Works by Scott D. Seligman


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

Scott D. Seligman                          

Potomac Books

University of Nebraska Press


Independent Publisher 2019 Book Awards, Gold Medal Winner

American Bookfest 15th Annual Best Book Awards, Finalist
Foreword INDIES 21st Annual Book of the Year Awards, Finalist
Reader Views 2019 Reviewers’ Choice Literary Awards, Finalist


Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Law and Order, or almost any crime drama on American television, can probably recite a suspect's “Miranda rights” by heart. You know - the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc. But what most people don’t know is that these rights had their roots in the compelling case of a young Chinese man accused of murdering three of his countrymen in Washington, DC in 1919.

The nation's capital had never seen anything quite like it: three foreign diplomats with no known enemies assassinated in the city's tony Kalorama neighborhood, and no obvious motive or leads. The Washington police were baffled. But once they zeroed in on a suspect, they held him incommunicado without formal arrest for more than a week until they had browbeaten him into a confession.

Part murder mystery, part courtroom drama and part landmark legal case, the book is the true, but forgotten story of a young man’s abuse by the police and his arduous, seven-year journey through the legal system that drew in Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John W. Davis and even J. Edgar Hoover. It culminated in a landmark Supreme Court ruling penned by Justice Louis Brandeis that set the stage for Miranda v. Arizona many years later.


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 contains important lessons for our time.


Book Launch Video


Watch the video of the launch of The Third Degree at Manhattan's Museum of Chinese in America, sponsored jointly with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations on May 17, 2018.






Other Books

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Murder in Manchuria: The True Story of a Jewish Virtuoso, Russian Fascists, a French Diplomat, and a Japanese Spy in Occupied China

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The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots that Shook New York City

Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money and Murder in New York's Chinatown 

The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo

Three Tough Chinamen

The Cultural Revolution Cookbook

Chinese Business Etiquette

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Justice for the Dead

The Franklin Prophecy

When Jewish Wives Beefed With Butchers and Changed the World

He Was the Father of Anti-Semitic Publishing in America

The Triple Homicide in D.C. That Laid the Groundwork for Americans’ Right to Remain Silent

The Nasty, Little-Known Turf Wars of Chinatown, NYC

Joseph Thoms: Defending America's Chinese

Rediscovered: An Eloquent Chinese Voice Against Exclusion

Everything But Rats and Puppies

Echoes of the Chinese Exclusion Act in Immigration Debate

The Forgotten Story of the First Chinese American

The Hoosier Mandarin

The Night New York's Chinese Went Out for Jews