Essay on The Fugitive Slave

The protection of human rights is one of the primary concerns of the federal judge. In this respect, the case of Jim should be viewed in the context of the protection of Constitutional rights of both parties involved in the process. In fact, both Jim and Jim’s owner have equal Constitutional rights because Jim is in Massachusetts, where there is no slavery and laws of Virginia state are not valid in Massachusetts. At the same time, it is possible to distinguish two parties involved in the trial, Jim’s owner, who insists that his property rights were violated because Jim has escaped to Massachusetts and is not returned back to him. On the other hand, Jim, whose attorney insists that Jim has Constitutional rights as he is a free citizen of Massachusetts, while the US Constitution grants all citizens equal rights and liberties. In such a situation, the fair trial and observation of due process is needed to take the right decision concerning Jim.

Jim has already been tried and the court took the decision to return him to his owner. However, such a decision of the court is questionable. First of all, Jim’s attorney argues that the judge received higher fee for taking the decision to return Jim because, if the decision is appealed the judge is going to receive higher fee. Obviously, the judge was aware of the possibility of receiving higher fee that could have influenced his decision concerning Jim. In addition, the trial was not substantiated. To put it more precisely, the trial should be conducted in accordance to the due process.

The previous trial revealed the violation of the due process in terms of the ignoring of substantive process and Bill of Rights, including respective Constitutional provisions. These violations were obvious. For instance, the trail did not involve the jury, although Jim had the right to have a jury to take the decision concerning his case. In addition, the process was not substantive which is an essential requirement of the due process. Moreover, Jim’s Constitutional rights were neglected, whereas only the right of Jim’s owner was taken into consideration. Such a bunch of violation of the due process makes the outcome of the trial invalid and the court’s decision should be overturned.

However, the detailed trial may be considered to be unnecessary because of difficulties the plaintiff may face to bring witnesses and to prove that Jim is his slave. In this regard, Jim’s owner argues that he may have difficulties with bringing witnesses 500 miles away from his home. However, the long distance cannot be an obstacle for the court and trial should be conducted fairly. For instance, the court cannot take a decision to transfer because either party involved in the process resides too far from the area, where the trial takes place. The physical distance is a relative concept in legal cases because the physical distance cannot be an obstacle on the way of justice. For instance, a witness could refuse from witnessing, because he/she lives too far from the trial and the court would be unable to find out the truth and to take the right decision. In fact, it is Jim’s owner, who has to prove his ownership and the court should not assist him in collecting evidence or binging witnesses. Otherwise, such actions from the part of the court would be unfair in relation to Jim and violate fundamental principle of the justice system, the principle of objectivity and neutrality. Therefore, the court should stand on the ground of objectivity and neutrality. Otherwise, the court’s decision would be unfair and unjust in relation to the parties involved in the trial. This means that the judge and the court should not take the side of either party. Instead, laws should be the major drivers of the decision taken by the judge. In such a situation, Jim’s owner pleads his inability to deliver witnesses just to transfer the case to Virginia.

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