Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Petition asks attorney general to uphold Jordan Brown's rights

By Melissa Higgins.

A new petition asks Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly to uphold 13-year-old Jordan Brown's constitutional rights.
The petition, which is duplicated on two separate websites, outlines the ways in which Jordan Brown's constitutional rights have been violated since his introduction into the American justice system over two years ago. Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Superior Court overheard arguments that Judge Motto failed to recognize Jordan's Fifth Amendment right regarding self-incrimination when he refused to waive the child's case to juvenile court on the grounds that Jordan had not confessed to the murders of Kenzie Houk and her unborn son. Jordan has maintained his innocence since his arrest in 2009 when he was 11 years old. The petition highlights the lengthy delays in the criminal justice process. Though the Superior Court remanded Judge Motto's decision back to county court in March, the judge has not yet rendered a new decision. No explanation for the delay has been given. The next scheduled hearing date is on August 5th. By this time Jordan will have been incarcerated for two and a half years. Pennsylvania's Rule 600 states that a person is required to receive a trial within one year of being charged with a crime such as homicide. As Jordan Brown awaits Judge Motto's decision on the matter of decertification, the prosecution has announced they would move the case to juvenile court if Jordan admits to the murders. This comes on the heels of the Superior Court's ruling that requiring the boy to do this is in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights. It was this action on the part of the Attorney General's office that prompted the release of the petition asking them to reassess Jordan's case and cease infringing on the rights that the office has taken an oath to protect. The real question is: Do petitions work? Change.org provides the global community with an online platform for seeking change within their communities. The web-site gives information about petitions that have successfully brought about change. Petitions with as few as 567 signatures have helped to urge governor's to pass bills. Some petitions have had ambitious objectives, such as funding vaccinations for as many as 4 million children over the next five years, while others simply seek to save local programs that have proven beneficial to a particular segment of the population. The success stories are inspiring. Signing and sharing petitions makes a difference. Petitions allow people to get involved in change by simply signing their name to a cause. In Jordan's case, people from all around the world have already begun to rally. One petition signer wrote: "Whether he committed the crime or not every U.S. citizen, regardless of age, etc. and regardless of whether they are guilty or innocent has the right to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury...it says so in the sixth amendment of the constitution." Individuals in support of Jordan Brown believe that people should take an interest in his petition for many reasons. First, they believe that a number of his constitutional rights have been ignored. Second, they believe that people need to know that Jordan has friends and family who support him and believe in him. He has a father and family members who believe in his innocence, his rights, and they want him to come home. Finally, as a poster named Marie on a discussion board relating to Jordan's case wrote:
"As far as getting people to notice the petition and care enough to sign it, I think that people need to understand why it is so very important. If we take an instant snap shot of what is going on around us, you will notice Americans are more interested in signing a petition to allow the Saudi women to drive, than to help children in prison. Why do you think this is happening? While I am not certain, I think that people assume that children are taken care of. They assume the justice system would never wrong a child. They assume the child is guilty, therefore, do not really take the time to inquire about the case and the injustices that occur with our children."
Jordan's petition is available on Change.org and the Petition Site. The petitions have 579 signatures since the publication of this article. If you would like to help this petition succeed, the web-site in support of Jordan Brown provides tips on how to help.

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