The Greatest Criminal Cases
Changing the Course of American Law
by J. Michael Martinez
March 2014, 266pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2868-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-2869-0
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Landmark court cases often have dramatic background stories forgotten over time.

This fascinating book recounts the compelling stories behind 14 of the most important criminal procedure cases in American legal history.

Many constitutional protections that Americans take for granted today—the right to exclude illegally obtained evidence, the right to government-financed counsel, and the right to remain silent, among others—were not part of the original Bill of Rights, but were the result of criminal trials and judicial interpretations. The untold stories behind these cases reveal circumstances far more interesting than any legal dossier can evoke. Author J. Michael Martinez provides a brief introduction to the drama and intrigue behind 14 leading court cases in American law.

This engaging text presents a short summary of high-profile legal proceedings from the late 19th century through recent times and includes key landmark cases in which the court established the parameters of probable cause for searches, the features of due process, and the legality of electronic surveillance. The work offers concise explanations and analysis of the facts as well as the lasting significance of the cases to criminal procedure.


  • Includes 20 photographs of key participants and scenes
  • Explains legal principles through engaging, jargon-free prose
  • Connects the importance of the cases to constitutional criminal procedure
  • Explores the impact of Supreme Court decisions
J. Michael Martinez, PhD, works in Monroe, GA, as corporate counsel with Dart Container Corporation, a manufacturing company. He teaches political science, criminal justice, and public administration courses at Kennesaw State University, the University of South Dakota (online), and the University of Georgia, respectively. His published works include Praeger's Public Administration Ethics for the 21st Century; Life and Death in Civil War Prisons; and Terrorist Attacks on American Soil: From the Civil War Era to the Present. He received a law degree from Emory University, a doctorate in political science from Georgia State University, and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Georgia. His website is
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