Help Joshua Phillips get a second chance at life.

Please understand that in no way am I trying to undermine the severity of Joshua's actions, what he did was heinous. I beg of you to try to understand that whilst ever a 14 year old child is aware of right and wrong, in a situation such as this, it is wrong to think that a child would have the experience and knowledge to look beyond what is unfolding right before them and understand consequence.

please be patient and read all, also in helping you understand the case further please don't hesitate to look for external links.

He is not a monster, just a child that acted out of fear.


Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips
 was only 14 when he was responsible for the death of his 8 year old neighbour, Maddie Clifton, on November 3rd. 1998. Full details of the story can be found at his official website (www.freejosh.com). Josh was charged as an adult with first degree murder and convicted. He was sentenced to LIFE in prison with no possibility of parole.

Joshua was a CHILD at the time of the felony. Unfortunately, at his trial he was badly represented and NO witnesses were called in the defense. Medical evidence of a mental disorder was never shared with the jury. 

"Please understand that it is not my intention to minimize or diminish the serious nature of the offense committed by the defendant. The crime was incredibly violent and the emotional pain and anguish of Maddie Clifton’s family is immeasurable by any standard. That being said, I do not believe a civilized society can condone such an irrational sentence imposed on a 14 year old minor child. 

The irony in this case is that the brutal nature of the crime, the murder of an 8 year old child, caused the defendant to be charged as an adult and sentenced as an adult to protect “children” when the offender himself was a child. Who is charged with protecting this child or at minimum finding out what caused him to commit such a violent crime at such a young age? Because of the required sentence imposed after the defendant’s conviction, apparently there was no point in making even a cursory attempt at determining that nature of his motivation or if this was a child that could ever be saved or rehabilitated to become a productive member of society.

As I have aged I believe my vision has cleared and it was aided by raising two children and by paying close attention to their actions, social behavior, interaction with their friends and their approach to problem solving. My observations have taught me that children live in a self-centered universe and they only see things in terms of how it affects them, not the world around them. They do not lack the tools to make informed choices, but they do lack the experience and skill to use these tools. Isn’t this why our society spends the first two decades of children’s lives teaching them how to use these undeveloped tools? Children of such a young age cannot possibly understand the far reaching consequences of their behavior because these are lessons that can only be learned in the laboratory of time.

I don’t pretend to be a social scientist or skilled in adolescent development, but I am a well educated man and my experience and exposure has taught me that most children, regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location, can exhibit monstrous traits of cruelty as well as extraordinary acts of kindness. It is our responsibility to mold and form our children’s character and help them learn the appropriate values and concentrate and strengthening character traits that make our children become valuable members of society and I believe this goal is accomplished by wisdom, patience and example. Harsh punishment for children has very little lesson value and therefore is not a deterrent. Young adolescent minds are undeveloped at least and underdeveloped at best and therefore unable to process and store information in a useful manner, our wisdom gives us the patience to teach them and help them understand as they mature."

As supporters of Josh, we ask that you find compassion in your heart and sign this petition. What Josh did was heinous, yet even now, He deeply regrets these events and is so terribly remorseful.

The major question arises: 'If an 8 year old murdered another human being, would it be right to send him/her to prison for the rest of their lives?'. The fact that they were children at the time of these crimes, according to Florida Law, ment nothing!

Josh deserved to be tried in Juvenile Court. He deserved to have a fair trial. He was never allowed these things. We want Josh to receive a retrial and obtain a sentence appropriate to his age and the medical evidence obtained, never before released in the public domain.

Please help Josh. He's a lovely young man that has has made many achievements despite his situation, including earning his G.E.D, he is now a legal assistant/paralegal striving to help others. 

josh has now been isolated from the world for 15 years.

For those that are aware, Josh's case is very similar to the LIONEL TATE case. The boy was RELEASED from prison in 2004 after 3 years in incarceration, following the brutal murder of a 6 year old girl. Lionel was 12 at the time of the killing. So where's the difference in these cases? Many people have suffered, and still do. Josh was a child, just like Lionel. Where's the justice?


For those that don't know, Josh's trial made international headlines. It was one of America's most high profile cases. When his retrial commences, so will the media circus. We want Josh to receive the best representation possible and also many active supporters for him.


Please sign our petition to FREE Joshua Earl Phillips. God Bless You and in anticipation, we thank you SO much for your kindness and compassion.

The people that can make a difference.

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