The term “Habeas Corpus” in Latin literally means “have the body.”

The term is used for a common law writ (writ of habeas corpus) commanding an official holding a person in custody to have that person brought before the court so that the lawfulness of the imprisonment can be determined and the person could be set free if he was held in custody without any legal grounds to do so.

In the United States, it is the constitutionally-guaranteed procedure by which the constitutionality of a state conviction and imprisonment can be tested in a federal court.

Related entries