The Tryal of William Penn



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The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. – ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 2

In Alabama, a man with a long record of violent criminal activity found himself on trial for armed robbery. The trial lasted two days and seemed pretty much slam dunk for the government. Then the jury began to deliberate. And deliberate.

After three hours, they sent a note to the Judge letting him know that they were deadlocked and unlikely to reach a unanimous verdict. after some extensive back and forth, there was one holdout. The Judge decided to take action. eighteen minutes later the Jury returned a unanimous Guilty verdict.

And on appeal, the 11th Circuit, led by the brilliant Judge Ed Crane, overturned the conviction and granted the man’s habeas corpus demand.

Why?

To answer that you have to go back to Article 1 Section 9 and then back to 1670. A man named William Penn (yes, *that* William Penn) decided to push the limits of English law and defy the Crown. Of course, he was arrested and put on “tryal” in the Old Bailey.

What happened next is why Judge Ed Crane granted the motion for habeas relief in an Alabama Armed robbery case in 2019…


Links:

You are There: The Trial of William Penn CBS Radio reenactment

11th Circuit Ruling by Judge Ed Crane: Brewster v Hetzel


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