habeas corpus

  • 1.

    Latin, meaning "you have the body." A writ of habeas corpus generally is a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to produce a prisoner they are holding, and to justify the prisoner's continued confinement. Federal judges receive petitions for a writ of habeas corpus from state prison inmates who say their state prosecutions violated federally protected rights in some way.

    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 1
  • 2.

    Typically, a writ designed to challenge whether or not due process of law (the exercise of established law) was followed in detaining a prisoner. In Latin the term means: You have the body.

    Oregon Secretary of State Archives Division 2
    See also writ