The case of Isaac Brown is among several that were complicated by the differing laws of various states in regard to slavery and the status of a slave while in that state. Brown was born and raised a slave in Maryland. In 1845, he was arrested, jailed and severely whipped for an alleged attack on his master. Then, in contravention of Maryland law, the court ordered his sale to a slave trader. Brown was then sold to a planter in Louisiana. In 1846, Brown came to Pennsylvania under "unknown circumstances"--quite possibly a runaway. He was arrested as fugitive on a requisition from the governor of Maryland. A writ of habeas corpus was then issued by Judge Parsons of the Philadelphia Court of Quarter Sessions, but that was toppled by an order from the Governor of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Gibson of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a writ "de homine replegiando," effectively freeing Brown, who, in the confusion, fled to Canada. Finkelman, Slavery in the Courtroom, pages 77-78.
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