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

1United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Commonly Used Terms - U.S. Courts, http://­www.ca9.uscourts.gov/­content/­view.php?pk_id=0000000237 (last accessed May 28, 2009).

2Oregon Secretary of State Archives Division, Oregon Historical County Records Guide: Glossary of Terms, http://­www.sos.state.or.us/­archives/­county/­cpglossary.html (last accessed May 27, 2009).