Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus in the United States

Contents:

A court order requiring the state to show cause for a person’s detention. Habeas corpus is a Latin term meaning “you have the body.” Habeas corpus was originally a procedure in English law designed to prevent governmental misconduct, especially the improper detention of prisoners before any kind of trial. Its primary purpose was to force jailers to bring a detained person before a judge who would examine the adequacy of the detention. If the judge found the person to be in custody improperly, he or she could order the prisoner’s release through a writ of habeas corpus. A writ is an order from a court requiring the recipient of the order to do what the order commands. In American law, the preliminary hearing functions as the point of examination into the propriety of pretrial detention, as well as into the charges brought against an accused person. Article I, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution 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.” President Lincoln attempted to suspend the writ early in the Civil War, but it was determined in Ex parte Merryman (17 Fed. Cas. No. 9487: 1861) that suspension was entirely a congressional prerogative. Congress subsequently authorized Lincoln to suspend the writ of habeas corpus at his discretion. This action was challenged and eventually decided by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan (4 Wallace 2: 1866). A unanimous Court said the president could not suspend habeas corpus under any circumstances. A five-member majority held that Congress did not have the power either. There has been no subsequent attempt to suspend habeas corpus in the United States.

See Also

Collateral Attack (Apellate Judicial Process) Writ (Apellate Judicial Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Habeas corpus seldom involves pretrial detentions now. The early steps in the criminal process attend to the problems against which habeas corpus was originally directed. The habeas corpus review has come to have a different function in contemporary law. Habeas corpus today involves, among other things, federal court review of state criminal convictions. After the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, Congress enlarged habeas corpus to include persons already convicted and in custody in the states. These prisoners could apply for a writ of habeas corpus if they believed a violation of the U.S. Constitution or federal statutes had occurred in their cases. The allegations of violations were limited to jurisdictional issues at the time, but this apparently insignificant change began a transformation of the traditional concept of habeas corpus. It eventually turned habeas corpus into an avenue for collateral attack of state judgments. The Supreme Court has expanded the habeas corpus remedy several times. Frank v. Magnum (237 U.S. 309: 1915) held that habeas corpus review existed when a state failed to provide an effective means for convicted prisoners to pursue alleged violations of their federal constitutional rights. Brown v. Allen (344 U.S. 443: 1953) said that federal courts could reexamine a prisoner’s constitutional allegations even if the state had provided corrective processes. The defendant had only to exhaust those processes. In Fay v. Noia (372 U.S. 391: 1963), the Warren Court determined that even if all state processes are not utilized, a defendant can access the federal courts through the habeas corpus application. The number of state prisoners seeking habeas corpus relief in the early 1940s was slightly over 100 annually. By the early 1970s, however, there were over 8,000 applications per year. The Burger Court was critical of this trend. It frequently expressed disapproval of the contemporary use of habeas corpus as a means of collateral review. In Schneckloth v. Bustamonte (412 U.S. 218: 1973), the Court said habeas corpus was being taken “far beyond its historical bounds and in disregard of the writ’s central purpose.” In one of its most recent decisions on the issue, the Court held in Stone v. Powell (428 U.S. 465: 1976) that the habeas corpus remedy is not available to a state prisoner pursuing a Fourth Amendment search violation when the defendant had been afforded a “full and fair” opportunity to press the allegations in a state court. While habeas corpus still provides substantial access for state as well as federal prisoners, the scope of the remedy in state proceedings has been reduced since the early 1970s.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Habeas Corpus from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Habeas Corpus Definition

(Lat. that you have the body). A writ directed to the person detaining another, and commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a certain time and place, with the day and cause of his caption and detention, to do, submit to, and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ shall consider in that behalf. This is the most famous writ in the law; and, having for many centuries been em ployed to remove illegal restraint upon personal liberty, no matter by what power imposed, it is often called the great writ of liberty. It takes its name from the characteristic words it contained when the process and records of the English courts were written in Latin: Praedpimus tibi quod corpus A B in custodia vestra detentum, ut dicitur, una cum causa captionis et detentionis suae, quocunque nomine idem A B censeatur in eadem habeas coram nobis apud Westm. etc., ad subjiciendum et recipiendum, ea, quae curia nostra de eo ad tunc et ibidem ordinari conUgerit in hac parte, etc. There were several other writs which contained the words habeas corpus; but they were distinguished from this and from one another by the specific terms declaring the object of the writ, which terms are still retained in the nomenclature of writs, as, habeas corpus ad respondendum, ad testificandum, ad satisfaciendum, ad prosequendum, and ad faciendum et recipiendum, ad deliberandum et recipiendum. This writ was in like manner designated as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum et recipiendum; but, having acquired in public esteem a marked importance by reason of the nobler uses to which it has been devoted, it has so far appropriated the generic term to itself that it is now, by way of eminence, commonly called the Writ of Habeas Corpus. The date of its origin cannot now be ascertained. Traces of its existence are found in Y. B. 48 Edw. III. 22; and it appears to have been familiar to, and well understood by, the judges in the reign of Henry VI. In its early history it appears to have been used as a means of relief from private restraint. The earliest precedents where it was used against the crowr, are in the reign of Henry VII. Afterwards the use of it became more frequent, and in the time of Charles I. it was held an admitted constitutional remedy. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 145. In process of time, abuses crept into the practice, which in some measure impaired the usefulness of the writ. The party imprisoning was at liberty to delay his obedience to the first writ, and might wait till a second and third were issued before he produced the party; and many other vexatious shifts were practised to detain state prisoners in custody. 3 Bl. Comm. 135. Greater promptitude in its execution was required to render the writ efficacious. The subject was accordingly brought forward in parliament in 1668, and renewed from time to time until 1679, when the celebrated habeas corpus act of 31 Car. II. was passed. The passage of this act has been made the theme of the highest praise and congratulation by British authors, and is even said to have extinguished all the resources of oppression. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 93. This act being-limited to. cases of commitments for criminal or supposed criminal matters, every other species of restraint of personal liberty was left to the ordinary remedy at common law; but, doubts being entertained as to the extent of the jurisdiction of the judge to inquire into the truth of the return to the vsrrit in such cases, an attempt was made, in 1757, in the house of lords, to render the jurisdiction more remedial. It was opposed by Lord Mansfield as unnecessary, and failed, for the time, of success. It was subsequently renewed, however; and the act of 56 Geo. III. c. 100, supplies, in England, all the needed legislation in cases not embraced by the act of 31 Car. II. Hurd, Habeas Corpus. The English colonists in America regarded the privilege of the writ as one of the dearest birthrights of Britons, and sufficient indications exist that it was frequently resorted to. The denial of it in Massachusetts by Judge Dudley in 1689 to Rev. John Wise, imprisoned for resisting the collection of an oppressive and illegal tax, was made the subject of a civil action against the judge, and was, moreover, denounced, as one of the grievances of the people, in a pamphlet published in 1689 on the authority of the gentlemen, merchants, and inhabitants of Boston and the country adjacent. In New York, in 1707, it served to effect the release of the Presbyterian ministers Makemie and Hampton from an illegal warrant of arrest issued by the governor, Cornbury, for preaching the gospel without license. In New Jersey, in 1710, the assembly denounced one of the judges for refusing the writ to Thomas Gordon, which, they said, was the undoubted right and great privilege of the subject. In South Carolina, in 1692, the assembly adopted the act of 31 Car. II. This act was extended to Virginia by Queen Anne early in her reign, while in the assembly of Maryland in 1725 the benefit of its provisions was claimed, independent of royal favor, as the birthright of the inhabitants. The refusal of parliament in 1774 to extend the law of habeas corpus to Canada was denounced by the continental congress in September of that year as oppressive, and was subsequently recounted in the Declaration of Independence as one of the manifestations on the part of the British government of tyranny over the colonies. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 109-120. It is provided in article 1, § 9, subd. 2, of the constitution of the United States 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. Similar provisions are found in the constitutions of most of the states. In Virginia and Vermont, however, it is forbidden to suspend the privilege of the writ in any case; but in the constitutions of Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina the writ is not mentioned.. Congress, by act of March 3, 1863, authorized the president to suspend the privilege of the writ throughout the whole or any part of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public safety might require it, during the Rebellion. A partial suspension took place. Nor has the power of suspension ever been exercised by the legislature of any of the states, except that of Massachusetts, which, on the occasion of Shay’s Rebellion, suspended the privilege of the writ from November, 1786, to July, 1787.

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(Lat. that you have the body). A writ directed to the person detaining another, and commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a certain time and place, with the day and cause of his caption and detention, to do, submit to, and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ shall consider in that behalf. This is the most famous writ in the law; and, having for many centuries been em ployed to remove illegal restraint upon personal liberty, no matter by what power imposed, it is often called the great writ of liberty. It takes its name from the characteristic words it contained when the process and records of the English courts were written in Latin: Praedpimus tibi quod corpus A B in custodia vestra detentum, ut dicitur, una cum causa captionis et detentionis suae, quocunque nomine idem A B censeatur in eadem habeas coram nobis apud Westm. etc., ad subjiciendum et recipiendum, ea, quae curia nostra de eo ad tunc et ibidem ordinari conUgerit in hac parte, etc. There were several other writs which contained the words habeas corpus; but they were distinguished from this and from one another by the specific terms declaring the object of the writ, which terms are still retained in the nomenclature of writs, as, habeas corpus ad respondendum, ad testificandum, ad satisfaciendum, ad prosequendum, and ad faciendum et recipiendum, ad deliberandum et recipiendum. This writ was in like manner designated as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum et recipiendum; but, having acquired in public esteem a marked importance by reason of the nobler uses to which it has been devoted, it has so far appropriated the generic term to itself that it is now, by way of eminence, commonly called the Writ of Habeas Corpus. The date of its origin cannot now be ascertained. Traces of its existence are found in Y. B. 48 Edw. III. 22; and it appears to have been familiar to, and well understood by, the judges in the reign of Henry VI. In its early history it appears to have been used as a means of relief from private restraint. The earliest precedents where it was used against the crowr, are in the reign of Henry VII. Afterwards the use of it became more frequent, and in the time of Charles I. it was held an admitted constitutional remedy. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 145. In process of time, abuses crept into the practice, which in some measure impaired the usefulness of the writ. The party imprisoning was at liberty to delay his obedience to the first writ, and might wait till a second and third were issued before he produced the party; and many other vexatious shifts were practised to detain state prisoners in custody. 3 Bl. Comm. 135. Greater promptitude in its execution was required to render the writ efficacious. The subject was accordingly brought forward in parliament in 1668, and renewed from time to time until 1679, when the celebrated habeas corpus act of 31 Car. II. was passed. The passage of this act has been made the theme of the highest praise and congratulation by British authors, and is even said to have extinguished all the resources of oppression. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 93. This act being-limited to. cases of commitments for criminal or supposed criminal matters, every other species of restraint of personal liberty was left to the ordinary remedy at common law; but, doubts being entertained as to the extent of the jurisdiction of the judge to inquire into the truth of the return to the vsrrit in such cases, an attempt was made, in 1757, in the house of lords, to render the jurisdiction more remedial. It was opposed by Lord Mansfield as unnecessary, and failed, for the time, of success. It was subsequently renewed, however; and the act of 56 Geo. III. c. 100, supplies, in England, all the needed legislation in cases not embraced by the act of 31 Car. II. Hurd, Habeas Corpus. The English colonists in America regarded the privilege of the writ as one of the dearest birthrights of Britons, and sufficient indications exist that it was frequently resorted to. The denial of it in Massachusetts by Judge Dudley in 1689 to Rev. John Wise, imprisoned for resisting the collection of an oppressive and illegal tax, was made the subject of a civil action against the judge, and was, moreover, denounced, as one of the grievances of the people, in a pamphlet published in 1689 on the authority of the gentlemen, merchants, and inhabitants of Boston and the country adjacent. In New York, in 1707, it served to effect the release of the Presbyterian ministers Makemie and Hampton from an illegal warrant of arrest issued by the governor, Cornbury, for preaching the gospel without license. In New Jersey, in 1710, the assembly denounced one of the judges for refusing the writ to Thomas Gordon, which, they said, was the undoubted right and great privilege of the subject. In South Carolina, in 1692, the assembly adopted the act of 31 Car. II. This act was extended to Virginia by Queen Anne early in her reign, while in the assembly of Maryland in 1725 the benefit of its provisions was claimed, independent of royal favor, as the birthright of the inhabitants. The refusal of parliament in 1774 to extend the law of habeas corpus to Canada was denounced by the continental congress in September of that year as oppressive, and was subsequently recounted in the Declaration of Independence as one of the manifestations on the part of the British government of tyranny over the colonies. Hurd, Habeas Corpus, 109-120. It is provided in article 1, § 9, subd. 2, of the constitution of the United States 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. Similar provisions are found in the constitutions of most of the states. In Virginia and Vermont, however, it is forbidden to suspend the privilege of the writ in any case; but in the constitutions of Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina the writ is not mentioned.. Congress, by act of March 3, 1863, authorized the president to suspend the privilege of the writ throughout the whole or any part of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public safety might require it, during the Rebellion. A partial suspension took place. Nor has the power of suspension ever been exercised by the legislature of any of the states, except that of Massachusetts, which, on the occasion of Shay’s Rebellion, suspended the privilege of the writ from November, 1786, to July, 1787.

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Notice

This definition of Habeas Corpus Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

(Latin for “You have the body”). A writ commanding the person having custody of another to produce the person detained at a certain place and time so the court may determine if the detention is lawful. A provision in the U.S. Constitution puts it beyond the power of the government to abolish this procedure and the powers of the courts in relation to it, except in case of war when the “public safety shall require it.” The provision does not bind the states, but there is commonly a similar provision in state constitutions.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Habeas Corpus?

For a meaning of it, read Habeas Corpus in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Habeas Corpus.

Habeas Corpus

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled HABEAS CORPUS(Latin: “You shall have the body Habeas corpus is the most celebrated of Anglo-American judicial procedures. It has been called the “Great Writ of Liberty” and hailed as a crucial bulwark of a free society. Compared to many encomia, Justice felix frankfurter’s praise in brown v. allen
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Habeas Corpus

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled HABEAS CORPUS The latin phrase “habeas corpus,” literally translated as “produce the body,” refers to a procedure in which persons held in custody by either the federal or state government may challenge their incarceration and/or sentence as unlawful. The person raising the challenge asks
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Concept of Habeas Corpus

In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Habeas Corpus has the following meaning: Habeas corpus is a Latin phrase meaning ‘have the body.’ Legally it refers to a guarantee against illegal imprisonment, a fundamental right guaranteed citizens in the U.S. Constitution. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order to someone detaining a prisoner to produce him or her in court to determine the lawfulness of the imprisonment. A writ of habeas corpus was originally a pre-trial device whereby someone imprisoned by executive order could challenge the legality of his detention. Today the scope of habeas corpus has expanded to include challenges of imprisonment after conviction as well on the argument that punishment was wrongly imposed. (Source of this definition of Habeas Corpus : University of Texas)

Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus Explained

References

See Also

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure

Resources

See Also

  • Judiciary Power
  • Judiciary Branch

Habeas Corpus Explained

References

See Also

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Amnesty and Pardon; Appeal; Capital Punishment: Legal Aspects; Counsel: Right to Counsel; Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Aspects; Criminal Justice Process; Exclusionary Rule; Guilt; Prisoners, Legal Rights of.

    Latin forensic terms.

    Related Case Law

    Ableman v. Booth, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 506 (1858).

    Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443 (1953).

    Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722 (1991).

    Ex Parte Bollman, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 75 (1807).

    Ex Parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1891) (No. 9487).

    Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391 (1963).

    Frank v. Magnum, 237 U.S. 309 (1915).

    Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993).

    Mackey v. United States, 401 U.S. 667 (1971).

    Williams v. Taylor, 526 U.S. 1050 (1999).

    Wright v. West, 505 U.S. 277 (1992).

    Further Reading (Books)

    Bator, Paul M. “Finality in Criminal Law and Federal Habeas Corpus for State Prisoners.” Harvard Law Review 78 (1963): 441-528.

    Chen, Alan K. “Shadow Law: Reasonable Unreasonableness, Habeas Theory, and the Nature of Legal Rules.” Buffalo Criminal Law Review 2 (1999): 535-634. “Developments in the Law: Federal Habeas Corpus.” Harvard Law Review 83 (1970): 1038-1280.

    Duker, William F. A Constitutional History of Habeas Corpus. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980.

    Freedman, Eric M. “Milestones in Habeas Corpus: Part I. Just Because John Marshall Said It, Doesn’t Make It So: Ex Parte Bollman and the Illusory Prohibition on the Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus for State Prisoners in the Judiciary Act of 1789.” University of Alabama Law Review 51 (2000): 531-602.

    Friendly, Henry J. “Is Innocence Irrelevant? Collateral Attack on Criminal Judgments.” University of Chicago Law Review 38 (1970): 142-172.

    Hoffman, Joseph L. “Substance and Procedure in Capital Cases: Why Federal Habeas Courts Should Review the Merits of Every Death Sentence.” University of Texas Law Review (2000): 1771-1803.

    Hurd, Rollin C. A Treatise on the Right of Personal Liberty, and on the Writ of Habeas Corpus, 2d ed. Albany, N.Y.: W.C. Little & Co, 1876.

    Liebman, James S. “Apocalypse Next Time?: The Anachronistic Attack on Habeas Corpus/Direct Review Parity.” University of Columbia Law Review 92 (1992): 1997-2097.

    Further Reading (Books 2)

    –. “More Than ‘Slightly Retro’: The Rehnquist Court’s Rout of Habeas Corpus Jurisdiction in Teague v. Lane.” New York University Review of Law and Social Change 18 (1990-1991): 537-635.

    Liebman, James S., and Hertz, Randy. Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure, 2d ed. Charlottesville, Va.: The Michie Co., 1994.

    Oaks, Dallin H. “Habeas Corpus in the States: 1776-1865.” University of Chicago Law Review 32 (1965): 243-288.

    Peller, Gary. “In Defense of Federal Habeas Corpus Relitigation.” Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review 16 (1982): 579-691.

    Steiker, Jordan. “Innocence and Federal Habeas.” University of California at Los Angeles Law Review 41 (1993): 303-389.

    “Incorporating the Suspension Clause: Is there a Constitutional Right to Federal Habeas Corpus for State Prisoners?” University of Michigan Law Review 92 (1994): 862-924.

    “Restructuring Post-Conviction Review of Federal Constitutional Claims Raised by State Prisoners: Confronting the New Face of Excessive Proceduralism.” University of Chicago Legal Forum (1998): 315-347.

    “Habeas Exceptionalism.” University of Texas Law Review (2000): 1703-1730.

    Tushnet, Mark, and Yackle, Larry. “Symbolic Statutes and Real Laws: The Pathologies of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Prison Litigation Reform Act.” Duke Law Journal 47 (1997): 1-86.

    Yackle, Larry W. Postconviction Remedies. Rochester, N.Y.: Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co., 1981.

    “The Misadventure of State Post-Conviction Remedies.” New York University Review of Law and Social Change 16 (1987-1988): 359-394.

    “A Primer on the New Habeas Corpus Statute.” University of Buffalo Law Review 44 (1996): 381-449.

    “The Figure in the Carpet.” University of Texas Law Review (2000): 1731-1770.

    Further Reading (Articles)

    You Should Have the Body: Understanding Habeas Corpus, Social Education; March 1, 2008; Landman, James

    Habeas Corpus (Update 1), Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

    Habeas Corpus, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

    Habeas Corpus – Limited Review for Actual Innocence, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Breuer, Jennifer R.

    Wrong on Habeas Corpus; Gonzales Misstates the Facts, The Washington Times (Washington, DC); February 5, 2007

    Habeas corpus–Limited review for actual innocence, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Breuer, Jennifer

    SEN. SPECTER SPEAKS ON HABEAS CORPUS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 18, 2007

    Brecht V. Abrahamson: Harmful Error in Habeas Corpus Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Liebman, James S. Hertz, Randy

    Brecht v. Abrahamson: Harmful error in habeas corpus law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Liebman, James S

    Habeas corpus–Retroactivity of post-conviction rulings: Finality at the expense of justice, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Finley, Timothy

    Habeas Corpus – Retroactivity of Post-Conviction Rulings: Finality at the Expense of Justice, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Finley, Timothy T.

    Justices weave intricate web of habeas corpus decisions. Trial; December 1, 2001; Hoffmann, Joseph L.

    Habeas Corpus (Update 2), Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO RESTORE HABEAS CORPUS, Rachel’s Democracy & Health News; January 25, 2007; Anonymous

    Supreme Court to Hear Death-Row Habeas-Corpus Arguments, NPR Morning Edition; June 3, 1996

    Gonzales needs refresher on habeas corpus, Chicago Sun-Times; February 11, 2007; Nat Hentoff

    Federal habeas corpus in a nutshell, Human Rights; July 1, 2001; Yackle, Larry

    Habeas corpus–Fifth Amendment–The Supreme Court’s cost-benefit analysis of federal habeas review of alleged Miranda violations, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 1994; Bigornia, Anthony P

    Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire.(Book review), The Historian; December 22, 2011; Savage, Gail

    HABEAS CORPUS IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR: AN AMERICAN DRAMA, Air Force Law Review; January 1, 2010; Jackson, Aaron L

    Habeas Corpus in United States Law

    Introduction to Habeas Corpus

    The use of habeas corpus is established by both federal and state constitutions. Article I, Section 9, of the United States Constitution provides that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety may require it. The constitutions of most states contain similar provisions, and in some states suspension of the writ is forbidden in any case. Massachusetts suspended the privilege of the writ from November 1786 to July 1787, on the occasion of Shays’ Rebellion. The outstanding instance in the United States of the suspension of the right of habeas corpus occurred in 1861 during the American Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln suspended it by proclamation. In 1863 Congress explicitly empowered Lincoln to suspend the privilege of the writ during the war. In later years courts in several states suspended the privilege when state executives declared martial law during labor strikes.

    During the “war on terror” that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the U.S. Congress passed a law that suspended the right of habeas corpus for noncitizens known as unlawful enemy combatants. Under the law, titled the Military Commissions Act of 2006, so-called unlawful combatants could be held indefinitely without being able to challenge their detention in court. Congress defined an unlawful enemy combatant as anyone who engaged in hostilities against the United States or who “purposefully and materially supported” those hostilities and was not a member of a regular armed force or identifiable militia. The definition included U.S. citizens and legal residents, as well as foreign nationals, but the suspension of habeas corpus applied only to noncitizens. The determination also applied retroactively to any detainees held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prior to 2006, who had been classified as unlawful enemy combatants by military tribunals. However, the suspension of habeas corpus was controversial. United States senator Arlen Specter, chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time of the law’s passage, objected to the suspension, saying it was allowable only at a time of rebellion or invasion. Other critics said the language defining an unlawful enemy combatant was too vague. These critics argued that it could apply to anyone who gave money to a group or charity that subsequently funneled the funds to a terrorist organization.

    In the United States the writ of habeas corpus was originally limited to cases of illegal imprisonment, but its use was subsequently extended, and it is now also applicable to controversies in divorce and adoption proceedings involving the custody of minors. The basis for such applications of the writ is the assumption that the state has the right, paramount to any parental or other claims, to dispose of children as their best interests require.

    Both federal and state courts issue writs of habeas corpus. Federal courts, however, can issue such writs only under given conditions, as when a prisoner is detained by order of the federal government or has been committed for trial before a federal court. Federal courts can also issue writs of habeas corpus when a charge against a prisoner concerns an act done in pursuance of a federal law or order of a federal court, or when his or her detention is alleged to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution or of a law or treaty of the United States. The jurisdiction of the federal courts in this regard extends to foreigners, if they have acted under the authority of their own governments, so that their guilt or liability must be determined by international law. The state courts may issue the writ in all cases that do not fall exclusively under federal jurisdiction.” (1)

    Concept of Habeas Corpus

    In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Habeas Corpus has the following meaning: Habeas corpus is a Latin phrase meaning ‘have the body.’ Legally it refers to a guarantee against illegal imprisonment, a fundamental right guaranteed citizens in the U.S. Constitution. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order to someone detaining a prisoner to produce him or her in court to determine the lawfulness of the imprisonment. A writ of habeas corpus was originally a pre-trial device whereby someone imprisoned by executive order could challenge the legality of his detention. Today the scope of habeas corpus has expanded to include challenges of imprisonment after conviction as well on the argument that punishment was wrongly imposed. (Source of this definition of Habeas Corpus : University of Texas)

    Habeas Corpus

    Habeas Corpus Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure

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    See Also

    • Judiciary Power
    • Judiciary Branch

    Habeas Corpus Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure

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    Notes and References

    Guide to Habeas Corpus

    Habeas Corpus in State Statute Topics

    Introduction to Habeas Corpus (State statute topic)

    The purpose of Habeas Corpus is to provide a broad appreciation of the Habeas Corpus legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Habeas Corpus).

    Concept of Habeas Corpus

    In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Habeas Corpus has the following meaning: Habeas corpus is a Latin phrase meaning ‘have the body.’ Legally it refers to a guarantee against illegal imprisonment, a fundamental right guaranteed citizens in the U.S. Constitution. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order to someone detaining a prisoner to produce him or her in court to determine the lawfulness of the imprisonment. A writ of habeas corpus was originally a pre-trial device whereby someone imprisoned by executive order could challenge the legality of his detention. Today the scope of habeas corpus has expanded to include challenges of imprisonment after conviction as well on the argument that punishment was wrongly imposed. (Source of this definition of Habeas Corpus : University of Texas)

    Habeas Corpus

    Habeas Corpus Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure

    Resources

    See Also

    • Judiciary Power
    • Judiciary Branch

    Habeas Corpus Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure

    Resources

    Further Reading

    Habeas Corpus Meaning in Law Enforcement

    Latin translation for “you have the body.” A Writ of Habeas Corpus is a court order to a party to bring forth the body, to show cause concerning the lawfulness of possessing the body. This is a legal appeal to a court to obtain release from unlawful custody. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is preserved in the Constitution at Article I, Section 9.

    Habeas Corpus in the context of Juvenile and Family Law

    Definition ofHabeas Corpus, published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: Lit.,”You have the body”; an extraordinary writ ordering a public officer holding a person in confinement to bring the person before the court for release. Used to secure the release from custody of minors or adults being illegally held.

    Habeas Corpus Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

    A writ (court order) that is usually used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine the legality of his or her imprisonment. Someone in state prison may file a petition in federal court for a “writ of habeas corpus,” seeking to have the federal court review whether the state violated his or her rights under the U.S. Constitution. Federal prisoners may file habeas petitions as well. A writ of habeas corpus may also be used to bring a person in custody before the court to give testimony or to be prosecuted.

    Habeas Corpus: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Habeas Corpus. This part provides references, in relation to Habeas Corpus, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Habeas Corpus by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Habeas Corpus and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Habeas Corpus or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Habeas Corpus and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Habeas Corpus. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Habeas Corpus should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Habeas Corpus when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

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