Injustice in Focus

Can Jordan Brown’s case finally move forward?

with 3 comments

Jordan Brown

Jordan Brown was arrested on February 21, 2009 and charged with the murder of his father Chris’ pregnant fiancé, Kenzie Houk and her unborn child in Wampum, PA. He has now been detained for three years without having his case heard.

In early 2011, a petition was started by advocate Melissa Higgins to raise awareness for Jordan’s plight, pointing out, among other things, that his treatment was in direct violation of international law. Close to 4,000 people from around the world showed their support by signing the petition and bringing pressure to bear on Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly. It was successful.

In August of 2011, Judge Dominick Motto who had originally ruled Jordan would be tried as an adult, reversed his decision and he will, rightfully, now be tried as a juvenile.

His case has been in limbo since three Pittsburgh news outlets petitioned the court to have the trial remain open to public scrutiny.

On Tuesday, in her 33 page opinion, Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Shogan ruled that the yet to be scheduled trial for Jordan will remain closed to the public and consequently the media, much to the chagrin of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the New Castle News and their attorneys.

Part of the ruling stated “denial of public access to the juvenile proceedings at hand serves an important government interest” because “under the facts of the case, there is no alternative short of closure of the juvenile court proceedings which will adequately serve the privacy interests of Jordan.”

The media had argued that preliminary hearings had been open and therefore all subsequent hearings should remain that way. What they fail to understand is that initially Jordan was to be tried as an adult, thereby giving the public access to his pretrial hearings. Their claims that since much of the case had already been aired in public, it should remain that way, are unfounded.

The media’s actions in this matter have been reprehensible. At no time have they showed any concern for Jordan’s well being, made evident by injecting themselves into the case for nothing more than a selfish need to increase circulation of their respective publications.

The objectivity of certain journalists from the aforementioned media (and their editors) has been found wanting since they began reporting on the case and very few have maintained any semblance of journalistic integrity or ethical behavior in that regard.

Jonathan D. Silver’s erroneous complaint that “the information blackout could be so complete that the public might not be able to learn when and whether a hearing has occurred, much less the outcome” is a nonsense which typifies the irresponsible coverage of Jordan’s case from certain quarters.

Frederick N. Frank, attorney for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was quoted as saying “We are disappointed that the Superior Court did not recognize the right of the Post-Gazette to cover this important case under the Constitutional and common law presumption of openness of judicial proceedings”. My suggestion to Fred would be for him to appraise himself of the law as it reads with regard to this matter and the case.

Dennis Elisco, one of Jordan’s attorneys, quite rightly stated “I think it was the right result. It was the result most of us expected. It’s a huge step in the right direction, which is to get the case tried.” So very true.

As yet, no statement has been issued as to whether Judge Shogan’s decision will be appealed by the three media outlets. They have thirty days in which to do so.


Written by Injustice in Focus

February 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

3 Responses

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  1. Thank you for telling it the way it is about how the media has crucified Jordan Brown in their circulations just to sell ‘papers’. He needs all the advocates he can get. Like I’ve said from the beginning, if authority figures can do this to then 11 yr old Jordan Brown and also to then 8 yr old CR of St. Johns, AZ not to mention the multitude of others, then they can and will do it to my child, your child, me, you, your loved ones, etc.

    Jordan Brown needs to be released if for no other reason that he’s rights have been violated and the court, the state has broken their own laws and the U.S. Constitution in this case.


    April 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  2. The treatment this kid has received from the media is been devastating, the corruption that this case has displayed, let us wondering if any justice will be done. Let’s Just hope justice is done in the end, it would be devastating to see an innocent child in prison while the real murderer walks free.


    April 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

  3. I just heard about this case today. It is so sad for us all when children do these types of acts. It leaves me to wonder about the adults. Did this woman (who was shot) have any love and compassion for Jordan? I dont see a picture of her pregnant self and her 2 daughters and Jordan in a picture? Do you? Also Jordan’s father …..what type of behavior did he show his son? Did he pay attention to his son’s emotions at all? There had to be a series of events that were overlooked before the then 11 year old did such an act…dont you think?


    April 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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