Habeas Corpus

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Christopher Reynolds
Final paper
Habeas Corpus
PSY: 202 American national Government
Troy Tureau

Habeas Corpus
Habeas Corpus is one of the most important articles written into the constitution of the United States and is considered by many to be the “great writ of liberty”. It was not originally written for our constitution but was adopted by the framers from their original home in Great Brittan. .Habeas Corpus along with our other civil liberties are some of the things that make our country so great. In my paper I will talk about the meaning and history of Habeas Corpus including times in our history it was suspended. The paper will talk about habeas corpus relevance to America’s war on terror. This paper will also talk briefly about how Habeas Corpus and our civil liberties are interpreted and treated in regards to our constitutional rights as well as when congress determines it is lawful to suspend. I will add my own philosophy’s and opinions as well as government leaders such as justices of the Supreme Court, and the media’s take on the subject of Habeas Corpus and our civil liberties in general but especially during wartime and the war on terror.

According to the article Habeas Corpus in the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th edition (2011) the writ of habeas corpus is Latin for you should have the body. There are two important factors that go along with its Latin meaning. First a writ is a document in a courts name to a jailor for example, to act or not act in some way. This writ is an order by judge to see a prisoner in the case was they get arrested and detained. The article explains that habeas corpus was not set up to determine guilt but, make sure a prisoner is being treated fairly ,has not been held unlawfully and is let go in the case that the prisoner has been held unlawfully. The article goes on to explain that habeas corpus is also used by state prisoners to appeal their convictions if they feel like they have had their rights “violated” by the state. The prisoner can appeal to a federal court but, only after they have tried all other possibilities.

Some of The history and development of habeas corpus and how it became part of our system is explained in the video habeas corpus from England to Empire. In the video it is explained by author Paul Halliday who wrote the book Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire. Habeas corpus was and is used for many purposes in the court system. In England well before our country was founded habeas corpus was considered a kings right. People did not think about liberties the same way they do now and citizens could be arrested and held for ridicules reasons such as laughing in church. People were also jailed for legitimate reasons such as not paying taxes or murder. The King (or Kings Head judge) used habeas corpus to ensure the jailor was following the king’s law. The video explains that habeas corpus was brought to the constitution because the framers, from Great Britain were going to bring this idea into their new laws for the country. According to the center for the preservation of habeas corpus or the PHC (www.habeascorpus.net) the writ of habeas corpus is an ancient law. It seems the framers of the constitution borrowed the text from a document called the Magna Charta (although habeas corpus is said to be a lot older then the Magna Charta.) The Mana Charta is a document that is by some thought of as an inspiration to our constitution. The PHC gives an exact quote from the Magna Charta. It says ““...no free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed except by the lawful judgment of their peers or by the law of the land.” The framers took that and wrote in our constitution (article one section nine) that; ‘‘the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety” Habeas corpus is used in our system for many purposes including immigration cases...
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