Definitions for "Habeas"
Short for "habeas corpus," Latin for "You should have the body." This is the process through which persons who are incarcerated apply to federal court to challenge an incarceration that can no longer be directly appealed (also known as a collateral challenge). It arises most commonly in the criminal context, although immigrants who are being detained pending deportation also file for habeas relief. A request for habeas relief is a habeas petition; the person who requests relief is the petitioner; the petition must be filed against the person responsible for holding the petitioner (usually a warden or state corrections official), known as the respondent; and habeas relief usually results in a new trial or, in some circumstances, release of the petitioner.