A Pennsylvania court rejected an appeal by three newspapers to open to the public the hearing for a juvenile accused of killing his father’s pregnant fiancee in 2009, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As a result, Jordan Brown’s adjudication hearing will be closed. 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. Dennis Elisco, an attorney for the now 14-year-old Jordan, praised the decision.
The newspapers could the three-judge panel’s decision to the state Supreme Court. Post-Gazette attorney Frederick Frank said “there should be public access to this case, which involves significant issues regarding the criminal and juvenile justice system in the commonwealth. The Post-Gazette, as a representative of the public, should be able to report on the proceedings as they occur.” Jordan was 11 when he was accused of killing Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, by shooting her in the the head as she lay in bed in the farmhouse she shared with his father. She was nine months pregnant. Jordan was initially charged as an adult, but his attorneys successfully argued to have him tried as a juvenile. Pennsylvania law says that hearings will be open in cases involving certain heinous crimes such as murder if the accused is 12 or older.