Expert Article Library

Is an Expert Needed?

Case Name: United States v. Zajanckauskas

Link to:

Court: US District Ct. of Mass., First Circuit

Date: March 23, 2006

Type of expert:

Issue: When is an expert necessary?

Summary of case: Vladas Zajanckauskas, a naturalized citizen of the United States was in danger of his citizenship being revoked based, upon his participation in the World War Two operation destroying the Warsaw Ghetto and on certain misrepresentations upon his visa application. The district court found he received his citizenship illegally and revoked it.

Role of the expert: The use of an expert was denied for the purpose of interpreting the Stoop Report to show the defendant was not present in Warsaw at the time of the Warsaw Ghetto destruction. The Stoop Report calculated the average daily deployment number of troops in the area.

Expert analysis: Defendant argued that the district court committed error in interpreting the Stoop Report without the aid of an expert witness. The First Circuit held that the judge as the trier of fact did not need the expert testimony, because the information could have been derived from common sense, common experience, the judge’s own perceptions, or simple logic. The decision to invalidate Zajanckauskas’s citizenship was affirmed.

Summary prepared by J. Price, Student, University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)