Habeas for the Twenty-First Century: Uses, Abuses, and the Future of the Great Writ

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 30, 2011 - Law - 255 pages
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For centuries, the writ of habeas corpus has served as an important safeguard against miscarriages of justice, and today it remains at the center of some of the most contentious issues of our time—among them terrorism, immigration, crime, and the death penalty. Yet, in recent decades, habeas has been seriously abused. In this book, Nancy J. King and Joseph L. Hoffmann argue that habeas should be exercised with greater prudence.

Through historical, empirical, and legal analysis, as well as illustrative case studies, the authors examine the current use of the writ in the United States and offer sound reform proposals to help ensure its ongoing vitality in today’s justice system. Comprehensive and thoroughly grounded in a modern understanding of habeas corpus, this informative book will be an insightful read for legal scholars and anyone interested in the importance of habeas corpus for American government.


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Anyone who follows current affairs will be interested in this concise and well-written exploration of habeas corpus, from its earliest applications to the Guantanamo detainees cases. The authors know their subject extremely well, yet make it accessible even to non-lawyers.


Chapter 1 An Introduction to the Writ of Habeas Corpus
Chapter 2 Habeas and Detention without Conviction
Chapter 3 The History of Habeas Review of State Criminal Cases
Habeas and State Prisoners Today
Chapter 5 The Future of Habeas Review of State Criminal Cases
Chapter 6 Collateral Review for Prisoners Convicted of Federal Crimes
Chapter 7 Habeas and the Death Penalty
Chapter 8 The Future of Capital Habeas
Square Peg in a Round Hole
Chapter 10 Habeas for the TwentyFirst Century

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About the author (2011)

Nancy J. King is the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School. Joseph L. Hoffmann is the Harry Pratter Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

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