Friday, April 28, 2006

Fiction that makes you think about habeas corpus

Fear of terrorism clearly has made much of the public complacent about detention without judicial review. It’s hard for the issue to get the public traction it deserves when so many people think that if someone is imprisoned there’s probably a good reason for it and that it’s better to be safe than sorry, legal niceties be damned.

Can the emotional power of fiction be enlisted to break through this complacency and make people think? The Campaign for the American Reader thinks so. They’re compiling a list of works of fiction that illustrate what's at stake in the debate over habeas corpus. Titles they’ve compiled so far range from classics like Kafka’s “The Trial,” Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon” and Edward Everett Hale's "The Man Without A Country” to more contemporary examples. Scott Turow put in a plug for his novel, “Reversible Errors,” which centers on a habeas proceeding for a man on death row, brought when another man confesses to the crime.

Go to America Reads to scroll down for more examples -- and to add your own.

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