Writ of Habeas Corpus

Topics: Human rights, Habeas corpus, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 12 (4396 words) Published: June 27, 2013
Stephan Garcia
June 15, 2013
Barbara Jo Harris

I. Habeas Corpus
A. Historial Standpoint
B. Gitmo
C. How it works
II.Civil Liberties
A. Fighting for rights
B. Historical perspective
C. maintaining these rights
III.War on Terror
A. Beginning
B. U.S. objectives


Habeas Corpus has been around for very many years. Although no one knows its exact origin it still dates back pretty far. Habeas Corpus has been seen as a good thing and a bad thing. It has been around for every war we have had. It has also been suspended by two of our presidents in the past. The story and history of Habeas Corpus is a very old one but it is also a very interesting one too. In this essay, I will examine the history of Habeas Corpus, the civil liberties and freedoms that are at issue and the war on terrorism currently being waged around the globe today. I will attempt to show how these three issues are entwined, and how our personal freedom is at stake, more than we realize. A writ of habeas corpus is a legal action that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court. The principle of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention—that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to the prisoner's aid. Also known as the "great writ", it is a summons with the force of a court order; it is addressed to the custodian (a prison official for example) and demands that a prisoner be taken before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the prisoner. If the custodian is acting beyond his authority, then the prisoner must be released. Any prisoner, or another person acting on his or her behalf, may petition the court, or a judge, for a writ of habeas corpus. Habeas Corpus was originally the order of the King and his courts but in the years passed became the right of the person being detained or someone acting on their behalf rather than the king and his courts. There is a quote from Magna Carta that states, ‘’no free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any other way destroyed except by the lawful judgment of their peers or by the law of the land’’.  Habeas Corpus was unknown to many civil law systems in Europe. European civil law system generally favored authority from the top down whereas Angelo-Saxon common law tends to favor the individual. The Angelo-Saxon common law comes from England.  In 2002 Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were seized by Bosnian police when U.S. intelligence officers suspected their involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. government classified the men as enemy combatants in the war on terror and detained them at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is located on land that the U.S. leases from Cuba. Boumediene filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of the Constitution's Due Process Clause, various statutes and treaties, the common law, and international law. The District Court judge granted the government's motion to have all of the claims dismissed on the ground that Boumediene, as an alien detained at an overseas military base, had no right to a habeas petition. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal but the Supreme Court reversed in Rasul v. Bush, which held that the habeas statute extends to non-citizen detainees at Guantanamo (Oyez, 2008). In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). The Act eliminates federal courts' jurisdiction to hear habeas applications from detainees who have been designated as enemy combatants. When the case was appealed to the D.C. Circuit for the second time, the detainees argued that the MCA did not apply to their...

References: Waldman-Levin, Oren (2012) American Government; Bridgepoint Education, Inc.; Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPOL201.12.1
Oyez. (2008) Boumediene v. Bush, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved from http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2007/2007_06_1195
Wright, Anthony (1994) Citizens and Subjects ; Routledge, 1994
Bush, George W. (February, 2003) The White House; President Bush Releases National Strategy to Combat Terrorism Retrieved from http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030214-7.html
U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records (March, 2007) United States Senate Retrieved from http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00073
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