillo and Whiting say the Broward Sheriff's Office and Assistant State Attorney Charles Morton conducted an overzealous, sloppy investigation.

"They wanted the headlines," Whiting says, "because when Lionel Tate robs the pizza man, it becomes an international story. The prosecutor and the detectives working this case did not conduct themselves professionally. They took the easy way out."

Maybe so, but what about the evidence? Didn't Tate admit to calling Domino's Pizza to place the order Gallardo was delivering? And didn't the cops retrieve a text message that Tate sent to an associate to ask about robbing someone that same day? ("U still want to bust that lick after school?" Tate allegedly messaged Willie Corouthers, meaning: Did the other youth want to participate in a robbery?)

But Carrillo and Whiting say there's strong evidence now to implicate Corouthers, who lived next door to the building where the holdup took place. Corouthers' account of the robbery (he was standing at the bottom of the stairs, he says, as Gallardo fled) doesn't jibe with the victim's account, they say. And Corouthers' DNA showed up on the handkerchief, they claim. They've also turned up two new defense witnesses: a 12-year-old boy, who initially fingered Tate but then alleged that it was Corouthers who committed the robbery, and a man who says he saw Corouthers in possession of a pair of maroon shorts on the night of the robbery. The shorts were eventually identified as having been worn by the perpetrator.

When Carrillo and Whiting informed Morton, the prosecutor, of the new evidence, he did nothing, Whiting says. "He doesn't want to hear anything that would exonerate Lionel and put the onus on Willie," he says.

In Tailpipe's view, the new evidence doesn't exactly give Tate the slam dunk he needs. Law enforcement officials have responded with icy skepticism. For the record, Morton couldn't be reached for comment, but Broward Sheriff's spokesman Eliott Cohen briskly dismissed the two private eyes' charges. "I'd expect nothing less from two people who are working for the person they are trying to exonerate," Cohen said. "The court record is extensive and pretty clear" that Tate mugged the pizza man.

But the DNA evidence has been thought-provoking enough for Tate's current lawyer, Jim Lewis, to get a postponement of Tate's trial, which had been set for this past April. Judge Joel Lazarus agreed to push back the hearing until September. Maybe then the troubled young man will get past the lurid headlines and receive the fair trial he deserves.

New evidence in the notorious bad boy's latest crime

For the past two years, two months, and ten days, out on the western fringes of Miami-Dade County, Lionel Tate has been sitting inside a prison cell at the Everglades Correctional Institute for a crime he almost certainly didn't commit.

In fact two South Florida private investigators allege DNA evidence — as well as two new victim statements — prove Tate likely didn't rob, at gunpoint, Domino's Pizza delivery man Walter Gallardo inside a Pembroke Park apartment May 23, 2005.

"The Broward State Attorney's Office knows they got the wrong guy, but they are not going to do anything about it," hisses 51-year-old Miami private eye Joe Carrillo. "And it stinks."

Carrillo is a tall, boisterous man whose sleuthing skills helped Miami Police Department nab the Shenandoah Rapist, Reynaldo Rapalo, in 2004. He and former FBI agent Bob Whiting have been working without pay on Tate's case for almost two years.

You might remember Tate. He was 12 years old back in 1999 when he was accused of battering to death six-year-old playmate Tiffany Eunick. Two years later, Tate was tried and convicted of Eunick's first-degree murder. His trial lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Tate had been imitating wrestling moves and that the girl's death was an accident.

Two years after Eunick's death, Tate became the youngest person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence without parole. But an appeals court reversed the conviction in 2003, and he was freed a year later. He avoided a retrial by pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for one year's house arrest followed by ten years' probation.

Then in September 2004 police found him a few blocks from his house at 2:00 a.m. carrying an eight-inch knife. Broward Circuit Court Judge Joel Lazarus tacked another five years onto Tate's probation.

Nine months later, Tate was busted for the pizza stickup. And because of his past problems, this one really could put him away for life.

Here's what happened, according to Tate's arrest report. Gallardo was delivering the pies about 4:20 p.m. to unit 208 at 3871 SW 52nd Ave. in Pembroke Park (just north of the Miami-Dade County line in Broward). Initially there was no answer at the second-floor apartment, so Gallardo turned around to leave.

Then the delivery man heard someone yell "Hey!" while he was descending the stairs. He walked back up, saw unit 208's door slightly ajar, and walked in. Behind the door, Gallardo told BSO detectives, was a black man with a black bandanna covering his mouth and pointing an "old handgun" at him. Later that evening, Gallardo identified Tate.

Since then Tate has been incarcerated without bond and has cycled through three defense lawyers, including the late Ellis Rubin.

At first it seemed the evidence against Tate — who's now 20 years old — was strong. He admitted calling Domino's to order the pizzas. And when police searched the apartment of a onetime neighborhood chum, Willie Corouthers, they found a pair of maroon shorts Gallardo claimed the assailant wore; they contained traces of Tate's DNA. He even accepted a plea deal but then changed his mind.

Indeed the two private eyes have uncovered evidence that should lead cops to further probe the role of Corouthers, who was 16 years old at the time of the pizza caper and lived on the first floor of the building where the crime took place. Despite several calls to a cell phone listed in public records and three visits to his last known address in Miramar, New Times could not reach Corouthers for comment.

An aspiring rapper who goes by the handle "Little Will," Corouthers met Tate through mutual friends sometime in late 2004, according to a sworn statement Corouthers gave prosecutors in September 2005. "Some days I would see him walking to school," Corouthers said. "But I never said anything to him until he started coming around where I live."

On the day of the robbery, Tate sent Corouthers a text message: "U still want to bust that lick after school?" In the statement, Corouthers explained that "bust that lick" is slang for robbery and that Tate was referring to stealing from an unidentified Hollywood teenager who carried around a lot of money. But it never happened. "That was all talk," Corouthers added.

Corouthers claimed he was on the sidewalk outside the apartment building when Gallardo drove up. "Lionel was at the top of the staircase," Corouthers told the attorneys. "He said, 'I ordered the pizza, sir.' Lionel goes into the house, and the pizza man is like right behind him." A couple of seconds later, Corouthers said, he heard Gallardo scream and saw Lionel waving a gun at the man. "The man falls, boom, and then either he fell down the stairs or he ran," Corouthers said. "He's screaming help, help, help."

That doesn't jibe with Gallardo's account. The pizza man said he didn't see anyone before knocking on unit 208. And Corouthers, whose fingerprints were found on one of the pizza boxes, didn't mention the black bandanna, which should have been obvious.

Enter Tuquincy Thompkins, who was 12 years old and lived in the apartment where the robbery took place. Initially Thompkins told BSO detectives he saw Tate rob Gallardo. Two months after the robbery, though, Thompkins recanted his story to private eye Carrillo.

During an October 11, 2005 sworn deposition, Thompkins claimed Tate wasn't there. When the pizza man entered the apartment, Corouthers was standing by the front door with a gun tucked under his waistband. "I saw him take it out," Thompkins stated. "And that's when I ran in [my mom's] room, and that's when I heard a scream." Asked by Tate's defense attorney why he didn't identify Corouthers from the beginning, Thompkins replied, "Because I was scared, and he said he was going to kill me."

Then there's the story told by Zawalski Edwards, a convicted felon who called Tate's defense team from jail. The two private eyes say Edwards was in Corouthers's apartment the night of the robbery; he claimed he saw Corouthers wearing the maroon shorts and then putting them "on top of the cabinet ... where the cops found it," Carrillo says.

Edwards has nothing to gain by implicating Corouthers, Whiting adds. "We are not law enforcement, so it's not like we can offer him anything," he says. "There was absolutely no benefit for him."

And this past February 9, a forensic case report by Virginia-based Bode Technology Group turned up significant traces of Corouthers's DNA on the black bandanna police say was used in the armed robbery.

Based on the new DNA evidence, Judge Lazarus agreed to delay the trial, which had been set for April. The next hearing will be held in September.

It's time for prosecutors to drop the case against Tate, the private eyes say. They have told Assistant Broward State Attorney Charles Morton about the exculpatory evidence, but "he doesn't want to hear anything that would exonerate Lionel."

Morton didn't return calls seeking comment. But Broward Sheriff's spokesman Elliot Cohen dismisses the private eyes' charges. "I'd expect nothing less from two people who are working for the person they are trying to exonerate," Cohen says. "The court record is extensive and pretty clear."

Lionel Tate Trial Re-Scheduled For Fall

Apr 16, 2007 10:36 am US/Eastern

Lionel Tate Trial Re-Scheduled For Fall

(CBS4) FT. LAUDERDALE Convicted child killer Lionel Tate will have to wait until fall for his robbery trial.

Jury selection for the trial was expected to begin Monday, but the judge in the case has continued it until the first week in September.

The continuance was granted when Tate�s attorney, Jim Lewis, said that they received contradictory DNA results from evidence last week, prompting them to file an appeal with the 4th District Court. He also said a new witness has come forward to claim that Tate never committed the robbery and never carried the gun.

Tate is accused of robbing a pizza delivery man with a gun in 2005. If he�s convicted, it could add a life sentence onto his current 30 year sentence, which he received for violating his probation after he was caught with a gun.

Last week, Tate�s lawyers moved to have his 30-year probation sentence vacated by claiming one of his former attorneys, Ellis Rubin, was incompetent.

Tate's current attorney Jim Lewis said it's troubling that Rubin allowed Tate to refuse a plea deal which would have given him a 30-year total sentence for both the robbery and gun possession charges.

In 2001, Tate was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 6-year-old playmate Tiffany Eunick. In 2004, an appeals court overturned that sentence, and ordered him to serve a year�s house arrest and 10 years probation.

Before the appeals court intervened, Tate was the youngest person in modern U.S. history to get a life prison term.

Lewis has also filed a change of venue motion for Tate�s robbery trial. He says it will be difficult to find a jury who hasn't heard about the troubled teen because of the extensive media coverage.

Jury selection will resume on September 3rd.

Youth Who Killed at 12 Gets 30 Years for Violating Probation

Youth Who Killed at 12 Gets 30 Years for Violating Probation

May 19, 2006, Friday

Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 21, Column 1, 369 words

DISPLAYING ABSTRACT - Lionel Tate, who was sentenced to life in prison in Florida five years ago for stomping playmate to death when he was 12, is sentenced to 30 years in prison for violating probation; Judge Joel T Lazarus, who refused to accept Tate's request to withdraw guilty plea to that charge, does accept his request to withdraw guilty plea to charge of robbing pizza deliveryman at gunpoint

Sentencing Children As Adults

Sentencing Children As Adults
An Article By Terence T. Gorski (03-11-01)

Should children be tried in adult courts and sentenced to adult prisons? Gorski doesn't believe that they should. This article explains why.

Should children and adolescents who have not reached legal age be sentenced as adults when they commit serious crimes such as murder. It is my position that they should not. Here’s why.

According to Amnesty International, a human rights watch dog organization, the United States is the only western democracy that sends youthful offenders to adult court and sentences them to adult prisons. According to amnesty international the imprisonment of youthful offenders in adult prisons violates United States international treaty obligations prohibiting cruel and inhumane treatment of children and adolescents.

Is this an unwarranted or extreme position to take? I don’t believe that it is. Most youthful offenders will be physically and/or sexually assaulted within seventy-two hours of admission to adult correctional facilities. Such abuse will continue to occur on a regular basis for the duration of their incarceration. The effects of this abuse are horrific and include suicides, suicide attempts, severe personality damage, and the development of severe and permanent psychiatric symptoms. These effects make youthful offenders sentenced as adults more dangerous, not less. Our willing to do this to our children sends a strong message that the level of moral development of elected officials, judges, prosecutors and the general public is rapidly and dangerously declining.

We need to ask ourselves an important question:

Are we the kind of people who are capable of inflicting cruel and inhumane punishment upon our children and adolescents?

As a nation, we answered that question decades ago with an emphatic no. At that time we recognized that most kids deserve a second chance and can turn their lives around with proper no-nonsense treatment in rehabilitation oriented juvenile correction centers. We backed up our answer up by developing a Juvenile Justice System that protects kids from cruel and inhumane punishment while providing rehabilitation, and teaching the skills necessary to become a productive member of society.

We did all this because it’s the right thing to do. We did it because to do less would have been beneath us as one of the most moral nations in the civilized world.

We built our Juvenile Justice System around three critical principles:

1. It is wrong to hold children and adolescents who have not reached legal age to adult standards. They are developmentally immature and often unclear about the nature of right and wrong and without proper adult supervision can have problems with judgment and impulse control causing them to act out impulsively without forethought;

2. With appropriate treatment most children who commit crimes, even the most violent crimes, can be rehabilitated and become responsible adults; and

3. A moral society feels obligated to give kids a second chance whenever possible by having a Juvenile Justice System designed to help kids change rather than punish them for past offenses.

Our Juvenile justice system is based upon the recognition that moral societies value their children and seek to help rather than hurt, treat rather than punish, and rehabilitate rather than destroy.

Not all youthful offenders can be rehabilitated. Some pose a real and present danger and need to be segregated from society. The period of confinement, however, should be designed to give youthful offenders a chance to learn, grow, and change. If long-term protective segregation is required, it should be done in adolescent correctional facilities which protect the children from harm.

It is important to remember that punishment does not work. The threat of punishment is an ineffective deterrent to crime, especially for children and adolescents. Punishment is a failed a strategy for changing behavior, teaching new skills, or developing new and more positive attitudes and beliefs. The only justification for inflicting harsh punishment is to deliver vengeance in accord with the old testament standard of an eye-for-an-eye.

Loved ones of victims may feel justified in crying out for vengeance. The result is tragic. Vengeance does not relieve the grief and loss. It also instills a sense of inner conflict and guilt. On a deep level most human beings intuitively know that vengeance breeds more vengeance and violence breeds more violence. When people mature to higher levels of moral development they recognize the obligation to break the cycle of vengeance and retribution.

Look at the pictures of the two children below. Both are victims. One is a victim of lethal violence inflicted by a twelve year old playmate. The other is a victim of a legal system that is rapidly declining into old testament morality or retribution.

Lionel Tate, 14, cried Friday after being sentenced for the 1999 beating death of Tiffany Eunick, 6. The judge said the act was "cold, callous and indescribably cruel."

Tiffany Eunick, young girl beaten to death by 14 year old Lionel Tate.

Tiffany Eunick, age 6, was the victim of violence perpetrated by an unsupervised twelve year old, Lionel Tate. Lionel thought he was playing when he emulated the moves and tactics of the professional wrestlers who were his heroes and role models. He watched professional wrestling week after week. He witnessed hundreds if not thousands of savagely brutal acts perpetrated by professionally wrestlers assuming the persona’s of theatrical psychopaths. He watched as they savagely body slammed, knee-dropped, and kicked each other.

In his immaturity, he couldn’t see that it was all a show. He had inadequate adult supervision. There was no one to point out the dangerousness and immorality of the violent displays he was witnessing. There was no adult present to impress upon his immature mind the dangerous of using such savage tactics on others.

Lionel, an immature 12 year old, assumed he could do to other kids what these heroic wrestlers did to each other. He assumed the outcome would be the same – no one would really get hurt. Tragically, the showmanship of professional wrestlers can become lethal when inflicted by one child upon another. Thinking he was playing, Lionel body-slammed, head kicked, and knee dropped Tiffany. It was over quickly. Lionel was shocked and traumatized to see that he killed Tiffany.

Is Lionel a hopeless psychopath who should be locked away for the rest of his life? He doesn’t appear to be. Will throwing away Lionel’s life bring back Tiffany or sooth the grief of her parents and friends? Probably not. Will Lionel be helped to become a better person as a result of his life-long imprisonment? Definitely not. He will be physically and sexually abused and psychiatrically damaged in deep and profound ways by his prison experiences. There is a strong possibility he will attempt suicide to try and escape the torturous consequences of his imprisonment.

So why are we as a nation allowing this to happen? Part of the reason is because our adolescent treatment professionals, the experts trained and educated to know better, are standing silently on the sidelines. The clinical professionals who are obligated to advocate for our youth and to protect our juvenile justice system from destruction have failed to act decisively and effectively. As a result the safety of all children is progressively going at risk.

How many children need to be tried, convicted, and imprisoned in adult facilities before it becomes wrong? How many children must be destroyed by a criminal justice system going out of control before we do something?