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Body and the State, The

Habeas Corpus and American Jurisprudence

Cary Federman

Publication Year: 2006

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.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Chronology of Habeas Corpus

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction: Understanding Habeas Corpus

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pp. 1-20

THIS BOOK TRACES the history of the writ of habeas corpus and its influence on the development of federal-state relations and capital punishment from 1789 to 2004, when the writ was linked by Congress and the Supreme Court to antiterrorism laws and threats to the peace and security of...

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1. Habeas Corpus in the New American State, 1789–1915

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pp. 21-44

THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT era of habeas corpus in American political history extends from the passage of the Habeas Corpus Act in 1867 through 1915, when the Supreme Court denied a writ of habeas corpus to Leo Frank, in the celebrated murder case, Frank v. Magnum.¹ This chapter reviews this first period of the Supreme Court’s habeas corpus jurisprudence with a brief look...

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2. Bodily Inventions: The Habeas Petitioner and the Corporation, 1886

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pp. 45-61

LURKING WITHIN VICTORIAN respectability was the dangerous individual. In 1885, Louis Vivet was diagnosed as the first male multiple personality. Regarding the discovery of new forms of mental illness in the late nineteenth century, Ian Hacking suggests that these innovations were not only scientific. A “feature of a new mental illness is that it embeds itself in a two-headed way...

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3. Habeas Corpus as Counternarrative: The Rise of Due Process, 1923–1953

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pp. 63-94

THIS CHAPTER ANALYZES the development of habeas corpus within the context of a legal system still restrained by, but no longer beholden to, a nineteenth century understanding of federalism.

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4.Confessions and the Narratives of Justice, 1963–1979

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pp. 95-124

A SUDDEN RISE in habeas’ success and a precipitous decline in its status as a means to check unlawful confinement mark this third era in the writ’s jurisprudence. The purpose of this chapter is to understand how these events occurred. To many observers, the Supreme Court in the 1960s broke the ad...

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5. Future Dangerousness and Habeas Corpus, 1982–2002

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pp. 125-155

EACH CHAPTER OF this book is a study of change within time. But the changes in habeas jurisprudence during the 1980s are distinctive from other decades. The Rehnquist Court linked habeas corpus with growing fears that the writ was responsible for releasing the violently guilty. Indeed, by the 1980s, the Court had formally abandoned relying almost exclusively—as it...

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6. Habeas Corpus and the Narratives of Terrorism, 1996–2004

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pp. 157-183

THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, once defined by a statute passed by the same Congress that drafted the Fourteenth Amendment, is now governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). On April 24, 1996, just five days after the first anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, President Bill...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 185-190

FROM THE BEGINNING of this government, the criminal’s body has belonged to the state. That relationship has been markedly unbalanced. The prisoner, with barely any rights, goes up against “the expert adversary, the government”¹ in a battle she cannot win because she is marked as a danger to society even before her petition for relief reaches a federal habeas court; her crime already...

Notes

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pp. 191-234

Index

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pp. 235-242


E-ISBN-13: 9780791482025
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791467039
Print-ISBN-10: 0791467031

Page Count: 254
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: SUNY series in American Constitutionalism
Series Editor Byline: Robert J. Spitzer

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Subject Headings

  • Habeas corpus -- United States.
  • Habeas corpus -- United States -- History.
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