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habeas corpus

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noun ha·be·as cor·pus \ˈhā-bē-əs-ˈkȯr-pəs\

Simple Definition of habeas corpus

  • law : an order to bring a jailed person before a judge or court to find out if that person should really be in jail

Full Definition of habeas corpus

  1. 1 :  any of several common-law writs issued to bring a party before a court or judge; especially :  habeas corpus ad subjiciendum

  2. 2 :  the right of a citizen to obtain a writ of habeas corpus as a protection against illegal imprisonment

Examples of habeas corpus

  1. apply for a writ of habeas corpus



Origin of habeas corpus

Middle English, from Medieval Latin, literally, you should have the body (the opening words of the writ)


First Known Use: 15th century



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