The Body and the State: Habeas Corpus and American Jurisprudence

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SUNY Press, 2007 - Law - 254 pages
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The writ of habeas corpus is the principal means by which state prisoners, many on death row, attack the constitutionality of their conviction in federal courts. In The Body and the State, Cary Federman contends that habeas corpus is more than just a get-out-of-jail-free card—it gives death row inmates a constitutional means of overturning a jury’s mistaken determination of guilt. Tracing the history of the writ since 1789, Federman examines its influence on federal-state relations and argues that habeas corpus petitions turn legal language upside down, threatening the states’ sovereign judgment to convict and execute criminals as well as upsetting the discourse, created by the Supreme Court, that the federal-state relationship ought not be disturbed by convicted criminals making habeas corpus appeals. He pays particular attention to the changes in the discourse over federalism and capital punishment that have restricted the writ’s application over time.
 

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Contents

Habeas Corpus in the New American State 17891915
21
Bodily Inventions The Habeas Petitioner and the Corporation 1886
45
Habeas Corpus as Counternarrative The Rise of Due Process 19231953
63
Confessions and the Narratives of Justice 19631979
95
Future Dangerousness and Habeas Corpus 19822002
125
Habeas Corpus and the Narratives of Terrorism 19962004
157
Conclusion
185
Notes
191
Index
235
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About the author (2007)

Cary Federman is Fulbright Scholar at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.

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