As protests all around the country and world ramp up and mass arrests have been happening, the term habeas corpus could end up being an incredibly important phrase to know and understand. This is because it is a rule that requires that defendants are able to state their case in court within a certain amount of times (usually 24-48 hours) from the time of detainment. Places like New York City have already started pushing the boundaries of this under the guise that too many are being arrested but it is fundamental to a citizen’s rights to be seen before a judge in a timely manner. Just so you know your rights, here are some basic things to know about Habeas corpus.
How Habeas Corpus Protects You
Habeas corpus protects the rights of citizens in two different ways. The first is it allows a person to have a timely court appearance so that they are not detained for an indefinite amount of time while awaiting their bond hearing. The second is it is required that law enforcement tell you why you are being detained or to release you if there is not just cause. This is important because it holds the government accountable from encroaching on these rights and just being able to arrest and detain anyone for any reason without due process.
The constitution protects it for the most part
In Article 1, section 9 of the constitution, it states, “ The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” During normal times there should never really be a cause for suspension of any kind but 2020 has proved to be dangerous for Habeas Corpus merely because some may argue that the wave of protests happening is a threat to public safety. This of course in itself is dangerous because spin is so prevalent and varying viewpoints can have an effect on how this concept can be enforced in terms of suspension which is why it’s important to be informed and know-how rules like this work.
How Habeas Corpus works during arrest
If you get arrested you have the right to respectfully ask the law enforcement officer what you are being arrested for so that you know exactly why you are being detained and when taken to the jail, if you are held for over 24-48 hours without officially being booked then your lawyer is able to go to a judge and get a writ of Habeas Corpus and request that the law enforcement take you in front of a judge who then can decide whether or not your detainment is lawful.
In the end, habeas corpus is one of the most important pillars of our democracy and ensuring a fair and just system for all. It’s vital that we all keep informed on this so we know are rights even in times of uncertainty.