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Download The Body and the State: Habeas Corpus and American by Cary Federman PDF

By Cary Federman

The writ of habeas corpus is the valuable capacity during which country prisoners, many on dying row, assault the constitutionality in their conviction in federal courts. within the physique and the kingdom, Cary Federman contends that habeas corpus is greater than only a get-out-of-jail-free card—it offers demise row inmates a constitutional technique of overturning a jury’s improper choice of guilt. Tracing the heritage of the writ seeing that 1789, Federman examines its effect on federal-state kin and argues that habeas corpus petitions flip criminal language the other way up, threatening the states’ sovereign judgment to convict and execute criminals in addition to frightening the discourse, created by way of the ultimate courtroom, that the federal-state dating ought no longer be disturbed by means of convicted criminals making habeas corpus appeals. He can pay specific realization to the adjustments within the discourse over federalism and capital punishment that experience constrained the writ’s program through the years.

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51 Habeas corpus threatens that judgment. It gives the dangerous classes more than a voice; it gives them a weapon to attack a jury’s psychological determination of guilt and dangerousness. It gives the condemned a language to rebut the charges, convictions, misrepresentations in the same terms that were used against them. Habeas petitions turn legal language upside down and with it, the historical evolution of federal-state relations. This was the Warren Court’s innovation (see chapter 4). But for the Rehnquist Court, only disciplinary institutions can enforce responsible freedom.

Finality as a code word for the administration of the death penalty in habeas corpus cases finds its roots in the Court’s late nineteenth-century habeas cases that molded federalism’s meaning to conform to the ends of criminal justice. More important, though, is that the desire for finality denies the individual a voice in the judgment of his own fate. Finality elevates jury determinations of guilt and lowers Fourteenth Amendment due process claims. Not unlike today’s Supreme Court, cost effectiveness determined full citizenship in the post–Civil War industrial regime, with concerns for personal safety running a close second.

The Senate wanted corporations protected by the federal courts. During a period of congressional inaction to relieve the courts of jurisdictional burdens, the Supreme Court’s nineteenth-century rulings on property and habeas corpus helped establish a pattern of legislative forbearance and judicial autonomy that has lasted until the present time. By creating a forum for the articulation of constitutional rights in federal courts, Congress in 1867 thought it had eliminated the need for congressional intervention and oversight at the state level.

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