Published on February 2, 2010 | by LawNews

Professor Eric M. Freedman in Legal History Blog

Professor Eric M. Freedman was featured in the following Legal History Blog post highlighting his forthcoming scholarly work entitled, “Habeas Corpus in Three Dimensions.” The post contains an outline of Professor Freedman’s three dimensions.

AALS Legal History Panel on Habeas Corpus: a report
by Mary L. Dudziak
February 1, 2010


Professor Freedman began by recounting four New England cases of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in which wrongfully imprisoned plaintiffs were released by courts although their filings had not sought writs of habeas corpus. Presenting parallel cases of prisoners who were released through that writ, he argued that for many scholarly purposes to restrict research to writs explicitly labeled “habeas” is too narrow. He suggested that there is often little point in pursuing distinctions among writs in this context both because of the informality of colonial legal practice, and because the question was one on which nothing particularly turned when the issue was a potentially wrongful imprisonment – an issue which led the courts to cut through whatever technicalities they might otherwise have been inclined to enforce.

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