Habeas Corpus Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to introduce students to habeas corpus. Students will read a text lesson, watch a video lesson, create a graphic organizer, and create role-play scenarios in which habeas corpus can be enacted.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define habeas corpus.
  • describe several situations in which habeas corpus can be enacted by a detainee.


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic.


  • Begin the lesson by distributing the text lesson What Is Habeas Corpus? - Definition, History, Amendment & Example. As a class, read the text lesson, paragraph by paragraph, and guide discussion as follows:
    • After reading the introduction and first two sections, write the term 'habeas corpus' on the board. Ask students to take a few minutes and write a definition on their own paper. Then, ask for volunteers to share their definition and write a class-consensus definition on the board.
    • Next, read the next two sections. Discuss the following questions:
      • What rights does the writ of habeas corpus protect?
      • When can habeas corpus be enacted?
      • When can habeas corpus not be enacted?
    • Read the remainder of the text lesson. Ask students to create a table using the headings below. They can take a few minutes to fill in their chart, then share their thoughts with a partner.

Process that can be appealed by the writ of habeas corpus Real world examples
  • Next, begin the video lesson Writ of Habeas Corpus & Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Trial. Pause the video at 1:11. As a class, add newly introduced information to the chart students made in the previous portion of the lesson.
  • Continue the video lesson. Pause it again at 3:27.
  • In groups, have students discuss any additions to their charts that must be made. Then, have students think of real-world situations in which the writ of habeas corpus can be used in an appeal.
  • Finish the video lesson.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account