Title Making Habeas Work
Subtitle A Legal History
Author Eric M. Freedman
ISBN 9781479870974
List price GBP 32.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 208
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Combined Academic Publishers
Published in India by Combined Academic Publishers
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Eric M. Freedman is one of the most important legal thinkers in the area of habeas corpus, and this book reaffirms that status. Keeping one foot in the present and the other firmly planted in the past, Freedman shows how, without the perspective of history, modern jurisprudence can and does go wrong. A compelling reformulation of our understanding of habeas based on extensive historical research.”

—Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor Of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College

“This impressive work of scholarship by one of the leading national experts on habeas corpus draws deeply on history to expand and enrich the modern understanding of the writ. The book is an invaluable resource for legal scholars, the judiciary, and the practicing bar. Its insights will almost certainly surprise readers, just as they have surprised and informed us notwithstanding our long immersion in the topic.”

—Randy Hertz and James S. Liebman, co-authors, Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure (LexisNexis 7th ed. & annual supplements)

“Grounding his position in astonishing archival research, Professor Freedman provides a definitive account of habeas corpus as function rather than form. Freedman shows that the legal world in which the Framers of the Federal Constitution enshrined the habeas privilege embraced a collection of practices to check the State’s power to imprison its subjects. In an age when governments have become increasingly punitive, Freedman’s comprehensive and readable work provides timely support for the liberty-protecting function of judges.”

—Lee Kovarsky, Professor of Law, University of Maryland Carey Law School

“Professor Eric Freedman has written a wonderful book explaining the historical and contemporary importance of habeas corpus in protecting liberty. The book is original in its research and also in its analysis, as Professor Freedman explains the role of habeas corpus in a system of checks and balances. This clearly written, thorough examination of habeas corpus is an important contribution to the literature of constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction.”

—Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor, University of California, Berkeley Law School


A reconsideration of the writ of habeas corpus casts new light on a range of current issues

Habeas corpus, the storied Great Writ of Liberty, is a judicial order that requires government officials to produce a prisoner in court, persuade an independent judge of the correctness of their claimed factual and legal justifications for the individual’s imprisonment, or else release the captive. Frequently the officials resist being called to account. Much of the history of the rule of law, including the history being made today, has emerged from the resulting clashes.

This book, heavily based on primary sources from the colonial and early national periods and significant original research in the New Hampshire State Archives, enriches our understanding of the past and draws lessons for the present.

Using dozens of previously unknown examples, Professor Freedman shows how the writ of habeas corpus has been just one part of an intricate machinery for securing freedom under law, and explores the lessons this history holds for some of today’s most pressing problems including terrorism, the Guantanamo Bay detentions, immigration, Brexit, and domestic violence.

Exploring landmark cases of the past - like that of John Peter Zenger - from new angles and expanding the definition of habeas corpus from a formal one to a functional one, Making Habeas Work brings to light the stories of many people previously overlooked (like the free black woman Zipporah, defendant in “the case of the headless baby”) because their cases did not bear the label “habeas corpus.”

The resulting insights lead to forward-thinking recommendations for strengthening the rule of law to insure that it endures into the future.



Part I: Habeas Corpus as a Common Law Writ

Chapter 1. Knowing Habeas Corpus When You See It

Chapter 2. Habeas Corpus With and Without the Writ: Some Illustrative Cases

Chapter 3. The Benefits of a Functional View: The Past Educating the Present

Part II: Habeas Corpus as a Legal Remedy

Chapter 4. Captain Hodsdon’s Legal Entanglements

Chapter 5. The Habeas Corpus Strand of Restraints on Government

Chapter 6. The Damages Actions Strands of Restraints on Government

Chapter 7. The Criminal Prosecution Strands of Restraints on Government

Chapter 8. Interweaving Actions

Chapter 9. The Connecting Strand: The Jury

Chapter 10. The Dual Strand: Legislative Intervention

Part III: Habeas Corpus as an Instrument of Checks and Balances

Chapter 11. Separation of Powers: Allocation of Roles v. Checks and Balances

Chapter 12. Courts in the New Nation: A Tempestuous Beginning

Chapter 13. John Marshall’s Sea Mine: Ex Parte Bollman and the Precatory Suspension Clause

Chapter 14. Courts Weather the Storm

Chapter 15. Boumediene Defuses Bollman 4

Concluding Thoughts


List of Abbreviations



About the Author

About the Author:

Eric M. Freedman is the Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and author of Habeas Corpus: Rethinking the Great Writ of Liberty (NYU Press 2003).

Target Audience:

People interested in Legal History.

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