IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
IN THE MATTER OF THE :
EXTRADITION OF ROBERT BROWN, JR. : Misc. No. 07-651 BPG
OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND :
ON REQUEST OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC :
ROBERT BROWN, JR.’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW OPPOSING
REVOCATION OF RELEASE CONDITIONS AND EXTRADITION
Robert Brown, Jr., through counsel, submits this memorandum of law opposing the
Government´s request for revocation of his release conditions and extradition to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Robert Brown has been under investigation since 1984 for a rape and murder he did not
commit. This case is the second attempt by the Federal Republic of Germany to obtain extradition.
Although a Certification and Order of Extraditabilty was issued in 1985, in February 1990 the
Germans withdrew their demand for extradition because they deemed their evidence insufficient to
justify Mr. Brown’s arrest and to support his conviction. The Germans made a second extradition
request via diplomatic note dated August 4, 2006, which led to the filing of a complaint in this Court
on February 27,2007.
In this case, the evidence offered by the Government in support of the Germans’ request for
extradition is as weak as it was in 1990, when the first extradition request was withdrawn. Most of
the evidence cast as “new” by the Government was considered – and found to be unreliable – by the
Public Prosecutor´s office in December 1989. Evidence produced after that date, including
additional DNA reports, a supplemental report of fiber examination, and a recent, self-serving
affidavit by the Public Prosecutor, cannot alter the conclusion this Court must surely reach: that
although Robert Brown may have known and been intimate with the victim, Nicola Stiel, there is
no evidence whatsoever that he raped or killed her on August 4,1984.
The tragedy of this case – beyond the victim’s loss of life – is that the accusations against Mr.
Brown have nearly consumed him. As the Court is aware, he achieved extraordinary success
following his release from prison in 1992. See Petition for Robert Brown’s Release (Paper 13). He
earned a college degree in psychology and various professional certifications, was an exemplary
employee at three property management companies, and spent many hours volunteering in his
community. When he was arrested on March 8, 2007, he was terminated from a good job as a
maintenance man at Henderson Webb. He lost his apartment and his truck and was unable to pay
his debts. He was vilified in the media and shunned by his friends. He was locked away at
Supermax until October 3, 2007 . And when he was finally released, it was to his sister’s basement.
For much of the time since then, he has been on electronic monitoring, unable to step outside the house. He is a burden to his family members, who must support him. He has not received
medical care for a serious heart condition because of his poverty. His depression, fueled by the
delays in this case, carried him to the brink of suicide in late January of this year. At that time, he
was admitted to Sinai Hospital and was referred for treatment by a psychiatrist and social worker.
Notwithstanding regular counseling appointments and medication, his condition has not improved.
The only thing sustaining Mr. Brown is the hope that his ordeal will end finally with this Court, and
that he will be able to restore his good name.
II. THE LEGAL STANDARD
The judiciary’s role in extradition cases is prescribed by statute and provides an “independent
review” of the actions of the executive branch. Martin v. Warden, 993 F.2d 824, 828 (11th Cir.
1993). The Extradition Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 3181-3186) requires the court “to determin[e] an
individual’s eligibility to be extradited,” that is, “whether a crime is extraditable under the relevant
treaty and whether probable cause exists to sustain the charge.” Vo v. Benov, 447 F.3d 1235,1245
(9th Cir.), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 935 (2006). Section 3184 of the Act provides in pertinent part:
Whenever there is a treaty of convention for extradition
between the United States and any foreign government . . . , any
justice or judge of the United States, or any magistrate judge
authorized to do so by a court of the United States . . . may, upon
complaint made under oath, charging any person found within his
jurisdiction, with having committed within the jurisdiction of any
such foreign government any of the crimes provided for by such
treaty or convention . . . , issue his warrant for the apprehension of the
person so charged, that he may be brought before such justice, judge,
or magistrate judge, to the end that the evidence of criminality may
be heard and considered. . . . If, on such hearing, he deems the
evidence sufficient to sustain the charge under the provisions of the
proper treaty or convention . . . , he shall certify the same, together
with a copy of all the testimony taken before him, to the Secretary of
State, that a warrant may issue upon the requisition of the proper
authorities of such foreign government, for the surrender of such
person, according to the stipulations of the treaty or convention; and
he shall issue his warrant for the commitment of the person so
charged to the proper jail, there to remain until such surrender shall
Upon receipt of an extradition request by a foreign state, the State Department makes a
threshold determination that the request falls within the scope oft he treaty before turning the matter over to the U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Attorney, then acting as the agent of the foreign government, files a complaint seeking an arrest warrant and a certificate of extradition under 18 U.S.C. § 3184.
The statutory standard of review, whether there is “evidence sufficient to sustain the charge
under the provisions of the proper treaty or convention,” 18 U.S.C. § 3184, has been uniformly
interpreted to mean the probable cause standard used in federal preliminary hearings. Hoxha v. Levi,
465 F.3d 554, 561(3d Cir. 2006). The standard is met only if there is “competent evidence to justify
holding the accused to await triaI.” Haxhiaj v. Hackman, 528 F.3d 282, 287 (4th Cir. 2008)
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). The Government must introduce “evidence
sufficient to cause a person of ordinary prudence and caution to conscientiously entertain a
reasonable belief of the accused’s guilt.” Coleman v.Burnett, 477F.2d1187,1202(D.C.Cir. 1973).
Mr. Brown does not challenge this Court’s authority to conduct an extradition proceeding,
or its jurisdiction over him. Nor does he dispute that a bilateral extradition treaty exists between the
United States and Germany or that the offenses of rape and murder meet the standard for dual
criminality (that is, they are punishable under the laws of the U.S. and Germany by imprisonment
for at least one year) and are thus extraditable. Mr. Brown’s sole challenge to extradition is that the
Government has failed to proffer sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that he raped and
murdered Nicola Stiel in 1984.
The Government’s evidence comprises five key components: (1) the victim’s diary, (2)
witness statements, (3) the autopsy report, (4) sperm traces recovered from the victim’s pants, and
(5) evidence linking the victim to Mr. Brown’s car and the car to the crime scene. Each of these will
be discussed in turn. Independently and collectively, they are insufficient to warrant a reasonable
belief in Mr. Brown’s guilt.
A. The Victim’s Diary
The Government relies upon an August 2, 1984 entry in Nicola Stiel’s diary1 to establish that
1 The Government has not introduced the diary into evidence.
the victim knew Robert Brown and was likely with him when she was killed. The entry states that
Ms. Stiel shared a meal with a black American named Robert on August 1, 1984 and was planning
to meet him again on Friday, August 3.
Ms. Stiel was a nursing apprentice at the Diakonie [Hospital] in Bad Kreuznach. July 31 was
her first night at the hospital campus, and she was having difficulty adjusting:
My first night at Diakonie Bad Krreuznach. . . . I´m disappointed.
Today was a terrible day. I cried all day long. I just couldn´t control
my nerves. . . . Tonight, I immediately went to the Tea Room and
just introduced myself to someone and went to have a beer with him. (who ist this)
Then I felt better. . . . I have to cry. I wouldn´t have thought that it
would be so hard for me to leave home. I love them. I´m going to try
to go out every night. I wonder if I can endure this?
See Tab1 (diary entries). There is no evidence that the man with whom Ms.Stiel drank beer
was Robert Brown. On August 2, Ms.Stiel wrote the entry upon which the Government relies.
My second day of work. I’m trying to stand up for myself. . . .
Yesterday I had another blackout; a crying spell during lunch. I was
scolded that I shouldn,t put my elbows on the table when I eat. . . .
Last night, I had dinner with a black American and then dinner [sic].
He paid for everything. It was nice. The discotheque was great, lots
of lights. I,m going to see him – Robert – again on Friday. (Id.)
Ms. Stiel made a further entry dated August 3:
Tonight, I had to ring the doorbell at midnight because Doris had
taken my key and I couldn’t find it. How embarrassing. Robert
wanted to give me a tape recorder. We were drinking champagne. I
smoked a lot. When the doctor was listening to my lungs, he said that
it sounded like chronic bronchitis. Give it up. I don’t understand
Robert. He is so different from me. (Id.)
These journal entries do not offer any insight into Ms.Stiel´s plans for the weekend and do
not state that she was planning to meet “Robert” again. They do suggest that she was trying, but
having trouble, adapting to the house rules and her new routine. On August 3, for example, she
wrote that she had been reprimanded for rules violations, that she hoped for responsibilities beyond
washing dishes in the kitchen, and that she was different from the other interns, who were “too eager to adapt.” See Tab 1.
(… sprited nature, …. that people should follow the rules, and obey autority.)
In I 989, the German police had evidence that Ms. Stiel intended to go from work to her home in Mengerschied on August 4 to attend a party given by one of her classmates. See Tab 2 (Report of the District Attorney’s Office at the Frankfur/Main District Court dated December 20, 1989
(hereinafter, the “1989 Report”)) at 8. She checked at the Bad Kreuznach train station for buses or
trains to Mengerschied in the afternoon of August 4. Id. Finding none, she attempted to hitchhike
and was spotted at various points on Bundesstraße 41 west of Bad Kreuznach. Id. She was last seen
at Kreisstraße 20 between Pferdsfeld and Sobernheim, approximately 25 kilometers from Bad
Kreuznach . Id. ln the words of the German authorities, “This raises the critical question as to how
the victim got from this remote area into Robert Brown’s car and/or how contact to the subject was
established from said remote location.” Id- at 8-9.
B. Witness Statements
The witness statements relied upon by the Government include (1) a report of an interview
of Dana Farrington, dated September 17, 1984 (Gov’t Exh. 3); (2) a report of an interview of Kevin
Sheridan, dated October 2, 1984 (Gov’t Exh. 3); (3) a report of an interview of Arnold Winder
conducted by the FBI, dated September 25, 1985 (Gov’t Exh. 2); and (4) a transcript of an interview
of Mr. Winder dated December 1, 1988 (Gov’t Exh. 2). The first two documents establish at most
that Mr. Brown knew the victim or a woman resembling the victim and wanted to be intimate with
her. The Winder documents do not constitute credible evidence and should be excluded from this
Court’s consideration, in significant part because the witness recanted.
1. The Farrington Interview
Dana Kathleen Farrington was interviewed by the Hesse State Criminal Police on September
17, 1984. Ms, Farrington was serving in the U.S. Army and stationed at Bad Kreuznach. She met
Robert Brown in a bowling alley through a friend on July 7, 1984. She stated that Mr. Brown drove
a white Volkswagen Golf and attempted to sell the car to her. She further told police that on
Thursday, July 26, Mr. Brown “came to Minick Barracks with a blonde girl in his car.” Farrington
Interview Notes (Gov’t Exh. 3) at 5 (emphasis added). She said she observed the girl sitting in the
car through her window and described her as having “curly, dark brown hair.” Id. (emphasis
added). The difference in description was never explained.
The interviewer then showed Ms. Farrington a photograph of Nicola Stiel. Ms. Farrington
apparently stated2 that the girl in the picture was more attractive than the girl she saw in the car, but
“from the individual parts of the face and features there was a large likeness.” Id. Upon further
interrogation, Ms. Farrington stated that her observations may have occurred the week after July 27
“towards the end of the week.” Id. at 5-6. She said that Mr. Brown once told her about the “blonde
girl” who was the passenger of the car (although she did not recall Mr. Brown telling her the girl,s
name). She last saw Mr. Brown on Sunday, August 5 between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Id. at 6.
The Germans evaluated Ms. Farrington’s statement in the 1989 Report and found it “a bit shaky.” Tab 2 at 7.
Originally, she stated that she had seen the girl in Brown’s car on July
26, 1984, i.e., a date on which, according to the victim´s own diary,
the subject and the victim did not even know each other yet. This
means that the witness was not at all sure about the date.
Furthermore, according to information provided by other witnesses,
2 A verbatim transcript is not available.
the subject had contacts to many German girls, one of whom has been
described as looking very similar to Nicola Stiel. Thus, a mix-up
between the victim and said other girl cannot be ruled out.
Id. Not only is the statement internally inconsistent, with responses prompted by the examiner, but
also it does nothing to implicate Mr. Brown in the rape and murder of the victim.
2. The Sheridan Interview
Like Dana Farrington, Kevin Sheridan was interviewed by the Hesse State Criminal Police
on October 2, 1984. Mr. Sheridan contacted the police after seeing a wanted poster in connection
with the murder on September29, 1984. Sheridan Interview Notes (Gov’t Exh. 3) at2. He said that
on August 1, 1984, he had a discussion with Robert Brown in the Century Club, during which Mr.
Brown told him he had met a young German girl with brown hair who was still a virgin. ld. at 3.
Mr. Brown also told Mr. Sheridan that he wanted to “jump her bones” and that he had a date with
the girl that day. Id, Mr. Sheridan was shown a photograph of Nicola Stiel and said he had never
seen the girl. Id. at 5. The Germans rely on these statements to establish that Robert Brown was the
person named in the victim’s diary. But they do not provide any evidence that Mr. Brown was with
Ms. Stiel three days later on August 4, or that he raped or murdered her.
3. The Winder Statements
The Government relies upon two documents, (1) the typewritten summary of an unknown
author describing interviews occurring between September 18, 1984 and September 18, 1985, and
(2) a Verbatim Statement of Arnold Winder taken December 1, 1988 at the Federal Building in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Both documents are found within Government Exhibit 2.
The first document – the summary – describes various statements made by Arnold Winder,a.k.a. Stacey Armstrong, on July 23,1985, August 2,1985, and September 5, 1985. Winder was an
inmate serving a 15-month sentence at the York County Prison for receiving stolen property.
Summary (Gov’t Exh. 2) at2. He was also awaiting trial on burglary charges in Lancaster County.
Id. Although the statements are portrayed as a rolling confession by Mr. Brown, closer review
suggests that Winder was simply using information obtained by Brown in the course of the prior
extradition case to bargain down his charges or sentence.
The sequence of events supports this theory. According to the summary, Mr. Brown was
transferred into a cell with Winder on July 5, 1985. Id. at 5. That was the same day he received
notice of his extradition hearing in Harrisburg. Id.at 2. On July 6, Winder and another inmate,
Robert Murray, told a supervisor that Mr. Brown “was acting strange and crazy and had written a
letter that he was going to harm himself in some way.” Id. at 5. The letter in fact was a suicide note
to Mr. Brown’s family, which indicated that he had saved all of his sleeping pills and was planning
to take them. Mr. Brown was clearly distraught over his pending extradition proceeding: “I am getting ready to leave and I know that I won´t ever see you all again, because I have nobody working with or for me and the German´s [sic] don´t care about American´s [sic] anyway.” Id. at 6.
On July 10, after a hearing on the case, Magistrate Judge Andrew Smyser in the Middle
District of Pennsylvania signed an extradition order. See Gov’t Exh. l. On July 23, Winder was
interviewed by the FBI and local authorities and claimed that Mr. Brown confessed to choking a
reddish-haired girl named Cole or Nicole because she was a prostitute and demanded money after
they had sex. Summary (Gov’t Exh. 2) at 1,4. Winder claimed Brown said he sat with the victim
for about one-half hour, put her body in the woods, then went from Hanau to Bad Kreuznach and
then to the Embassy the next day to get his passport for his return to the United States. Id.
On August 2, 1985, Winder drafted a letter to an Assistant United States Attorney in
Harrisburg adding to his earlier statements. Id. at 7 . For example, he added that Brown told him the
car was a white VW Golf hatchback [Winder omitted this fact in his interview “fot personal
reasons”], that the rape occurred in the rear seat of the car, and that Nicola Stiel had been beaten and choked in the same area where her body was found. Id. With respect to Brown’s supposed claim
that the victim was a prostitute, Winder stated. that “this was conjecture on his part and he did not believe the statement.” Id.
On September 5, 1985, Winder re-contacted the FBI to furnish additional information:
Winder stated that after the initial contact with him on July 23, 1985,
he had further contact with Robert Brown during which time Brown
made further unsolicited comments about a woman by the name of
Nicola Stiel who was killed in Germany in 1984. Winder stated that
he could not say whether the comments by Brown were true inasmuch
as he feels that Brown does lie. Winder stated that Brown has gone
from first denying any knowledge of the woman’s death in Germany
to the point of later talking about details of the incident.
Id. From this report, one might infer that Brown had made no confession prior to July 23. And
many of the “details of the incident” related by Winder were known to Brown only as a result of the
The woman’s name was Nicoli [sic] Stiel and she was a virgin. She
died on August 4, 1984. Brown stated to Winder that if he is
convicted of rape, he could get a minimum of two years and if
convicted of murder, he could get life. Brown was born on April 18,
1960, in Mooresville, Pennsylvania. Nicola Stiel was undressed and
beaten and Brown threw her pants out of the white VW. Nicola Stiel
had brown hair. Brown left the car at the Frankfurt, Germany
airport and it was discovered on August 27,1984. Brown left
Germany on August 9,1984. Brown had type A blood and Nicola
Stiel had type A blood. Stiel was raped on the back seat of the white
VW and a blanket which was in the car blew the case open against
Brown. Brown was supposed to take Stiel out on a Friday night for
a date. Stiel, at the time Brown was with her, was wearing a tank top
and pants. (Id)
Winder´s statements are unreliable for several reasons. First, the statements are not a
verbatim record of interviews. As such, it is impossible to determine what statements are
attributable to Winder. The Germans reached the same conclusion in the 1989 Report:
The information provided by the cell mate is completely unsuitable
as evidence in the present form. First of all, there is the form of the
U.S. interview record and the way it was recorded. U.S. interview
records are in indirect speech, which means that the question and the
answer of the person being questioned are not clearly defined.
Tab 2 at 7-8. It seems unusual that the Government is proffering evidence that the Germans
previously had deemed unreliable and inadmissible at a trial.
Second, Winder was candid that he was supplying information to the FBI in the Brown case
and in other cases for his own personal benefit and therefore had a motivation to fabricate or
embellish his story. “I was negotiating for ulterior motives for my gain initially.” Verbatim
statement of Arnold winder dated December 1, 1988 (Gov’t Exh’ 2) at 13.
Third, at the time conversations between Mr. Brown and Winder allegedly occurred, Brown had already been interviewed by the German authorities and FBI and was in the middle of extradition
proceedings. What Winder packaged as a “confession” was likely Brown sharing information about
the German investigation, not his own conduct. The Germans correctly noted in the 1989 Report
that Winder`s “alleged observations relate to the time period after the first interrogation of … Brown
on June 17, 1985” [by the German authorities and FBI] and “the information provided … does not
distinguish what [Brown] told him after that day from his own knowledge, or what he told him from
the reproaches by the officers conducting the interview.” Tab2 at 7-8. Winder confirmed that Mr.
Brown first started speaking with him about the case after Mr. Brown had received information about the case.
I think the first time he mentioned anything – Somebody had been to
see him. I don’t know who it was. It could have been somebody
from the FBI. It could have been an attorney or it could – I don’t
know who it was that came to see him. I don’t remember now. But
when he came back from that interview, you know, that’s when he
started saying that – you know, what was on his mind and he needed
to know information and certain things. That’s how it started, the
information process started about this particular case here. Somebody
had came to see him and it made him nervous.
Verbatim Statement (Gov’t Exh.2) at9.
Significantly, when a Baltimore Sun reporter tracked down Winder for an interview on March
9, 2007, Winder “vehemently denied . . that [Brown] bragged to him about committing the crime,”
denied knowing Brown, and denied giving an interview at the federal building in Harrisburg in 1988.
“Ex-inmate says suspect didn´t confess to him,” Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2007 (Gov´t Exh. 2). If
Winder is unwilling to acknowledge knowing Brown, much less stand by his claim that Brown
confessed to the crimes, then the proffered statements are not reliable and do not support a finding
of probable cause.
C. The Autopsy Report
An autopsy of Nicola Stiel was performed on August 6, 1984. The autopsy report is located
within Government Exhibit 3. Examination of the victim’s genitalia revealed the following:
At the request of the family these lines were removed. ………
Autopsy Report (Gov’t Exh. 3) at 4. The examiners later described the defect as …………” Id. at 8. They concluded
that the defect was caused by brute force. Id. at 2. However, “[w]hether this was caused by an erect
penis, insertion of fingers or objects cannot be distinguished due to the lack of characteristic injury
traces.” Id. One such “characteristic injury trace” was semen inside the vagina. There was none.
In fact, there is no evidence that Robert Brown actually had intercourse with the victim.
The Germans have charged Mr. Brown with a violation of Section 177 of the German
Criminal Code. The 2006 version of the statute provides in pertinent part as follows:
(1) Whoever coerces another person:
1. with force,
2. by threat of imminent danger to life or limb, or
3. by exploiting a situation in which the victim is unprotected
and at the mercy of the perpetrator’s influence,
to suffer the commission of sexual acts of the perpetrator or a third
person on himself or to commit them on the perpetrator or a third
person shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year.
(2) In especially serious cases, the punishment shall be imprisonment
for not less than two years. An especially serious case exists, as a
1. the perpetrator completes an act of sexual intercourse with
the victim or commits similar sexual acts on the victim, or allows
them to be committed on himself by the victim, which especially
degrade the latter, especially if they are combined with penetration of
the body (rape);….
Even crediting the examiners’ conclusion that the victim’s “superficial mucous membrane defect”
was the product of “brute force,” it is far from certain that coercion was employed in the commission
of a sexual act. The autopsy report, although characterizing the injury as “an unmistakable indication
of a sexual offense,” Autopsy Report (Gov’t Exh. 3) at 2, does not discuss the possibility or
likelihood that the defect occurred as the result of consensual sexual relations. Moreover, the report
is silent as to when the injury occurred relative to when Ms. Stiel died. Might Nicola Stiel have had
an intimate relationship on the evening of August 3 and been killed the next day by someone other
than her lover while she was hitchhiking home? The Germans could not rule out this possibility:
The forensic expert Prof. K. Luff determined [apparently in an
undisclosed supplementary report dated after November 21, 1988]
that the injuries found in the victim’s genital area were inflicted prior
to the victim’s death. What remains open, however, is . . . whether
the victim was raped before she was strangled. The forensic expert
cannot provide a conclusive answer as to the form of force that
caused the injuries in the genital area. In particular, it remains
unresolved what object was used to cause the aforementioned
injuries. Accordingly, it cannot be proven with the certainty required
in criminal proceedings that there was (attempted) intercourse with
the victim before the victim was strangled.
Tab 2 at 11-12. Probable cause to believe that Ms. Stiel was murdered, coupled with signs of sexual
activity (but not necessarily intercourse), does not equate to probable cause to believe that Robert
Brown raped and then murdered Ms. Stiel.
D. Sperm Traces Recovered from the Victim’s Pants
The Germans have analyzed biological evidence three times in this case, with varying results.
In 1985, Mr. Brown provided blood and urine samples. The blood was compared to a microscopic
tace of sperm found on the victim’s pants. Analysis of the sperm tace revealed that the donor had
blood type O and the additional marker PGM+1. Mr. Brown’s blood type was also O, but it had the
marker PGM 1+2+. These characteristics were attributable to 40Yo% of the population. Tab 2 at 6.
On the basis of this information, Mr. Brown was excluded as the sperm donor. See id. at 13-14.
Not satisfied with that report, in 2005 the Germans obtained DNA from Robert Brown’s
daughter and her mother and compared their DNA patterns with the DNA found on the victim’s
pants. The report, dated December 1, 2005, excluded other individuals whose profiles were in a
DNA database as potential sperm donors.
In November 2007, Mr. Brown waived his objection to the Germans’ request for a saliva
sample for DNA testing, and this Court entered a consent order directing Mr. Brown to provide his
DNA. ln exchange for this concession from Mr. Brown, the Court ordered the United States to
disclose data and information that would allow a defense expert to check the Germans´ work. See
Paper No. 31. Among other things, the Court directed the Government to obtain and provide the
case file and all standard operating protocols, chain of custody records, and electronic files with the
data necessary to (a) independently re-analyze the raw data, and (b) understand and reconstruct the
analysis performed by the German authorities. The court also ordered the Government to turn over
records that would establish whether casework errors had been committed by the laboratory, the
frequency of such errors, and what remedial steps were taken. Notwithstanding the clear directive
of the Court, the Government failed to make these materials available to the defense.3
Factors that might affect the reliability of the conclusion in the report include the age of the
DNA sample and the microscopic size of the sample. These conditions may have affected the tests
that could be performed on the material and the assumptions made by the examiner. Also, the report notes that the calculation of trait frequencies was based on “statistical allele frequency data
determined from a random sample of the Caucasian population of Germany/central Europe.” If the
database comprising the “random sample” was not representative, either because the number of DNA
3 The prejudice resulting to the defense as a result of the Government´s contempt is
discussed in Mr. Brown’s response to the Government’s motions in limine. The probative value
of the report upon which the Germans rely should be viewed as somewhat limited, because the
defense has been deprived of a meaningful opportunity to understand the testing process
employed by the German laboratory.
profiles in the database was small or because it did not include all of the racial or ethnic groups from
which the donor might have come, it would not provide reliable sequence frequency estimates. For
Mr. Brown to fully present these arguments — that is, for him to be able to explain the testing
performed by the Germans and summarized in the report — the Government would need to supply
the withheld data. Only then would the expert retained by the defense be in a position to assist the
In any event, the Government’s reliance upon the summary report of the Hesse State Criminal Police Office, Criminal Forensic and Technical Institute to provide probable cause for rape is
suspect. No sperm was recovered from the victim´s vagina or elsewhere on the corpse. The
microscopic trace of sperm, which were recovered from the bottom of the leg of the victim’s pants,
do not prove intercourse. The examiner concluded that the sperm was transferred to the pants from
another source, possibly the victim’s fingers, and not as the result of the donor ejaculating on the
pants. Tab 3 (Stiel Taskforce Memorandum dated August 30, 1984). When the transfer occurred
relative to the murder is a question unaddressed by the report. Thus the evidence is insufficient to
E. Evidence Linking the Victim to Mr. Brown’s Car and the Car to the
1. The Fiber Evidence
Fibers matching a blanket found in Robert Brown’s rented Volkswagen Golf and the
vehicle’s upholstery were recovered from the corpse of Nicola Stiel.4 Cotton fibers from Ms. Stiel’s
4 To be specific, 54 fibers matching the fibers found in a blanket recovered from the
VW Golf were discovered on the corpse of Nicola Stiel. Two fibers matching the fibers used in
the car’s upholstery were found on the corpse. Tab 4 (Official Report dated October 31, 2004,
previously filed as part of Paper No. 20) at 6-11.
pants were found in various locations in the back seat of the car (11 fibers), on the blanket (25
fibers), in the lining oft he trunk floor (two fibers), and on a towel recovered from the car (one fiber).
Tab 4 at 8-10. Assuming the testing to have been performed correctly, the presence of those fibers
proves that Ms. Stiel sat in the back seat of the Golf and that both her clothing and her naked skin
came into contact with the blanket. It does not prove that Mr. Brown coerced Ms. Stiel into sex, as
is required by Section 177 of the German Criminal code. The fibers are just as likely to have been
transferred during a consensual sexual relationship. The October 31, 1984 police report neither
considers nor excludes this possibility.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt obtained an “expert” opinion on January 21,
2008 concerning the time when the fiber traces adhered to the victim’s exposed skin. The pertinent
portions of the report state as follows:
In general it should be noted that textile fiber traces on a person´s
exposed skin are displaced when the person moves (e.g.[,] during the
course of their everyday activities). Traces adhering to the skin are
also washed off during cleaning (e.g.[,] showering).
In the present case the fiber traces must have adhered to the victim´s
exposed skin . . . and pubic hairs . . . after the last wash/shower/bath.
It is improbable that the victim was in motion for a longer period of
time after the fiber traces (e.g.[,] corresponding to the material of the
blanket . . . ) had adhered to the skin. With high probability, it is
likely that the fiber traces adhered to the victim’s exposed skin close
to the point in time when she was killed.
Gov’t Exh. 4, January 21, 2008 Report, at 2 (emphasis in original). These conclusions hardly seem
scientific. The report does not describe the rate at which fibers are displaced when a particular
person moves in the course of his or her ordinary activities, presumably because there is no reliable
way to determine that answer. Fifty-four blanket fibers were recovered from the corpse. The
number originally acquired as a result of Ms. Stiel’s contact with the blanket is unknown. Was it
1,000? 10,000? The report says the fibers must have stuck to the skin after Ms. Stiel’s last bath or
shower. No evidence of Ms. Stiel’s bathing habits is available. The examiner does not discuss –
much less exclude – the possibility of the fibers remaining on Ms. Stiel’s skin as the result of her
body coming into contact with the blanket on August 1. Similarly, if the contact occurred on Friday
night, August 3, given the propensity of that particular blanket to shed, could 54 fibers have
remained on Ms. Stiel’s body for a period of less than 24 hours? The examiner does not exclude the
possibility that an intimate relationship occurred between Mr. Brown and Ms. Stiel the night before
she was killed.
2. Evidence Concerning the Victim’s Whereabouts on August 4
The German police have good reason to believe that she was not with Robert Brown on
August 4, but rather was hitchhiking home to Mengerschied. Numerous witnesses helped the police
reconstruct Ms. Stiel’s whereabouts from the time she left work on August 4. Renate Kornelia
Fleischmann, a cleaning lady at the train station’s motel “Futterstube” told police she saw Stiel on
August 4 around 3:00 p.m., perhaps earlier, at the station. Tab 5. Ms. Fleischmann was shown a
color photograph of the victim and positively identified her as the woman she saw walk into the
station and look at the train schedule. Id. Another witness, Uwe Schoppert, a resident of Heinsheim,
reported that he saw Stiel between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Rudesheim exit on the B41
highway, west of Bad Kreuznach. Tab 6. Ludwig Geib, who lived in a house on Kreuznacher
Staße (B41) in Weinsheim, west of Heinsheim, reported that he looked out his window around 3:00
p.m. and saw Stiel on the sidewalk walking from the Bad Kreuznach direction. Tab 7. She sat on
a bench diagonally across from his house. Id. Like Ms. Fleischmann, Mr. Geib was shown a picture
of Stiel and positively identified her as the woman he observed. Id. According to a summary
obtained from the Public Prosecutor’s office, fifteen other witnesses provided the police with
descriptions of a woman matching Stiel’s description hitchhiking along one of the main routes to
Mengerschied, west of Bad Kreuznach, in the late afternoon and evening of August 4. See Tab 8
(Time-Place Diagram and photographs).
One of those witnesses, Carmen Göttmann, reported to police that on Saturday, August 4,
she and her father were driving home from a horse show around 6 p.m. and noticed a young girl
hitching a ride near an underpass in Daubach. August 13, 1984 Journal Entry, Tab 9. “Ms. Göttman
looked back and noticed that a car (Opel Kadett or Ascona) stopped, that the passenger door was
opened, and that the girl got into the car.” Id. The witness recalled that the car was orange and bore
the letters “KH” for “Bad Kreuznach” on its license plate. Id.
3. The Tire Track Evidence
Relying on the Göttman statement, police compared the tire tracks at the crime scene to
information obtained from Opel AG and found a match:
[T]he width of the tire tracks could also potentially be related to an
Opel Kadett older than 1980. The carmaker equipped these vehicles
with size 145 SR 13 tires. Based on the information collected at the
crime scene, the tire tracks were probably caused by tires of that type.
It is also significant that there is a high likeliness that the vehicle that
was used had front wheel drive. Thus, in a summary of these findings
and in connection with the observations made by the witness
Göttmann, it is highly likely that the vehicle used in the crime was an
Opel Kadett, Type D, Production Year 1980 or later (ABE 1979).
Id. at 2 (emphasis added).
Efforts to match the tire tracks found at the crime scene with the Golf rented by Mr. Brown
yielded varying results. On August 30, 1984, the vehicle was inspected by the police, and reference
prints were taken of the tires, which were Michelin XZX 155SR13. Tab 3. Investigators concluded
that the tracks at the crime scene could have been caused by a tire of that width and profile. Id.
Given the measurements of rear axle track width and wheelbase (the horizontal distance between the centers of the front and real wheels) taken at the scene, investigators determined that three other vehicle models could also have caused the tracks: Audi 80, Opel Ascona, and Talbot Horizon. Id.
The Golf was excluded from consideration, because its wheelbase was 125 mm shorter than the
wheelbase measured at the crime scene. Id. Moreover, dirt or mud from driving in deep terrain was
not found underneath the vehicle. Id.
On September 25,1984, police took the Golf to the location of the corpse and made tracks
in the very muddy ground. They then flattened and leveled the ground with sand and marked the end points of the tracks on the ground using measurements from a sketch made by the crime scene unit. ln a report dated October 3, 1984 (Tab 10, previously filed as part of Paper No. 20), the police
concluded that the 32 mm difference in track width between the sketch and the car could be
explained by the muddy ground, because during the reconstruction the Golf´s wheels slipped “both
longitudinally and also laterally.” The police were unable to measure the wheelbase of the Golf
during the reconstruction, because the soil was too deep and soft, and the location of the center of
the front wheel could not be identified using the tracks. No explanation was offered for the 125 mm
difference in the actual wheelbase of the car as compared to the measurement originally obtained at
the crime scene. Finally, the Germans determined, without explanation, that “the tire contact area
of 120 to 130 mm measured on the made forest track corresponds to the contact area of the VW Golf C tires (Michelin XZX 155 SR 13).” Based on these observations, the Germans concluded that they could not rule out the Golf as the cause of the tracks.
The sudden inclusion of the Golf seems convenient. The Germans acknowledged the
deficiencies in their evidence in the 1989 Report:
Tire tracks secured at the crime scene in a wooded area near Bad
Homburg-Friedrichsdorf reached directly to the location where the
body was found. In a first report, the tire tracks were attributed to
Michelin XZX tires. According to measurements taken at the crime
scene, the size of the tires was determined as 145 SR 13. The
confiscated Golf had Michelin tires, but they were size 155 SR 13.
The various expert opinions on the tire tacks produced very different
results. Apparently, this can be attributed to the improper measuring
of the tire tracks found at the crime scene. The wheelbase and track
width values measured at the crime scene initially indicated six
additional car makes. Later, only three makes were considered as
having potentially caused the tracks. The partially deformed and
overlying tracks did not allow a definite relation. Furthermore,
despite many informants, not one indicated the white VW Golf [was]
near the crime scene at the potential time of the crime….
Id. at 6-7.
At the end of the day, the Germans have no probable cause to believe, based on their own
crime scene investigation and witness interviews, that the Golf was at the scene. And if the car was
not present where Ms. Stiel was killed, it becomes impossible for them to prove that Robert Brown
perpetrated the murder
The German authorities conceded in 1989 that they lacked probable cause to arrest Robert
Brown, “even taking into consideration all of the circumstantial evidence in its entirety.” Tab 2 at
9, 14-15. At that time, they acknowledged that the most they could prove was that Mr. Brown and
Ms. Stiel sat together in the white VW Golf at some point and may have smoked cigarettes there.
Id. at 14. They have never been able to resolve when Mr. Brown and Ms. Stiel drove in the car, and
whether a criminal act was committed in the car. Id. The lack of brood or sperm in the Golf seems
dispositive on this point. Similarly, although the fiber evidence establishes that Ms. Stiel’s “naked
upper body came into contact with a towel and blanket” which were later recovered from the car, the supplemental fiber and DNA reports introduced by the Government fail to resolve when or where Mr. Brown and Ms. Stiel were intimate, or how or when Mr.Brown’s sperm (assuming the DNA
testing is correct) was transferred to Ms. Stiel’s pants. The Germans found it conceivable that the
latter “evidence was already created during the first meeting on August 1, 1984.” Id. at 6. Or,
perhaps more likely, it was created as a result of a consensual sexual encounter on August 3.
Under the circumstances, the German authorities have failed to proffer “evidence sufficient
to sustain the charge under the provisions of the proper treaty or convention.” l8 U.S.C. § 3184.
This court accordingly should deny the request for extradition and remove all conditions of Mr.
Federal Public Defender
for the District of Maryland
SEAN P. VITRANO
Assistant Federal Public Defender
100 South Charles Street
Tower II, Suite 1100
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
(41 O) 962 -0872 facsimile
Kleeberger Str. 23
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