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United States v. Kairys

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
782 F.2d 1374 (1986)


Facts

In 1980, Kairys (defendant) was charged and convicted of several crimes involving his concealment of his work as a Nazi camp guard when obtaining his US citizenship. During trial, the government submitted into evidence a SS identity card issued during the 1940s and obtained from the German SS records in the Soviet Union archives. Kairys objected to the card’s admission, arguing that it was not authentic. Kairys claimed that the Soviet Union regularly released forged documents as part of its propaganda campaigns, that the thumbprint ink on the SS card was unusual and could not have been placed with mechanical means, and that the government did not establish a chain of custody for the card. A government witness testified that the only likely way that Kairys’s thumbprint could have gotten onto the card was by Kairys pressing his thumb on it. The government provided evidence that the card was printed on fiber that was consistent with documents more than 20 years old. The trial court overruled Kairys’s objections and admitted the card. Kairys appealed his conviction, arguing that the SS card was improperly admitted because it had not been properly authenticated.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cummings, C.J.)

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