Habeas Corpus : Historical Background

3278 Words May 19th, 2015 14 Pages
Suspension of Habeas Corpus: Historical Background The government has often engaged in the suspension of habeas corpus in times of wars and insurrections. This practice is by no means new, and goes back as far as the Civil War. An analysis of this practice shows that it is, at best, a short term measure. In the recent past, the US Supreme Court took up this topic in the context of the war on terrorism, and their findings-and the analysis that support those findings-reinforces this position. Habeas corpus (Latin for “may you have the body”) is a component of English law that became one of the cornerstones of American law. The noted jurist and legal scholar William Blackstone, notes that the term habeas corpus was used in the early 1300s during the reign of King Edward I. There are, however, indications that the concept may go back as far as the 12th century, having been established during the reign of King Henry II (Stacey 2008). In brief, habeas corpus is a legal proceeding, executed via a writ, in which the person under arrest is brought before the court. The court conducts a review of the evidence against the person. If it develops that this evidence is found to be insufficient, the person is released. If, conversely, it is found to be sufficient, the person will be held for trial. Habeas corpus is, in effect, a means of preventing unlawful detention (Keenan 2004).
Habeas Corpus Becomes American Law; Habeas Corpus During The Civil War The source of habeas corpus in…

More about Habeas Corpus : Historical Background

Open Document