A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Convicted Nazi guard Demjanjuk claims US withheld evidence

Lawyers for convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive] filed a request in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio [official website] for a hearing to determine whether the FBI failed to turn over evidence that could have assisted Demjanjuk's case. Demjanjuk was convicted in Germany [JURIST report] in May on more than 28,000 counts of accessory to murder [AP report]. Demjanjuk argues that the US government failed to turn over a 1985 FBI report suggesting that his Nazi ID card used against him at trial could potentially have been a Soviet-made fake. Demjanjuk requested a stay in his trial to investigate the FBI report [JURIST report] but was denied by the trial judge. After his conviction in May, Germany denied a request from Spain to have Demjanjuk extradited [JURIST report] so that he could stand trial in Spain on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The five-year sentence Demjanjuk received in May was less than the six years sought by the prosecution [JURIST report], and he was released after being convicted. Judge Ralph Alt ordered his release because of his advanced age and because the verdict is not final. Demjanjuk's trial, which began [JURIST report] in November 2009, was marked by extensive delay. Last May, the court denied a motion to dismiss the charges [JURIST report] filed by the defense, which argued there was a lack of credible evidence. The court rejected the argument, saying they found the evidence against Demjanjuk to be strong. In October 2009, Demjanjuk was found fit to stand trial after the court rejected appeals relating to his health [JURIST reports], although the court limited hearings to no more than two 90-minute sessions per day. Demjanjuk fought a lengthy legal battle over his alleged involvement with Nazi death camps during World War II. He was deported to Germany after the US Supreme Court [official website] denied his stay of deportation [JURIST report].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.