Habeas Corpus

This passage is about the legal procedure, habeas corpus.

Lexile Level: 1160L

Categories: History Classics & Literature


Habeas corpus is an old and fundamental legal procedure in the Western world. Habeas corpus is Latin for "you should have the body." Its roots can be traced as far back as the 13th century when it was used under the reign of King Edward I of England. Habeas corpus literally required defendants to be brought before a court of law and told the charges against them. It was developed as a means of protecting citizens from arbitrary or unlawful detention by the government. In the United States today, a writ of habeas corpus is usually made to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to court to determine whether he or she is being held legally. Habeas corpus is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, but in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, an increasing number of suspects have been denied the right to use it.


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