Habeas Corpus

What is habeas corpus?

  • Like many expression and motions in the legal field, habeas corpus is a Latin term essentially meaning “hold the body.” A writ of habeas corpus commands the person holding someone to bring the detainee before the court.

Background

  • The writ of habeas corpus is one of the oldest and most important instruments in the Anglo-American legal system, dating back hundreds of years to Medieval England and protected in Article I of the United States Constitution.

Immigration

  • For immigration purposes, a writ of habeas corpus compels U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to produce a detainee before the judge.

Why?

  • Sometimes an individual is arrested by ICE and held without sufficient or any legal basis. Unfortunately, the family members of detainees often do not realize that they have the option of suing for a writ of habeas corpus.
  • A writ of habeas corpus ensures a detainee will not be held without a legal basis, and it is one of the most powerful legal protections in the American judicial system.