Writ of Habeas Corpus for John Victor Stoen

By early September 1977, Jeff Haas, the attorney for Grace Stoen, was in Georgetown, Guyana with a copy of the California court order that awarded preliminary custody of John Victor Stoen to his mother. On September 6, he and Guyanese local counsel Clarence Hughes appeared before Justice Aubrey Bishop to ask for a writ of habeas corpus – a legal document that would compel Jim Jones to produce the child in court – so that a determination of John’s legal custody could be made. The hearing was brief, and Justice Bishop issued the writ.

One reason for the brevity of the hearing was that the Temple did not send counsel to contest the matter. Neither did the people of Jonestown accept the writ when Haas tried to deliver it the next day, nor did Jones obey it. On September 8 – the appointed day for John Victor Stoen to appear in court – Justice Bishop told Haas that process of the writ would be accomplished by posting it at three locations in Jonestown.

This is a copy of one of those three posted writs.

Writ of Habeas Corpus for John Victor Stoen, RYMUR 89-4286-U-1-c-1 (31)