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Hailed as the "great writ of liberty," the writ of habeas corpus protects the American citizenry from arbitrary and wrongful governmental imprisonment. The scope of the protection provided by the writ, however, has never been finally settled during it's almost 200 year existence. This is the result of failure on the part of those analyzing its scope to recognize the complexity of the issues involved and to confront the true issues that underlie its application. In this Article, Professor Chemerinsky discusses what he considers to be the four primary considerations of habeas issues; federalism, separation of powers, the purposes of the criminal justice system, and the nature of the litigation involved. In order to promote continuing dialogue on the habeas doctrine, he provides his views on how these issues should be analyzed in the habeas context.

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Habeas corpus, False imprisonment, Constitutional law

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