United States v. Harris

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Harris
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Waite Court (1882-1887)
LOWER COURT:

DECIDED: Jan 22, 1883

Facts of the case

Harris led an armed lynch mob into a Tennessee jail and captured four black prisoners. Though the deputy sheriff attempted to protect the prisoners, he was unsuccessful. One of the prisoners died. The United States government brought criminal charges against Sheriff Harris and others under Section 2 of the Force Act of 1871. This act made it a crime for two or more persons to conspire for the purpose of depriving anyone of the equal protection of the laws.

Question

Could the United States try Harris and others under the act?