habeas corpus

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habeas corpus

(hā`bēəs kôr`pəs) [Lat.,=you should have the body], writwrit,
in law, written order issued in the name of the sovereign or the state in connection with a judicial or an administrative proceeding. Usually the writ requires the person to whom the command is issued to report at a fixed time (the return day) with proof of compliance or a
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 directed by a judge to some person who is detaining another, commanding him to bring the body of the person in his custody at a specified time to a specified place for a specified purpose. The writ's sole function is to release an individual from unlawful imprisonment; through this use it has come to be regarded as the great writ of liberty. The writ tests only whether a prisoner has been accorded due process, not whether he is guilty. The most common present-day usage of the writ is to appealappeal,
in law, hearing by a superior court to consider correcting or reversing the judgment of an inferior court, because of errors allegedly committed by the inferior court.
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 state criminal convictions to the federal courts when the petitioner believes his constitutional rights were violated by state procedure. An individual incarcerated in a state prison is expected to exhaust all possible routes available before applying to a federal judge for habeas corpus.

The term is mentioned as early as the 14th cent. in England, and was formalized in the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. The privilege of the use of this writ as a safeguard against illegal imprisonment was highly regarded by the British colonists in America, and wrongful refusals to issue the writ were one of the grievances before the American Revolution. As a result, the Constitution of the United States provides that "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it" (Article 1, Section 9). President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War, and his decision was upheld by Congress—despite protests by Chief Justice Roger Taney that such suspension was not within the powers of the president. The Supreme Court's liberal decisions in the 1950s and 1960s in the area of prisoners' rights encouraged many incarcerated persons to file writs challenging their convictions, but the Court under William Rehnquist limited multiple habeas corpus filings, particularly from prisoners on death row.

Bibliography

See P. D. Halliday, Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire (2010); J. J. Wert, Habeas Corpus in America (2011).

habeas corpus

Law a writ ordering a person to be brought before a court or judge, esp so that the court may ascertain whether his detention is lawful
References in periodicals archive ?
669, 675-76 (2008); see also Jude Obasi Nkama, The Great Writ Encumbered by Great Limitations: Is the Third Circuit's Notice Requirement for Habeas Relief A Structural Bias Against "Persons in Custody?
Halliday, supra note 2, at 2 ("[T]he writ's history has traditionally been approached as something grander, told as the tale of liberty: 'the Great Writ of Liberty,' as we have called it for three hundred years.
Wainwright's special status within the pantheon of criminal procedure rights and second, the historical and modern role of the Great Writ, both with respect to Gideon, as well as other claims of constitutional error.
It is probably the most accessible overview of the contours of the Great Writ that I have read.
This origin explains why so much controversy erupted in regard to whether the Great Writ was, indeed, as Edward Jenks famously said, "originally intended not to get people out of prison, but to put them in it" (1902, 65, emphasis in original).
the Great Writ as "a second magna carta, a stable bulwark of our
These invocations of the great writ demonstrate its flexibility to effectuate relief in situations where other appellate options are simply unavailable.
2) The Great Writ is based on the fundamental idea that the judiciary should possess the power to control the executive.
Does the history of the Great Writ, the "highest remedy in law, for any man that is imprisoned,"(80) really offer such a limited scope of judicial review?
First called the Great Writ by Chief Justice John Marshall, it challenges government deprivation of physical liberty and life, giving prisoners the right to question the constitutionality of the proceedings that convicted and sentenced them.