Essay Habeas Corpus and the War on Terror

Submitted By kristine325
Words: 1992
Pages: 8

Habeas Corpus and the War on Terror
Instructor Looney

When an individual is imprisoned they have the right to be brought before a judge to have their case analyzed to determine whether their detained status will be permanent or temporary. This right is called a writ of habeas corpus and it was created in the English legal system, it has now expanded to many nations (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia.2014). A writ of habeas corpus ensures that even if a prisoner is being held silently, that they receive a fair chance to prove their innocence. While an opposing viewpoint states that Congress should not increase habeas corpus rights for criminal enemy combatants, because these rights will make armed warfare more critically dangerous for our soldiers and civilians. Habeas corpus represents the oldest human right that is defined in our history and it should not be manipulated at all. In 1305 William Blackstone (wrote his analysis on the Laws in England during the 18th Century) created the first recorded use of habeas corpus during the ruling of King Edward I. This writ originally stated that its use was to bring a detainee to court in order to testify in a trial that was pending. In the beginning it was a weapon that the courts as well as the king however, it eventually became a form of protection for a person that was against arbitrary imprisonment by the state. “It is thought to have been common law by the time of Magna Carta, which says in Article 39: "No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him except upon the lawful judgment of his peers or the law of the land."(BBC NEWS.2005) These days habeas corpus is sparingly used despite its use in the United States, where it is commonly used by prisoners after conviction. Congress allowed the federal courts to use their power to issue habeas corpus to prisoners who were either in custody or were committed for trial in a court, this became known as the Judiciary Act of 1789.(Federal Judicial Center) Article 1, Section 9, Claus 2 of the United States Constitution declares “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” (The Founders Constitition.2000) Today, habeas corpus is used as a post-conviction solution for a state or federal prisoner who tries to challenge the legitimacy of the operation of the federal laws. Other uses of habeas corpus in the United States include immigration or deportation cases, matters concerning military imprisonment, court proceedings before military commissions, and convictions in military court. It is also used to determine preliminary matters in criminal cases such as; an acceptable basis for detention, removal to a different federal district court, the denial of parole or bail, a claim of double jeopardy, failure to provide a speedy trial or hearing, and the legality of deportation to a foreign country. The writ of habeas corpus was suspended during the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln. Furthermore, President Jefferson Davis suspended habeas corpus in the confederate states of America. During World War II habeas corpus was suspended in the cases concerning people who were of Japanese origin and had relations with German Prisoners that were detained in America. In the recent past, people who were arrested and accused, or if they were suspected of being part of acts involving terrorism, the suspension of habeas corpus has been proposed. Suspension has become a well-known disputed issue; U.S. citizens have the right to protection because habeas corpus is in effect, whereas aliens from a foreign country who are being held at Guatanamo (American Naval base in Cuba) are there without the right of a fair trial. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks and our involvement with the middle east, a few