Research paper on The Fugitive Slave

The court cannot take the decision to transfer Jim to Virginia without sufficient evidence of the right of Jim’s owner. This means that Jim’s owner should prove that he is the owner of Jim and the court cannot transfer the case to another state just on the claims of either party involved in the trial. In other words, Jim’s owner should bring some evidence of his property right to make the court consider the possibility of transferring the case to Virginia.

The first court decision was unfair. The violation of Jim’s right is provoked by the neglect of the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution. The Bill of Rights and the US Constitution grant all citizens with equal rights, including the right to freedom of movement and they cannot be limited by any one in their movement or transfer against their will. However, this is exactly what Jim’s owner insists upon. He want Jim to be transferred to Virginia, where he is likely to be enslaved. This decision would be the violation of Jims right to freedom. Hence, the court should respect the US Constitution. Therefore, Jim should be tried in Massachusetts. The case cannot be transferred to Virginia, until the rights of both parties are respected and the right of Jim’s owner is proved.

Furthermore, the procedural justice requires Jim staying in Massachusetts because he did not violate laws of the state and lived in the state as other citizens, being free. There are no evidence of him being a fugitive slave. Consequently, the court has no legal ground to send him to Virginia to undergo another trial. First, the presumable owner of Jim should bring evidence of his property right and only after that the court can take a decision either in favor of Jim or his owner.

In such a situation, the investigation of Jim’s case needs fair trial and observation of all procedures required in the trial, while his transfer to Virginia is impossible. Taking into consideration circumstances of the case, Massachusetts can provide conditions for the fair trial because the court will be free of biases and take the decision on the ground of the federal law, including Constitution and state’s laws. In this regard, Virginia’s laws are not valid in Massachusetts because the jurisdiction of Virginia’s laws is limited to the territory of the state, whereas the Fugitive Slave laws are not valid because they limit rights and liberties of individuals granted by the US Constitution. Therefore, the Fugitive Slave laws violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. In this regard, the position of Jim is quite strong because his rights are protected by the US Constitution, while Jim’s owner has a weak position, because even though his property rights are protected too, but he fails to prove that Jim is his property. Moreover, even when he proves that Jim is his property, the case cannot be transferred to Virginia because Jim is already a free citizen of the US living in Massacusetts. Therefore, he cannot be enslaved.

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