Second Circuit Court Case, 1849-1857

The jury at the second circuit court trial awarded Dred and Harriet Scott, as well as Eliza and Lizzie, their freedom. According to Missouri law, Dred Scott had been free since 1833, the time Dr. Emerson conveyed him to Fort Armstrong.

Immediately following this decision, Emerson's attorneys Garland and Norris moved for a new trial; this was overruled. They then appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, filing a bill of exceptions on February 13, 1850. A complete transcript was forwarded and the case was scheduled for the March term, to be held in St. Louis. The attorneys maintained that Dred Scott had been freed on the basis of civil law, but that during his stays in free territory, Dr. Emerson, and therefore Dred, were under military jurisdiction. Dr. Emerson's stays in free territory were not voluntary; therefore, he did not voluntarily take Dred into the free territory.

Both sides filed briefs on March 8, 1850. An unusually heavy schedule prevented the judges from hearing the case during the March term.