World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Appeal for clemency for Lionel Tate

03 April 2003

Letter to Mr Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, 2 April, 2003



Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches appeals to you in the case of Lionel Tate, who
was sentenced on March 9th, 2003 by the Court in Florida to life in prison with-
out parole. At the time the crime was committed Lionel was 12 years old, but he
was tried as an adult.

The Anglican Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the State of Florida have
written to Your Excellency seeking clemency for Lionel Tate. The World Council
of Churches endorses the requests of the bishops on humanitarian grounds.

Given the circumstances of the case, the Council is of the view that the punishment
meted out by the US Court to the accused, who was a minor at the time
when the crime was committed, is not only harsh but also fails to take into consideration
his tender age. The World Council of Churches is of the view that the
Court, while deciding this case, should have given serious thought to the application
of principles of restorative justice.

We therefore call on Your Excellency by the powers invested in the Office of
the Governor of Florida to exercise clemency so that Lionel Tate can be reunited
with his family and lead a normal life.

Yours sincerely,

Konrad Raiser
General Secretary