US child appeals against being tried for murder as an adult
by Ed Pilkington in New York

Jordan Brown, who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father’s pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole

Lawyers for a child in Pennsylvania who was 11 when he allegedly shot and killed his father’s pregnant fiancee attempted today to persuade an appeals court not to try him as an adult under America’s harsh system of juvenile justice.

Unless the lawyers for Jordan Brown who is now aged 13, can convince the judges to change tack, he will be tried in adult court and if convicted will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. He would become the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever.

The US is the only country where juveniles are serving life imprisonment without parole under the so-called “life means life” policy. Only the US and Somalia have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which rules out life sentences with no chance of release for crimes committed before the age of 18.

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8 Comments to “13-year-old Pennsylvania boy faces life in prison”

  • This is a tough call. Why would an 11 year old shoot and kill a pregnant woman? Why is it not the same crime if committed by a child? What were the circumstances?

  • What a tragedy this would be! An eleven year old boy is still a baby. It seems to me he was not recieving the supervision or attention that an 11 yr. old requires. Was Dad too busy with his “fiance”? Put the dad on trial with the child.

  • It’s not harsh justice at all with the crime that was commited. Rather it’s quite lenient since he’s not getting the death penalty.

  • Hi Miranda,

    It’s not the dads fault. He is not the one who commited the crime. This isn’t a kid having bullying problems with the neighbor kids, it’s someone that killed a pregnant young woman.

  • Wow! I guess this begs the question, what purpose does punishment serve? Individual deterrence of future crimes, deter society in general from committing future crimes, removal of this individual from society to prevent him from committing future crimes, or to pay restitution to society for the crime that he committed? I am not sure that punishing a child who at the time of the crime was 11 serves many of those purposes of punishment well. The other thing, does an 11 year-old have the capacity to form the mental intent necessary for the element of the crime? Do they understand what the consequences are? I don’t think that at 11, I understood what forever meant, neither in the context of taking a life or giving up my own. It’s tragic, my heart goes out to those involved, but I am not sure that incarcerating this boy for the rest of his life on earth is necessary to achieve justice in this sense. Obviously, I am ill-informed of the details of this, other than from this article and other internet research so I don’t offer my opinion as anything other than that, an ill-informed opinion, subject to further illumination of truth.

  • separate kids from parents
    if we are getting this extreme we must take action
    this is out of hand
    parents of the past will not ever be able to manage the kids of the future
    remove boys from girls, whites from black from chinese, from mexican
    we cant work together
    truth white people are not capable of living fairly on this planet

  • Ken what is your remark about? This article has nothing to do with race at all.

  • In MO, he would probably be tried as an adult, have the sentence remanded, and then given over to the care and custody of the Missouri Division of Youth services. He would have then be held in custody until his 21st birthday and then if the adult court agreed returned to the community under the care of the parole system. It’s still harsh but 8 years is more realistic than 40+. There is enough brain research, from reputable sources, that show a person’s brain at this age is not developed enough to be fully, cognitively, aware of the consequences of his actions.

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