What Is Habeas Corpus


Habeas Corpus is Latin for “by virtue of what is lawfully acquired.” In legal terms, it is the ability to acquire what is legally prohibited; to be guilty of what is legally prohibited. Habeas Corpus is used in both civil and criminal law. Thus, Habeas Corpus is applicable in all areas of life and not limited to one. The Corpus is the basis of a traditional Roman Law under which any one may be detained in handcuffs if they commit a crime, but may also be detained if they are guilty of something they may not have intended to do.

Habeas Corpus is a legal recourse in criminal law through which an individual can petition a court to demand that a court to secure the release of a person, commonly a prisoner, from prison or imprisonment, to a third party who will subsequently deliver the prisoner to the judicial authority. However, when one is seeking to use Habeas Corpus as grounds for a motion, that motion must be brought within a limited time period after actual discovery of the facts. If the investigating officer fails to find the facts, the plaintiff must wait within a certain time frame. Habeas Corpus is also often used in immigration matters to prevent the deportation of an individual.

The phrase “what is habeas corpus?” is most often associated with criminal cases, but it is an appropriate question for civil cases, too, where one is harmed physically, psychologically, or emotionally by another person’s conduct. When an individual is deprived of his liberty by another person’s conduct, he may make a claim for Habeas Corpus relief. This is primarily to ensure that due process is followed when the person is deprived of his liberty.

The term habeas corpus refers to the right recognized in law to pursue legal proceedings to obtain evidence about the violations of a person’s constitutional rights. The decision to file a claim for habeas corpus generally rests on one of three considerations. First, if the investigating officer has not seized sufficient evidence to support a conviction, then there must be a reasonable doubt about the guilt of the defendant. Second, if the investigating officer has found sufficient evidence to support a conviction, then the plaintiff must show that they were deprived of all legally available notice of due process and have been denied their right to proceed with a claim for habeas corpus. Third, if the plaintiff is not able to prove that the defendant has a legitimate reason for denying their right to due process, then the case must be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

In order for a plaintiff to succeed with their Habeas Corpus claim, they must establish three elements: (1) there was an arrest or seizure of their person; (2) they were then detained in jail; and (3) they were allowed a reasonable time to prepare their own defense. Assuming that the defendant did seize and hold the plaintiff within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, there is no need to go further in explaining what is habeas corpus simply because there are no questions about whether there was an arrest or deprivation of liberty at all. The fact that a person is being held in jail does not mean they are being deprived of all constitutional rights. There must also be a due process case to support the claim of Habeas Corpus.

In a properly constructed habeas corpus claim, one party is properly identified as the arresting officer. Proper identification ensures the plaintiff has a clear claim to Habeas Corpus before it can proceed. Also, a properly constructed habeas corpus claim must point to a deprivation of a legally recognized right. If the plaintiff was held in jail, but was not legally deprived of liberty, they may still pursue their claim. If they are unable to establish their Habeas Corpus, a properly drafted claim will likely fail.

When drafting a habeas corpus claim, it is always wise to consult with a highly experienced criminal attorney. If a proper habeas corpus analysis is not conducted, there is a strong chance the plaintiff will be awarded a temporary restraining order that will only be lifted once all the facts are known and there are no longer arguments on the merits of their claim. The prolonged nature of the litigation is intended to provide the plaintiff and their lawyer with a sufficient amount of time to prepare their defenses, make relevant discovery, hire expert witnesses and so on. Failure to adequately prepare and obtain proper legal advice could result in a substantially shorter time to complete the litigation. This could then tie up the attorneys for an extended period of time, resulting in less money for the client.

Habeas Corpus is very broad and has many gray areas. Therefore, if you have been or are being arrested for any type of criminal activity, there is a strong possibility you will have the opportunity to obtain relief from the overly harsh restraints of habeas corpus. This legal doctrine has traditionally been designed to ensure that persons are treated fairly during the enforcement of the law. If you have been arrested for any type of alleged criminal activity, consultation with an attorney immediately after your arrest is the best course of action.