Habeas Corpus Act


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Related to Habeas Corpus Act: Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, Bill of Rights 1689

Habeas Corpus Act

The Habeas Corpus Act was an English statute enacted in 1679 during the reign of King Charles II. It was subsequently amended and supple-mented by enactments of Parliament that permitted, in certain cases, a person to challenge the legality of his or her imprisonment before a court that ordered the person to appear before it at a designated time so that it could render its decision. The Habeas Corpus Act served as the precursor of Habeas Corpus provisions found in U.S. federal and state constitutions and statutes that safeguard the guarantee of personal liberty.

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Every time a legislature has taken up the writ, whether by Parliament's passage of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, the Constitutional Convention's agreement on the Suspension Clause, or the Reconstruction Congress's passage of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867, the broadening of centralized habeas has not been nearly as much a victory for the individual detainee as one might have hoped.
The political goad for the Habeas Corpus Act can perhaps be assigned to the high-handedness of King Charles II's henchman, Lord Clarendon, who had been impeached in 1667 for (among other charges) having "advised and procured divers of his majesty's subjects to be imprisoned against law in remote islands, garrisons, and other places, thereby to prevent them from the benefit of the law [of habeas corpus], and to produce precedents for the imprisoning of any other of his majesty's subjects in like manner.
The Habeas Corpus Act can only be suspended when there is a war or a terrorist threat.
This kind of habeas corpus originated after the Civil War, when the Reconstruction Congress passed the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867.
Later, in 1679, Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, which protects British subjects from being jailed indefinitely without charges or bail, imprisoned twice for the same offense, and forcibly transported to prisons outside the country.