Supreme Court Supports Sixth Circuit Judgment

New York Time
October 3, 1994

Excerpts from an article which appeared in the New York Times, datelined October 3, 1994. Written by Stephen Labaton, it appeared on page A18:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 -- The Supreme Court today struck what could be a fatal blow to the Government's ... 17-year effort to banish John Demjanjuk, the World War II figure whom the Justice Department once described as one of the most barbaric Nazi figures of the Holocaust.

Without comment, the Court refused to review a Federal appeals decision that had found that Justice Department lawyers had mishandled the case and fraudulently deceived both the courts and the defense team when they accused Mr. Demjanjuk of being the notorious Ivan the Terrible, a sadistic gas chamber operator at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.

Mr. Demjanjuk's family immediately hailed the decision and said it should enable Mr. Demjanjuk, a 74-year-old retired auto worker who lives in a suburb of Cleveland, to remain permanently in the United States.

"Today's decision makes it absolutely clear that the Department of Justice defrauded the U.S. courts, deceived the American people and destroyed Mr. Demjanjuk's good name," said his son-in-law, Edward Nishnic....

Since Mr. Demjanjuk returned a year ago from death row in Israel to his home here, prosecutors have struggled to find a way to revive what is widely considered the most bungled war-crimes case ever brought by the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit....

The Justice Department has been frustrated about the case, as evidence has mounted suggesting that some officials had doubts about the case and that the prosecutors failed to provide Mr. Demjanjuk and his lawyers with significant information that could have helped his defense. None of the main prosecutors who have been criticized by the appeals court remain at the department, leaving the current team of prosecutors with a messy record.

The prosecutors have lost four times in the Federal courts and have been excoriated by an appeals panel who found that Mr. Demjanjuk was extradited as a result of prosecutorial misconduct. And during the Supreme Court appeal, new evidence emerged to further suggest that prosecutors had purposely failed to tell Mr. Demjanjuk about their private doubts about important aspects of the case.

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