A reading list for the well-read FBI G-man, 1936 (or so)
The early 20th century saw a rising tide of criticism against certain traditional methods used by police to catch killers and crooks, especially the too-easy reliance by unprofessional local law enforcers on unconstitutional and often barbaric third degree interrogations. In response, enlightened police administrators and policemen joined lawyers, scientists, and others in pushing for adoption of “scientific policing,” the contemporary term for what we now generically call CSI.
FBI histories and biographies of J. Edgar Hoover uniformly credit the Bureau’s longtime Director with an early and sustained commitment to “scientific policing.” In 1924, he established a nationwide fingerprint clearinghouse (the Fingerprint Division) to assist state and local police catch criminals who ranged across jurisdictional lines. Eight years later, he authorized Charles A. Appel to set up the Bureau’s first criminal forensics laboratory. While scientific expertise and the responsibility for making fingerprint and forensic determinations resided at FBI headquarters (the so-called “Seat of Government”), Hoover intended that his special agents in the field stay current with the latest advances in scientific policing. He assured this through appropriate new agent and refresher training courses. Beyond this, Hoover “strongly encouraged” the Special Agents in Charge (SACs) of the various field offices to subscribe to a new forensics periodical, American Journal of Police Science. Articles discussing the FBI’s own criminological efforts under the names of Hoover, other executives, and SACs appeared in various legal and other journals.
Although Hoover’s commitment to scientific criminology was genuine, his public opposition to the third degree was on occasion more a matter of lip service. His policy appears to have been to avoid the third degree, except when its use appeared essential to solving a high priority crime, such as the Kansas City Massacre or the kidnapping of June Robles. In these instances, agents carried out illegal interrogations in circumstances likely to remain secret and deniable.
The bibliography below includes a sample of articles and books available to FBI “G-men” in the mid-1930s on scientific policing and third degree topics, as well as articles published under FBI authorship and related publications intended for the general public.
Chafee Jr., Zachariah, Pollak, Walter H., and Stern, Carl S., The Third Degree. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1969 (reprint of National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1931).
Cooke, T.G., Fingerprints – Secret Service Crime Detection. Chicago: Fingerprint Publishing Association, 1930.
Cooper, Courtney Riley, Ten Thousand Public Enemies: An Inside View of the Underworld. Boston, Little, Brown, and Co., 1935.
Culver, Dorothy Campbell, comp., Bibliography of Crime and Criminal Justice, 1927-1931. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1934 (reprinted by Patterson Smith, 1969).
—–, Bibliography of Crime and Criminal Justice, 1932-37. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1939 (reprinted by Patterson Smith, 1969).
Lavine, Emanuel H., The Third Degree: A Detailed and Appalling Exposé of Police Brutality. New York: Vanguard Press, 1930.
May, Luke S., Crime’s Nemesis. Landisville PA: Coachwhip Publications, 2011 (first published 1936).
Millspaugh, Arthur C., Crime Control by the National Government. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972 (reprint of 1937 Brookings Institution edition).
Osborn, Albert S., Questioned Documents, Second Edition. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1929.
Sullivan, Edward Dean, The Snatch Racket. New York: Vanguard Press, 1932.
Articles (many of these are available at www.Heinonline.org)
K. A. Aickin, “Kidnapping at Common Law,” 1 Res Judicatae 130 (1935-1936).
Herman C. Beyle and Spencer D. Parratt, “Measuring the Severity of the Third Degree,” 24 Am. Inst. Crim L. & Criminology 485 (1933-1934).
Horace L. Bomar, Jr., “The Lindbergh Law,” 1 Law & Contemp. Probs. 435 (1933-1934).
James P. Burke, “The Argot of the Racketeers,” The American Journal of Police Science (AJPS), Vol. 2, No. 5 (Sep. – Oct., 1931), pp. 419-427.
Edgar W. Camp, et al, “Report of Committee on Lawless Enforcement of Law, American Journal of Police Science (AJPS), 1:6:575 (1930).
Joseph P. Chamberlain, “Criminal Statutes for 1932,” 19 A.B.A. Journal, 181-185 (1933).
Joseph P. Chamberlain, “Criminal Statutes for 1933,” 20 A.B.A. J., 219-220 (1934).
E.P. Coffey, “The Importance of Scientific Analysis of Evidence in the Prosecution of Crime,” 11 Ind. L.J. 105 (1935-1936).
FBI, Uniform Crime Reports (annual).
Hugh A. Fisher and Matthew F. McGuire, “Kidnapping and the So-called Lindbergh Law,” 12 N.Y.U. L.Q. Review 646 (1934-1935).
Joseph L. Holmes, “Crime and the Press,” 20 Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 6 and 246 (1929-1930).
J(ohn) Edgar Hoover, “Local Law Enforcement in Relation to National Crime, Address of J. Edgar Hoover… before the Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association of Oklahoma, at Tulsa, Oklahoma, January 13, 1936,” 13 Dicta 141 (1935-1936).
—-, “Scientific Methods of Criminal Detection in the Judicial Process, 4 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1 1935-1936.
—-, “Some Legal Aspects of Interstate Crime,” 21 Minn. L. Rev. 229 (1936-1937).
—-, “The Work of the Division of Investigation, United States Department of Justice,” Tenn. L. Rev., XII:3, 149-157 (April 1935).
—-, “Science in Law Enforcement,” 15 Neb. L. Bull. 219-226 (1936-1937).
Fred E. Inbau, “Scientific Evidence in Criminal Cases: Part II: Methods of Detecting Deception,” 24 Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology, 1140-1158 (1933-1934).
—-, “Scientific Evidence in Criminal Cases: III: Finger-Prints and Palm Prints,” 25 Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology, 500-516 (1934-1935).
—–, “Technique in Tracing the Lindbergh Kidnaping Ladder,” 27 Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology, 712 (1936-1937).
Edwin R. Keedy, “The Third Degree and Legal Interrogation of Suspects,” 85 U. Pa. L. Rev. 761 (1936-1937).
Harold Nathan, “The Ideal Law Enforcement Officer and the Ideal Law Enforcement Organization,” Address given to the Pacific Coast Institute of Law and Administration of Justice, September, 1934, 14 Or. L. Rev., 327 (1934-1935).
Albert S. Osborn, “Progress in Proof of Handwriting Documents,” 24 Am. Inst. L. & Criminology 118 (1933-1934).
—-, “The Layman Looks at the Law in Many Courts,” 25 Am. Inst. L. & Criminology 428 (1934-1935).
—-, “Suspected Document Diagnosis Hospital,” 27 Am. Inst. L. & Criminology 442 (1936-1937).
“Police Science Notes: Federal Technical Laboratory,” 25 Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 171 (1934-1935).
H.H. Reinecke, “Ways in Which It Is Possible for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Assist State Law Enforcement Officers,” 11 Ind. LJ 41 (1935-1936).
James Clark Sellers, “The Handwriting Evidence Against Hauptmann,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1931-1951), Vol. 27, No. 6 (Mar. – Apr., 1937), pp. 874-886.
—-, “Science and Advancements in the Examination of Questioned Documents,” AJPS, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Mar. – Apr., 1932), pp. 110-123.
Will Shafroth, ed., “Seek Facts on Criminal Law from the Bar,” 20 A.B.A.J., 37-39 (1934)
Will Shafroth, ed., “Criminal Law Enforcement in Our Cities, 20 A.B.A.J., 532-534 (1934)
John Barker Waite, “Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement,” 30 Mich. L. Rev. 54 1931-1932.
C. Ives Waldo Jr., “Recent Criminal Cases,” 26 Am Inst. Crim L. & Criminology 762 (1935-1936).
A.F. Wilco, “America’s ‘G-Men,’” 2 Metropolitan Police C.J. 51 ((1936).
Leon R. Yankwich, “The Lawless Enforcement of Law,” 9 S. Cal L. Rev. 14 (1935-1936).