weighing in

This morning a reader who is monitoring the public comments to a recent article in People magazine by Caitlin Keating about the Jordan Brown case alerted me to this entry by “alawyer,” who works in the Washington DC area and has been following juvenile justice cases for years. She used to be a frequent responder on this blog—we even spoke once on the phone—but parted ways over my stance on celibate pedophiles. She did not wish to become involved by association with nuanced/unpopular ideas which might have come out in a witch trial such as frequently grips the nation’s capitol over one issue or another.

Nevertheless, her comment to the People article was so excellent and wise, I have reprinted it here so it may enjoy wider distribution.

I disagree with “alawyer” in only one respect: her faith that an adult jury trial would have resulted in an acquittal. Prevailing public opinion in New Castle was so toxic at the time before Jordan won his right to juvenile proceedings—and the risk of life-without-parole was so great—that I have always believed that an adult jury trial was simply too risky. There were no good choices at the time—Pennsylvania law ensured that. Holding out for a juvenile acquittal was the best, but most time-consuming, choice to be made.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Claude Kelly performing “No Choice”


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68° and Partly Cloudy


18 Responses to “weighing in”

  1. 1 matt
    March 13, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I think you both have valid points, Dan, but I agree most with yours. Even if the odds against a jury conviction in an adult court were in Jordan’s favor, his defense team wisely understood that however improbable, an adult conviction and sentencing would have been devastating, so I think they were wise to plea their case to a juvenile court judge.

  2. 2 james
    March 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I grew up with Jordan Brown. He was in the grade below me as a 5th grader and I a 6th grader. We played football together for years, and I was around him with mutual friends. These reports usually lack information from the people who know him. Jordan Brown was a psychopath back then and people who were his friends, people in his classroom, and people who lived near him knew he had some mental issues.

    • March 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

      This is the first time anyone–even the law enforcement people who are trying to nail him–has ever made the allegation that Jordan has mental issues, let alone psychopathy. I can’t imagine what the “buzz” has been like among his peers to justify or make sense of his arrest and treatment by the Commonwealth or police, but it could have easily included statements that inflated the nature of any problems he may have been having. Unless you can present more evidence than an unsupported accusation, I suggest that you keep your thoughts to yourself. Even if he did have some mental issues, it does not follow that he murdered Kenzie. This is a possible example of the damage that has been done to the boy’s reputation by the police, prosecutors, and state of Pennsylvania.

      • 4 Adam
        March 14, 2015 at 10:58 am

        Or it may just be the truth of a disturbed child that made a life altering choice…

      • March 14, 2015 at 11:04 am

        Yes, that is a possibility, but a remote one. And by the way, Adam, you should disclose that you are related by the marriage of your brother to the Houk family.

      • 6 Adam
        March 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        I do not have a brother

      • March 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        Then I am misremembering your connection to the Houks. I remember your email address because you sent comments many years ago, and for a time I thought you might be Adam Harvey. I researched it and realized there was a different connection. Sorry about the memory lapse. But it will eventually come to me.

      • March 15, 2015 at 8:18 am

        It’s beginning to dawn on me now. Your last name is Kraner, isn’t it? You’re related in some other way to that criminal who married Kenzie Houk’s sister. Do I have it right? Is Jason Kraner your cousin?

  3. 9 T brothers
    March 14, 2015 at 11:32 am

    This article is a joke! If you did so much research on the case then you wouldn’t need proof, you would know that this situation happened once before with Jordan and an ex of his fathers. She wrote a statement too before getting back with the father after Jordan was “out of the picture” so to speak. Jordan went to counseling shortly for it before they decided it unimportant enough to continue. The ex (now the fathers girlfriend) was pushed down steps while pregnant and she lost the baby. The therapist told her to RUN! So they were well aware of him having psyc issues. Aside from all the other facts. And Kenzie’s ex, the one they want to be he scape goat, he is willing to submit to a lie detector and/or passed it already. If this kid was black, ppl would want to fry him; quite the double standard!! The judge wasn’t afraid of public opinion, that’s your opinion! Where’s your fact to back that statement? Oh n Jordans family has sickly prospered immensely from this already! This MUST be a joke. Jordans first lawyer stepped down after it going to juvenile court because Jordan broke their agreement to fessing up to being guilty! That right there says HIS lawyer knew he was guilty. Do you guys live under a rock!? I know this is what you would like ppl to believe but you have your facts WRONG! The reason they found out that the lil girl wasn’t her ex was due to this, not before! Just dumb.

    • March 15, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Well, I may be living under a rock (as you say), but I have had enough contact with Jordan’s family to dispute two things you have said. First, there was never any agreement with anyone on Jordan’s legal team for him to “fess up” to the murder. This was a cynical, illogical corner that Judge Motto was trying to back Jordan into. Second, Jordan’s family has not “sickly prospered” from this tragedy in any way. In fact, the impact has been quite the opposite.

      I have never heard about this “Ex,” nor the advice of the therapist you speak of. I think you are fabricating your accusations to inflame public opinion. But what do I know? If you are to be believed, I have been living under a rock.

  4. 11 Marie
    March 14, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Perhaps they both are. Nonetheless, the article by “a lawyer” was well written and clearly two courts, one being the highest court, the Supreme Court, have sited there is a problem with the investigation and verdict.

    It is not so hard to imagine that someone else would enter a remote rural home, shoot a person, and leave. The fact remains that there is plausible evidence that supports it could have occurred, shamefully, quite easily.

    Judging a 5th grader with a 6th grade mentality, does not require a psychologist to ascertain that the children will be children. We all understand the concept and variables 5th and 6th graders require to make such unsubstantiated accusations.

    What no one seems to want to phathom is that a 5th grader, who is innocent, has been ripped from his home, treated like he was an adult, and still is fighting for his freedom.

  5. 12 T brothers
    March 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    what no one wants to fathom is 2 lol girls lost their mother and they are victims!!!
    An “outsider” wouldn’t know that there were guns there. An outsider wouldn’t know that the bullets were somewhere else but you get an A for effort though!

  6. 13 Marie
    March 14, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Seriously? Obviously the children are victims. There are no winners in this case. Every side is heartbreaking but do not expect me to believe no one else could have otter this. Your insane and obviously related.

    Your bullying tactics do not work with me but I give you an A fit trying. Ass.

  7. 14 Marie
    March 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Lies. Lies. Lies.

  8. 15 james
    March 15, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Well you didn’t go to elementary school with him, so you wouldn’t know.
    And I believe it was, I remember KDKA reporting that he said he wanted to shoot her.

  9. 16 Marie
    March 15, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Take a look at the restraining order.

  10. 17 bystander
    March 28, 2015 at 5:36 am

    I just want to say Family often doesn’t know everything. I’ve raised three boys, one that went to school with Jordan and talks to his father occasionally. You don’t know what kids actually do when they are not with you. My parents never knew my brother was messing his children while they were all living under one roof.

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