Origin of habeas corpusMiddle English from L, (that) you have the body
An example of habeas corpus is if you file a petition with the court because you want to be brought before a judge where reasons for your arrest and detention must be shown.
- A writ that a person may seek from a court to obtain immediate release from an unlawful confinement, as when the confinement has occurred through a means that violated the person's constitutional rights.
- The right of a person to obtain such a writ.
Origin of habeas corpusMiddle English from Medieval Latin habeās corpus produce the body (from the opening words of the writ) Latin habeās second person sing. present subjunctive of habēre to have Latin corpus body
(plural habeas corpora)
Latin habeas corpus ad subjiciendum (“You (shall) have the body to be subjected to (examination)”), referring to the body of the person being detained (not the body of a victim, as in corpus delicti).