Habeas Corpus, Latin for “You have the body,” is a mandate requiring that prisoners be brought before the court to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining them. Simply put, it makes a federal judge determine if custody is lawful.
The writ reaches many areas of the law, including custody, immigration proceedings and even quarantines. And, in most cases, habeas has been taught within the confines of other areas of the law.
Professor Lee Kovarsky, who has previously written extensively on the subject and remains an active habeas and capital litigator, argues that it should be taught as its own subject. His new book, co-authored with Brandon L. Garret, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, Federal Habeas Corpus: Executive Detention and Post-Conviction Litigation, covers a variety of habeas applications and details the intricacies of the writ that warrant its inclusion in the law school curriculum as a standalone course.