Habeas-corpus definition

hābē-əs
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.
noun
36
7
(law) Any of various writs ordering a person to be brought before a court; specif., a writ requiring that a detained person be brought before a court to decide the legality of the detention or imprisonment.
noun
11
5
The definition of habeas corpus is a legal document that requires someone to be brought before a judge to determine if the person should be held in custody or released.

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.

noun
5
1
The right of a person to obtain such a writ.
noun
4
1
In criminal procedure, a process to challenge the detention of a prisoner; frequently used as a way to attack a conviction in federal court when state appeals have been exhausted.
noun
3
1
Advertisement
(law) A writ to bring a person before a court or a judge, most frequently used to ensure that a person's imprisonment, detention, or commitment is legal.
noun
0
0

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
habeas-corpus
Plural:
habeas corpora, habeas corpuses

Origin of habeas-corpus

  • Middle 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

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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).

    From Wiktionary