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U.S. v. Stelmokas

    Brief Fact Summary. Jonas Stelmokas (Appellant) had his naturalization revoked by a U.S. district court, based on the court’s finding that Appellant had been a member of a group that had aided Nazi persecution during World War II, and because he had misrepresented his employment history when he applied for entry into the United States. Appellant appeals the denaturalization order here.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Ancient documents are admissible, under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(16), when the general requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 901(a) and the specific requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 901(b) are met; specifically, in order to be admissible, there must exist, “evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”

    Facts. The government commenced an action under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, seeking a cancellation of Appellant’s certificate of naturalization. The complaint the government filed alleged that Appellant was an officer in the Lithuanian army, and a member of the Schutzmannschaft, a group organized by the Nazis to assist in the persecution of people during World War II.
    In its complaint, the government alleged that Appellant was a voluntary member of the Schutzmannschaft, and that Appellant had voluntarily, “assisted, participated, and acquiesced in the murder and persecution of Jews and other unarmed civilians in Lithuania.”
    In 1949, Appellant participated in an interview with a Displaced Persons Commission (DPC) analyst, in order to be defined a “displaced person” and emigrate to the United States. In that interview, Appellant claimed he had been a teacher and a laborer in the past, but did not admit membership in the Schutzmannschaft, which the DPC regarded as inimical to the United States. Membership in the Schutzmannschaft would likely have precluded Appellant from being allowed to emigrate to the U.S. in the first place.
    Based on the interview and Appellant’s statements to the DPC analyst, the DPC certified Appellant as a “displaced person” in 1949. Later in 1949, Appellant applied for a visa to enter the U.S., and met with an American vice-consul, who approved Appellant’s application. Appellant told the vice-consul the same things he had told the DPC analyst concerning his employment history


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