New Castle News

December 1, 2011

Superior court sets date for Jordan Brown case

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A date has been scheduled to hear legal arguments in the case of Jordan Brown.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court will conduct a session Jan. 10 in Pittsburgh to determine whether or not newspapers and the public should be granted access to Jordan’s juvenile trial on homicide charges.

The New Castle News and two Pittsburgh newspapers filed appeals of an order by Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge John Hodge, who had denied media access to juvenile proceedings in the case.

Jordan was 11 years old when he was charged with two counts of homicide in the February 2009 shooting death of Kenzie Houk, his father’s pregnant fiancée.

The boy was charged as an adult, as required by state law, and the case’s legal proceedings received extensive publicity. Among them were the efforts of Jordan’s attorneys to have him classified as a juvenile.

In August, they achieved success on that point, when Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto transferred the case.

Normally, juvenile proceedings are handled behind closed doors. But in Pennsylvania, there are mechanisms that allow open courtrooms. That includes cases where juveniles are charged with homicide, particularly if they are 12 years of age or older. Jordan was a few months short of that when he was charged.

The News, through attorney James W. Manolis — as well as the two other newspapers — are arguing the publicity surrounding Jordan’s case has eliminated any privacy rights he has.

However, his attorney, Dennis Elisco, argues those rights continue to exist.