Habeas Corpus involves the legal action requiring a person under arrest to come before a judge or into court. Under this legal action, the person under arrest has a chance of trial so that detention or acquaintance of a prisoner becomes lawful. Implementing this writ thus enables the proceedings in the legal system of a country to be fair as appropriate . This study will take to explain the evolution of Habeas Corpus in different contexts whereby examples from the US history regarding application of this writ will be discussed. The study will thoroughly analyze the writ to contemporary US situation during the war on terror with respect to persons characterized as enemy or illegal combatants. There will be evaluation of different perspectives of Habeas Corpus as expressed by justices of Supreme Court. This study will address various aspects of Habeas Corpus as applicable in the justice and legal system of a nation.
Historical evolution of Habeas Corpus
Habeas Corpus represents an important right granted to individual in the American society suspected of crimes or other forms of offenses. Within the American context, the writ of Habeas Corpus concerns mandate that requires a prisoner to appear before the court in order to determine if the government has the right to continue detention of the prisoner. The individual held, or his/her representative can petition the court for granting of such a writ . Constitutionally, suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus can occur in cases of rebellion or invasion of public safety. The writ of Habeas Corpus developed in America after finding out that some persons who were innocent could be detained which is against the course of justice. Therefore, the lawmakers developed the writ in order to enable prisoners who considered themselves innocent to have the opportunity to appear before the court or judges to prove their innocence. William Blackstone notes that the first recorded usage of Habeas Corpus was in 1305. This is when the writ of Habeas Corpus began to apply in England. Procedure for issuance of the writ of Habeas Corpus developed because of Habeas Corpus Act 1679. This was due to judicial rulings considered to restrict effectiveness of the writ. Before, this Act was the Habeas Corpus Act 1640 passed to overturn the ruling that the king’s command was sufficient to petition of this writ . Since inception of this writ in England and in the Americas, efficacy within the judicial systems of the countries is evident as a clear procedure determines the lawfulness of the detention of a prisoner.
Examples from the U.S. history of the suspension of Habeas
The United States constitution includes Habeas Corpus procedure in the suspension clause in article 1 section 9. The clause states, “The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it” . The section 9 mentioned here above states, “legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in the Congress of the United States” suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus occurs on very grave cases, which involve rebellion or invasion of the safety of the public. For instance, President Abraham Lincoln took to suspend Habeas Corpus during the civil war. On September 24 1862, he issued a proclamation that suspended the right to writs of Habeas Corpus across all the states of America. The indication is that prisoners of war would not file for trial under this writ. The president did this in order to safeguard the interests of the public and protect the public from hurting due to the war. In October 17 2006, Bush, the then president of America signed a law that suspended the right of Habeas Corpus to individual determined by United States as enemy combatant . The president did this due to need to establish global war on terror. The suspension of the writ during the time of Lincoln and bush was to ensure that the prisoners determined by the United States as enemy combatants did not have the opportunity to appear before the court for judges to rule out their cases. In the present time, suspension of Habeas Corpus is possible when terrorists arrested and detained are responsible for their actions. This would enable safeguarding the invasion of the safety of public.
Relevance of Habeas Corpus to the contemporary U.S. situation
The United States suffered terrorist attacks, which affected safety of the public. Currently, there are terrorist attacks taking place in different places across the globe. As such, it is important to develop a law that clearly states the verdicts to befall any person found guilty of the offense of carrying out a terrorist attack . Habeas Corpus is relevant in the United States context in that the lawmakers should identify the cases that attract suspension of the writ against the specific offenders convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks. If any person is characterized as an enemy combatant or an illegal combatant, then it is important to ensure implementation of justice by detaining them without appeals in order to safeguard the safety of the public. If there is a provision for the writ of Habeas Corpus on persons guilty of terrorist attacks, then this clearly indicates encouragement of lawlessness as people will have the hope of appealing once detained. In order to establish firm war against terrorism, strict laws are necessary to discourage people from executing their terrorism plans. There is no need to offer unlawful enemy combatants the privilege of Habeas Corpus, as their intentions do not favor safety for the public. Unlawful combatants intentionally ignore the rules and take to act out of their will and ill plans . Therefore, if they do what is wrong willfully after knowing the expectations and the right course of action, they should not enjoy the privilege of Habeas Corpus. Instead, they should embrace the due verdict of detention for the specified period.
US Supreme Court interpretation of the right of Habeas Corpus with respect to enemy combatants or illegal combatants
The US Supreme Court interprets the Habeas Corpus writ based on the nature of allegations placed on the individual. The Supreme Court of the right of the writ of Habeas Corpus is that the right should apply to all people regardless of their citizenship as long as their detention is in a place completely controlled by the unites states . This clearly indicates that the Supreme Court is in favor of allowing all the people who would like to file for petition under this writ to take the action. For instance, the United States has complete control of the Guantanamo bay. Based on this it is clear that the persons detained in this facility are under the cover of the constitution of the United States. Therefore, they have the right to enjoy the privilege of this writ. Unless a compelling reason is given to suspend the right to Habeas Corpus, all the people under the US have the right to this writ. The ruling of the Supreme Court therefore indicates that the illegal combatants should undergo trial in order to determine of their detention is lawful and acceptable. Failure to grant the enemy combatants this right compromises the justice system of the country. The authorities need not hold the detainees indefinitely unless they undergo trial in the courts of law . Therefore, according to the US Supreme Court, a fair legal process is necessary for all the people under the control of the United States since they are under the cover of the US constitution.
Evaluation of perspectives
- Role of president as commander in chief
The present is the commander in chief of the armed forces and therefore he should ensure that justice prevails in the armed forces. The president should ensure that all the persons under his command enjoy the right of the writ of Habeas Corpus . The president should ensure that enemy combatants pass through the trial process in order to determine if it is lawful to detain them. The president should issue commands that are fair and justifiable.
- The role of congress
The congress has the duty to determine times when suspension of Habeas Corpus is necessary. The congress should clearly look into the matter that necessitates suspension of Habeas Corpus. It should approve suspension on cases where there is a rebellion or there is invasion of the safety of the public . This would ensure that the congress is competent in carrying out its duty in serving the public. The congress should ensure fairness and justice prevails in this regard.
- The role of Supreme Court
The Supreme Court should ensure that trial of the prisoners bases on the constitutional specifications. It should also ensure that the sentences determined reflect the weight of the offense committed by an individual. This is to ensure that there is justice for all members of the public. The court should follow the philosophy of fairness and justice for all . Terrorist suspects should face trail as appropriate in order to determine if their detention is lawful. The court should ensure that all the people operate under the laws and no one places himself or herself above the law.
- Personal philosophy, values, or ideology
Essentially, it is important to ensure that maintenance of civil liberties. If the civilians act in a manner that violates the laws and the constitutional requirements, the right course of justice is necessary. National security is of paramount importance since without peace operations in the nation will no go smoothly . Therefore, individual interests should not tamper with the course of justice but the appropriate action need proper implementation in order to safeguard the interest of the public.
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