Index of "1994 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights"
Index of "Treaties and Legal Issues" ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
U.S. REPORT UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
Article 16 - Recognition as a Person Under the Law
All human beings within the jurisdiction of the
United States are recognized as persons before the
law. Slavery and involuntary servitude were
outlawed in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution, as discussed in greater detail
under Article 8. Aliens are granted basic
constitutional rights and entitled to the protection
of the courts, as discussed under Articles 2 and 13.
The common law doctrine of civil death, which
provided that a convicted felon was deprived of
legal personality and could not perform legal
functions such as entering into contracts, does not
exist today, although prisoners sometimes are not
permitted to vote (see discussion under Article 25).
Federal and state prisoners enjoy a constitutional
right of access to the courts. See McCrary v.
Maryland, 456 F.2d 1 (4th Cir. 1972); McCuiston v.
Wanicka, 483 So.2d 489 (Fla. Ct. App. 1986).
Prisoners frequently file actions in the federal
courts seeking writs of habeas corpus and suing
governmental authorities for alleged violations of
their civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
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