Third Degree : The Triple Murder That Shook Washington and Changed American Criminal Justice, Hardback Book

Third Degree : The Triple Murder That Shook Washington and Changed American Criminal Justice Hardback


If you've ever seen an episode of Law and Order, you can probably recite your "Miranda rights" by heart.

But you likely don't know that these rights had their roots in the compelling case of a young Chinese man accused of murdering three of his compatriots in Washington DC in 1919.

A frantic search for clues and dogged interrogations by gumshoes erupted in sensational news and editorial coverage intensifying international pressure on the police to crack the case. Part murder mystery, part courtroom drama, and part landmark legal case, The Third Degree is the true story of the young man's abuse by the Washington police and an arduous, seven-year journey through the legal system that drew in Warren G.

Harding, William Howard Taft, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John W.

Davis, and J. Edgar Hoover. The trial culminated in a sweeping Supreme Court ruling penned by Justice Louis Brandeis that set the stage for Miranda.

Author Scott D. Seligman argues that the importance of the case hinges not on the defendant's guilt or innocence, but on proof that a system that presumes innocence until proven guilty must provide protections against false convictions. Today, when the treatment of suspects between arrest and trial remains controversial, when bias against immigrants and minorities in law enforcement continues to deny them their rights, and when protecting individuals against compulsory self-incrimination is still an uphill battle, this century-old legal spellbinder is a cautionary tale that reminds us how we got where we are today and makes us wonder how far we have really come.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 216 pages, 25 photographs, 7 illustrations
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Military history
  • ISBN: 9781612349947



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also by Scott D. Seligman