I speculated that the acquittal of Scott Warren for giving aid to the people crossing the desert regions on the US southern border was possibly a case of jury nullification, the process by which juries acquit someone who is guilty on the facts because they feel that the law is unjust or should not have been applied in that case. Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept says that what happened with Warren was not jury nullification but the government being unable to make the case.
To put this another way: there is no indication that this was a case of jury nullification. The government lost all on its own by putting on a case that was unconvincing to the jurors.
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) November 21, 2019
There was also a case of an immigration judge accused of helping an undocumented immigrant escape detention.
is this case related to:
Judge Shelley Joseph, charged with obstruction of justice and accused of helping an undocumented immigrant escape detention, has signaled she will risk a trial.https://t.co/T6ISp6VOx6
— Never partisan! 🇺🇸🏳️🌈 🎮 (@n1bbl4r) November 21, 2019
I have been reading an excellent book The War Before the War by historian Andrew Delbanco about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and how it helped set in motion the Civil War. I will write more about this book later but briefly the laws in existence since the American revolution required people in northern states where slavery did not exist to capture and return runaway slaves to their owners in the south. For some people, their feeling of obligation to obey the law came into conflict with their revulsion at assisting in a horrible institution. Some decided to defy the law and help the slaves escape farther north and into Canada, other to go along with the law and help in returning the slaves, and yet others tried to find some middle ground such as attempting to purchase the slaves’ freedom. There were also cases in which large mobs of people overcame the authorities in order to free runaway slaves who had been captured by agents of slave owners and were about to be returned to their owners.
Without in any way equating the awful state of slavery with what is going on now in the US, Delbanco says that in many respects the cruel way that undocumented immigrants are being treated now echoes the way that runaway slaves were treated back then, though the consequences for slaves were far more dire. He says that even then, some free states passed laws forbidding their own authorities such as the police from in any way aiding in the capture and repatriation of runaways slaves, similar to the policies adopted by some current local authorities saying that they will be sanctuaries and not aid ICE or the CBP in identifying and detaining undocumented immigrants.
The problem is that now, unlike then, the federal government has so much power and money and personnel that it can do much of the work without the aid of local authorities.