The Great Writ in the Peach State: Georgia Habeas Corpus, 1865-1965
Donald E. Wilkes Jr.
University of Georgia Law School
Journal of Southern Legal History, Vol. 22, 2014
UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-08
There is a plenitude of scholarly writing on the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus, which is universally recognized as "one of the decisively differentiating factors between our democracy and totalitarian governments."' The overwhelming majority of these scholarly publications are concerned with the writ of habeas corpus as administered in the federal court system. There are far fewer scholarly publications on the writ of habeas corpus as administered in the courts of the State of Georgia, and most of these works are concerned with Georgia habeas corpus as a state postconviction remedy, past and present. Only one scholarly piece, a law review article, provides a comprehensive view of the writ of habeas corpus in Georgia. It covers the time span from 1733 (when the Georgia colony was founded) until 1865 (when the Civil War concluded).
This Article provides a thorough account of the writ of habeas corpus in Georgia during the century after the Civil War, from 1865 to 1965. When this period began, Georgia was in ruins and on the verge of Reconstruction; when the period ended, the state was prosperous and in the midst of a Second Reconstruction. Part I of this Article examines the habeas protections in the Georgia state constitutions of 1865, 1868, 1877, and 1945. Part II explores the various Georgia habeas corpus statutes enacted or in force at one time or another from 1865 to 1965. Part III reviews Georgia habeas corpus practice and procedure during this same time period, and Part IV surveys the Georgia habeas corpus case law during this period.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 69
Keywords: legal history, writ of habeas corpus, criminal law, Georgia, postconviction, criminal procedure, constitutional law
JEL Classification: K14, K41
Date posted: February 27, 2016