Prisons - Law - 9-12-11

Definitions and Other

(Writ of Habeas Corpus) "By way of background, the writ of habeas corpus is a venerable legal procedure that allows a prisoner to get a hearing before an impartial judge. If the jailer is able to supply a valid legal basis for the arrest and imprisonment at the hearing, the judge will simply order the prisoner to be returned to jail. But if the judge discovers that the imprisonment is illegal, he has the power to set the prisoner free. For that reason, the Framers of the American Constitution routinely referred to this legal procedure as the 'Great Writ' because it was considered one of the great safeguards of individual liberty."


Lynch, Timothy, "Doublespeak and the War on Terrorism," CATO Institute (Washington, DC: September 6, 2006), pp. 6-7.