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Ira Samuel EINHORN






A.K.A.: "The Unicorn Killer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Ecological and anti-war activist - Hippy guru
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 9, 1977
Date of arrest: September 22, 1998 (France)
Date of birth: May 15, 1940
Victim profile: Helen "Holly" Maddux (his girlfriend)
Method of murder: Beating
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison October 17, 2002

photo gallery


Ira Samuel Einhorn (born May 15, 1940) was an activist in the 1960s and 1970s who is now serving a life sentence for the murder of Holly Maddux in 1977.

Einhorn was active in ecological and antiwar groups in the 1960s. At one time, he was a friend and contemporary of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. He also claimed to have been instrumental in creating Earth Day in 1970, and participated in the Earth Day rally in Philadelphia that year. However, other organizers of Earth Day dispute his account. He was known to some of his supporters as "the Unicorn" ("Einhorn" is the German word for "unicorn").

He studied in Pennsylvania and had a five-year relationship with Holly Maddux, who was from Tyler, Texas and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in suburban Philadelphia. In 1977, Maddux broke up with Einhorn. She went to New York and became involved with Saul Lapidus. When Einhorn found out about this, he angrily called Maddux to come back to Philadelphia, which she did on September 9.

She was never seen in public again. When questioned, Einhorn stated to police that she left to make a call and never came back. His alibi began to crack, however, when neighbors began to complain about a foul smell coming from his Powelton Village apartment.

Eighteen months later, Maddux's decomposing corpse was found by police in a trunk stored in a closet in Einhorn's apartment. Einhorn's bail was set at $40,000.00 at the request of his attorney, Arlen Specter; Einhorn was released from custody in advance of his trial by paying 10% of the bond's value, or $4,000.00. This bail was paid, not by Einhorn, but by Barbara Bronfman, a Montreal, Canada, socialite. The Bronfmans own the world's largest distillery, Seagrams.

In 1981, days before his murder trial was to begin, Einhorn evaded bail and escaped to Europe. Einhorn traveled in Europe for the next 16 years, along the way marrying Annika Flodin. Back in Pennsylvania, the state convicted him in absentia in 1993 of the murder of Maddux. Einhorn was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


In 1997 Einhorn was tracked down and arrested in Champagne-Mouton, France, where he had been living under the name "Eugene Mallon". The extradition process, however, proved more complex than it was initially envisioned, and pitted against each other the different interpretations that France and the US have of the "right to a fair trial". Under the extradition treaty between France and the United States, either country may refuse extradition if it finds that the defendant may not get a fair trial.

Einhorn's defense (among whom the Human Rights League, LDH) argued that Einhorn would face the death penalty if returned to the U.S. (France, having abolished the death penalty, does not extradite defendants without assurance that the death penalty will not be sought and will not be applied), but Pennsylvania authorities pointed out that at the date of the murder, Pennsylvania did not have the death penalty.

A second issue soon arose : French law and the European Court of Human Rights requires a new trial when the defendant was sentenced in absentia, hence was unable to present his defence. On this basis, the court of appeals of Bordeaux rejected the extradition request.

The court's decision infuriated many in the U.S., where it was ascribed by some as political posturing from France's government, even though the decision was taken by an independent court. Thirty-five members of Congress sent a letter to President Jacques Chirac of France, asking for Einhorn's extradition (under France's separation of powers, the President cannot give orders to courts and does not intervene in extradition affairs).

As a consequence of this refusal, in order to secure the extradition of Ira Einhorn, the Pennsylvania legislature passed in 1998 a bill (nicknamed the "Einhorn Law") allowing in absentia defendants to request another trial.

The bill was, however, criticized as being unconstitutional (the allegation being that the legislature cannot overrule a final judgment handed by a court), and Einhorn's attorneys tried to use this fact to get French courts to deny the extradition again, on grounds that the law would be inapplicable. However, the French court ruled itself incompetent to estimate the constitutionality of foreign laws.

Another point of friction with the US was that the court had freed Ira Einhorn under police supervision — French laws put restrictions on remand (the imprisonment of suspects awaiting trial). Einhorn was then the focus of intense surveillance by the French police.

The matter then went before Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, since extraditions, after having been approved by courts, must be ordered by the executive. Meanwhile, Einhorn's supporters alleged that he had been unfairly treated by American criminal justice and that he would perhaps not receive a fair trial.

The French Green Party, in particular, complained that Einhorn should not have been extradited until the matters concerning his trials were fully settled. In some respects, the debate took a political character, with the scope of arguments exceeding the particular case of Einhorn and widening into criticism of American justice and its perceived unfairness for some categories of defendants; there were also concerns that the case against Einhorn was politically motivated.

Because of the sensitive nature of the case, Jospin took some time to reach a decision, but eventually issued an extradition decree. Jospin was then criticized by some as having caved in to political pressure from U.S. President Bill Clinton. Einhorn litigated against the decree before the Conseil d'État, which ruled against him. He then attempted to slit his throat, and litigated before the European Court of Human Rights.

On July 20, 2001, he was extradited to the United States after French authorities were promised that he would receive another trial and would not face the death penalty under any circumstances.

Trial and penalty

Taking the stand in his own defense, Einhorn claimed that Maddux was murdered by CIA agents who attempted to frame Einhorn for the crime, due to Einhorn's investigations on the Cold War and psychotronics. However, the jury did not find his testimony credible, and affirmed his conviction on October 17, 2002 after only two hours of deliberation.

Einhorn is currently incarcerated in the state prison at Houtzdale, in central Pennsylvania.

Further reading

  • Ira Einhorn, 78-187880 (1972) ISBN 0385063873 Its title is its Library of Congress number.

  • Ira Einhorn, Prelude to Intimacy, August 2005, "is Ira Einhorn's account of his life underground from the time he fled the United States in early January of 1981 until he met his Swedish wife, Annika, in November of 1987." ISBN 1-4116-4911-7.

  • Steven Levy, The Unicorn's Secret: Murder in the Age of Aquarius, 1988 ISBN 0139378308 This book came out while Einhorn's whereabouts were unknown.

Depiction in the Popular Media

Einhorn and his crime were the topic of a made for TV film in 1999. Entitled The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, it featured Naomi Watts as Holly Maddux, and Kevin Anderson as Einhorn.


Ira Heinhorn

On September 22, 1998, longtime fugitive guru Ira Einhorn was re-arrested in France under a new extradition warrant for the 1977 murder in Philadelphia of a Texas womany. Einhorn's attorneys said he will fight his return to the United States after having fled in 1981. Justice Department officials refused to comment.

A antiwar activist leader in the 1960s, Einhorn was well known in Philadelphia where he once ran for mayor. Einhorn became a successful New Age hippie guru -- as well as the founder of Earth Day -- in the 1970s. At the height of his popularity he had an international network of scientists, corporate sponsors and wealthy benefactors.

But in 1981 he was arrested on murder charges after police found the remains of Helen Maddux, a former cheerleader and Bryn Mawr College graduate from Tyler, Texas, in a trunk in his apartment. The woman, his former girlfriend, had disappeared 18 months earlier.

Allegedly Einhorn slept with her corpse stuffed in a trunk next to his bed. He was arrested after neighbors complained about the stench coming from Einhorn's apartment, and Maddux's remains were found. Forensic experts said her skull had been bashed six times. The hippie guru was released on bail and fled the country. He was convicted in absentia in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison.

A fugitive for 16 years living in several European nations, Einhorn was tracked down and recaptured in France in June 1997. But the Bordeaux court refused to extradite him, citing a French law that requires a retrial for all defendants, and released him from custody. Pennsylvania then passed a law promising Einhorn a retrial and he was re-arrested in September 1998.

On February 18, 1999, a French court agreed to extradite Einhorn to the U.S., then ordered him set free pending his appeal. Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham expressed concern that Einhorn would run again. "He has proved to be elusive and resourceful in the past," said Abraham, interviewed on WCAU-TV. "My guess is that he will do everything he can to flee the country." In Washington, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder called on France to take "the necessary steps" to ensure Einhorn is returned to the United States if the extradition is upheld.

In a desperate attempt to delay his extradition, on July 12, 2001, Einhorn tried to slit his throat at his house in southwestern France. "I think he had really decided to end his life," said his lawyer, Dominique Delthil, "but at the last minute he changed his mind. It wasn't just an act... He tried to cut his throat with a knife... It was not very pretty."

Einhorn was found by French TV crew sitting in the kitchen with an open wound at the base of his neck and blood soaking his shirt. "I don't think they'll be able to arrest him if he's hospitalized," Delthil added. The suicide attempt came two hours after French authorities announced Einhorn lost his appeal to fight his extradition to the U.S.


Ira Einhorn

December 5, 1997

Convicted murderer and hippy guru Ira Einhorn was freed by a court in Bordeaux after it rejected an American request to extradite him to Pennsylvania, where he faces a life sentence for the 1977 killing of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. No reasons were given for the rejection of the American extradition request, although Einhorn's claim that he would not be allowed a retrial in Philadelphia but would be sent straight to prison for life appeared to impress the judge, Claude Arrighi. French law requires a retrial for any person convicted in absentia.


Ira Einhorn

February 18, 1999

A French court agreed to extradite American fugitive Ira Einhorn to the United States, then ordered him set free pending his appeal. Einhorn, now 58, is wanted in Philadelphia for the 1977 murder of his girlfriend, Helen "Holly" Maddux, whose corpse was found stuffed in a trunk in a closet next to his bed.

In Philadelphia, District Attorney Lynne Abraham expressed concern that Einhorn would run again. "He has proved to be elusive and resourceful in the past," said Abraham, interviewed on WCAU-TV. "My guess is that he will do everything he can to flee the country." In Washington, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder called on France to take "the necessary steps" to ensure Einhorn is returned to the United States to stand trial if the extradition is upheld.


Ira Einhorn

July 17, 2001

French police took convicted murderer Ira Einhorn from his home in Champagne-Mouton to a car with American officials waiting to extradite him back to the United States. The 61-year-old former anti-war activist was convicted in absentia for the 1977 bludgeoning death of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. Since he fled from the U.S. he lived in England, Ireland and Sweden under pseudonyms before being arrested in France in 1997. As part of the extradition agreement, Einhorn will face a new trial in Pennsylvania and -- if found guilty -- would not be eligible for the death penalty.


Ira Einhorn

October 17, 2002

A Philadelphia jury found former hippie guru Ira Einhorn, 62, guilty of the 1979 murder of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. William Cannon, Einhorn's attorney, said during his closing argument that the discovery of the mummified corpse in the apartment the couple once shared 18 months after she disappeared was, "just a piece of circumstantial evidence.. It doesn't mean at all that Ira Einhorn is responsible for her murder." Prosecutor Joel Rosen said the evidence of Einhorn's guilt is overwhelming.



Peace, Love and Murder: The Ira Einhorn Story

By Juan Hann Ng -

For two decades, guru Ira Einhorn was on the run as a fugitive. Nicknamed 'The Unicorn', he brutally murdered his lover Holly Maddux.

Ira Samuel Einhorn, nicknamed the ‘Unicorn’ as his surname translates to ‘one horn’ in German, spent 16 years on the run after murdering his girlfriend Helen ‘Holly’ Maddux in 1977 in Philadelphia, America. Einhorn’s case is unique in that while his crime was a grisly one, it is often overshadowed by the events leading up to his imprisonment, and is regularly cited as an example of the conceptual differences between the American and continental European legal systems. The American murderer became a cause celebre for human rights in France where he was initially arrested.


Einhorn was born into a middle-class Jewish family but developed into a bona fide left wing radical by the time he was in his twenties. He was a symbol and a prominent figurehead of the youth-driven movement in the sixties that stood in opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Instantly recognisable as ‘Philadelphia’s head hippie’, he was a large burly man with electric blue eyes and an unkempt beard, and he seldom washed or bathed.

However, he was a master of rhetoric and he had networking skills that drew many important and famous people to the cause of freedom and peace that he preached. The self-styled ‘Prince of Flower Power’ and ‘Guru of Peace and Love’ was revered and admired by many of the leading intellectuals of Philadelphia and America. A brilliant student at the University of Pennsylvania, he counted as friends many of the authors of the Beat generation, such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac; he hobnobbed with celebrities including Isaac Asimov, Peter Gabriel and Uri Geller; and hung out with the Yippie (Youth International Party) crowd, including their founders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Pot-smoking, LSD-popping, free-loving Einhorn was the toast of Philadelphia.

Strangely, he also endeared himself to the corporate set, who were entranced by his convincing predictions of future trends of anything from computer science to quantum physics to New Age management. He was intelligent, a voracious reader and his ability to influence people was magnetic. He sold blueprints of the future to Fortune 500 company CEOs, convincing them that their money could save the world through ecological awareness. He was a speaker at the inaugural 1970 Earth Day rally in Philadelphia and was reportedly its creator, although its organisers disputed this claim. In 1977, he even held a fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Einhorn had been going out with Holly Maddux, his beautiful and gracefully delicate girlfriend, for five years when she disappeared in 1977. Originally from Tyler, Texas, Maddux was a blue-eyed former cheerleader, had been a brilliant student at Bryn Mawr College and had then turned her energies to the women’s liberation movement. She was drawn to Einhorn as one of the political icons of their day. However, although an advocate of peace and non-violence, the hulking Einhorn treated her poorly, as he had with previous girlfriends. His behaviour extended to physical abuse, smashing a soft drink bottle on one girlfriend’s head and even attempting to strangle another.

Tiring of his violence, Maddux moved to New York where she began a relationship with a kind and gentle man named Saul Lapidus. She called Einhorn from New York to sever their relationship. He flew into a temper and commanded her to return to Philadelphia to collect her belongings, which he threatened to throw out into the street. Maddux left for Philadelphia on 9th September 1977 and was never seen alive again.

The crimes

It is speculated that Maddux was murdered on or around the 9th or 10th of September 1977, when she returned to the apartment she shared with Einhorn on Race Street. No one except her family noticed Maddux’s absence and they became apprehensive at her continued silence. Her mother’s birthday had come and gone without a call from Maddux, who was normally a considerate and attentive daughter.

The family notified the police. Einhorn was cursorily questioned but upon his claims of ignorance, was left alone. Dissatisfied with the police’s efforts, the Maddux family hired two private detectives to investigate the girl’s disappearance. In the meantime, Einhorn continued with his life, embarking on speaking tours and taking a semester-long fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

However by 1979, the private investigators had pieced together enough circumstantial evidence to give the police enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant for Einhorn’s apartment. The evidence included the fact that Einhorn had requested help from friends to dispose of a trunk containing what he said were “secret documents”; there had been Einhorn’s non-cooperation with police investigators; and a putrid and rancid brown liquid had been leaking through Einhorn’s floorboards into the kitchen of the neighbours below.

The arrest

Detective Mike Chitwood led the search of Einhorn’s apartment on 28th March 1979, almost 20 months after Maddux had gone missing. In a wardrobe, Chitwood found Maddux’s suitcase, handbag, driver’s licence and social security card. In the same wardrobe, he also found Maddux’s body in a trunk, packed in styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers. Her decomposing body was partially mummified and the remains weighed only 37 pounds.

A post-mortem revealed that Maddux had suffered trauma to the head and her skull was smashed in several places as a result. However, the position of the body and size of the trunk meant that she had actually been alive and semi-conscious when placed in the trunk and had died trying to claw her way out. Upon his arrest, Einhorn reportedly shrugged indifferently and said, “You found what you found”. He was charged with murder, as Pennsylvania has no degrees of murder

Einhorn was represented by the notorious defence attorney Arlen Specter. Later a Senator, he served on the infamous Warren Commission and was the author of the ‘single assassin/crazy bullet theory’ used to explain the assassination of John F Kennedy. Specter argued successfully at the bail hearing on 3rd April 1979 for bail to be set at the strangely low sum of $40 000, of which only 10% had to be paid in cash to secure the release of the bailor.

The bail hearing in itself was abnormal, as it was unheard of for bail to be granted in murder cases. While Einhorn’s friends in high places might not have influenced the bail hearing or the amount of bail itself, they certainly did put up the money for his release. Barbara Bronfman, a Montreal socialite who had married into a wealthy distillery family, paid Einhorn’s bail.

Still vociferously protesting his innocence, Einhorn was released onto the streets. He told anyone and everyone that he would clear his name, claiming it was a conspiracy by the CIA or FBI, who wanted to discredit him and halt his political activities. Then, on 21st January 1981, Einhorn skipped bail on the eve of the pre-trial hearing and disappeared, probably to Europe. Thus began the most determined international pursuit of a fugitive since the Israeli Mossad’s hunt, capture and cross-border kidnapping of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

Conducting the manhunt was Assistant District Attorney Richard DiBenedetto, who, through Einhorn’s 60 handwritten journals, knew his prey better than anyone else. In 1985, Einhorn was traced to Dublin, Ireland, where he was living under the name of Ben Moore. However, there were no extradition papers in effect and Einhorn fled Dublin after the alert. From there, he probably travelled throughout the United Kingdom, crossing the English Channel at some point, to enter continental Europe. In 1993, the unprecedented step, in Philadelphia at least, was taken to try Einhorn in absentia, a hugely significant development that would later be exploited by Einhorn. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Circa 1994, DiBenedetto learned that Einhorn’s benefactor, Barbara Bronfman, had been financing his flight from his hunters. However she had a change of heart, to one in the belief in Einhorn’s guilt, and she provided DiBenedetto with the Stockholm address where Einhorn was residing. The address turned up one Annika Flodin, who disclaimed all knowledge of Einhorn, saying that she knew him as Ben Moore, and that she had no idea where he was. When Flodin subsequently disappeared, investigators ran her name through Interpol and found that she had relocated to France and married Einhorn, who was then known under the moniker of Eugene Mallon.

On 13th June 1997, DiBenedetto and his men arrested Einhorn in a converted millhouse outside Champagne-Mouton, a beautiful village in the French countryside near Cognac.

The trial

Einhorn enlisted the services of Ted Simon, an expert in international law and a brilliant attorney, to fight the extradition process. Simon did so by citing established rules of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), to which France is a party and an active defender. The rules deny the legitimacy of trials in absentia, especially when the maximum sentence is life imprisonment. In French and European jurisprudence, trials in absentia deny the suspect the right to defend themself in a court of law and make a mockery of the presumption of innocence, the cornerstones of any just legal system.

In addition, under the ECHR, France is prevented from deporting or extraditing anyone within its borders to a country where they are not guaranteed a fair trial. Under the existing Pennsylvanian law, Einhorn would have had no recourse to a new trial and he would have been imprisoned immediately under the terms of the 1993 sentence upon his arrival back on American soil. Simon demonstrated that Einhorn would not have been granted a new trial and, at that time, enjoyed little to no appellate rights. The extradition application failed in the French courts and on 4th December 1997, Einhorn was released

In January 1998, the Pennsylvanian legislature passed a new law that granted a previously tried and condemned man a new trial. Einhorn was rearrested and placed on bail to await a new extradition hearing. At the hearing, Simon countered using established American constitutional principles of the doctrine of separation of powers, essentially arguing that it went against all notions of good governance and the rule of law for a legislature to interfere with a final judgment of the judiciary. In other words, a law-making body can never direct a court to change its judgment, nor can it direct a retrial after the initial trial has been finalised.

A second point of contention that was brought up by Simon was that the new Pennsylvanian law, the so-called ‘Einhorn law’, appeared to have been enacted to firstly, retrospectively apply in Einhorn’s case, and secondly, appeared to have little general application outside of Einhorn’s case, both of which offended principles of the rule of law; a law cannot retrospectively apply to someone, nor should a law target a specific person or specific case.

The second extradition hearing ended with the French court declaring itself incompetent to hear arguments relating to the constitutionality of foreign laws. The decision therefore went to French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, since an extradition must be ordered by the executive after being approved by the courts. On 21st July 2000, Jospin eventually agreed to the extradition and was roundly criticised for having succumbed to political pressure from America, including American President Bill Clinton who had personally intervened. Meanwhile, Einhorn’s lawyers appealed to the Conseil d’Etat, the highest French court of law, and Annika Einhorn, his wife, canvassed the support of a wide spectrum of human rights organisations, including heavyweights like Helsinki Watch and S.O.S. Racisme.

The appeal to the Conseil d’Etat failed, as did the final appeals to both courts of the European Court of Human Rights on 18th July 2001. Einhorn publicly slit his throat in front of television cameras after the Conseil d’Etat decision, although he suffered little damage as he had only used a butter knife. On 21st July 2001, Einhorn returned to the United States via Philadelphia International Airport to stand trial for the murder of Holly Maddux.

The murder trial itself was relatively straightforward after the years of legal wrangling that had preceded it. The prosecution amassed a body of circumstantial evidence against Einhorn, including the corpse found in his apartment. They also led him in cross-examination to read large portions of his diaries, which gave insight to his violent and misogynist character. The defence tried the ploy of having the trial dismissed as the ‘Einhorn law’ was unconstitutional, arguing that the law violated the protection against ‘double jeopardy’, that is, being tried twice for the same crime, but the judge refused to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the trial. The defence also tried to introduce reasonable doubt that Einhorn had committed the murder, claiming that he had been out of the apartment for several months in 1978 and that it was possible for the body to have been sneaked in to frame their client. Einhorn, when asked to enter his defence, claimed that he had been framed by the CIA or KGB.

After only four weeks, on 17th October 2002, a racially mixed jury of six men and six women found Ira Einhorn guilty of the murder of Holly Maddux in 1977. Judge William Mazzola sentenced Einhorn to life in prison without parole. He is currently incarcerated at Houtzdale State Prison in Pennsylvania.

The aftermath

Thus ended the manhunt for one of the most famous cultural and political icons of his time, and Einhorn was finally brought to justice for the crime he had committed. However, the debate still rages on whether or not he should have been brought to trial in the first place. The arguments put forward by his lawyers, Ted Simon and Norris Geldman, at the French extradition hearings were impeccably sound, based upon trite principles of a just legal system that one should always have the right to represent and defend oneself, and that the presumption of innocence must always be preserved.

The American reaction to those arguments, while understandable, was vitriolic and at times jingoistic. It was not uncommon to hear the sentiment, “Why are the French interfering in a matter that concerns an American suspect committing a crime against an American citizen, on American soil?”, conveniently ignoring the terms of the extradition treaty between the United States and France, stating that local law must be applied in extradition matters.

Rather more persuasive are the arguments that the trial in absentia had to be conducted by 1993 because many of the material character witnesses, such as Maddux’s parents, were dying or getting old. Fred Maddux killed himself in 1988 and Elizabeth Maddux died of emphysema in 1990. The emotional arguments focusing on the heinous character of Einhorn, the wonderful or youthful attributes of the victim, or the grisly nature of the crime, while again understandable, are beside the point.

The point, and also the principle at stake, is that justice is as much in the process as it is in the final result. A full-scale trial in absentia complete with verdict and sentence offends the principles of observance of due process. These principles may have protected Ira Einhorn in this case, at least temporarily, but they also protect an innocent person every day from the excesses of government. A person cannot be arbitrarily sentenced to punishment without having the chance to enter a defence. It obviously need not be stated that proof of absence is not proof of guilt, not by a long measure.

The Einhorn case saw the clash across the Atlantic of two differing viewpoints on law. The resulting politicisation saw Einhorn alternately reviled as a disgusting and cold-blooded murderer and celebrated as a human rights cause. In the end, while it appears that Einhorn got his just deserts and that justice for Holly Maddux was finally achieved, it also appears that human rights and the rule of law suffered a blow and that emotion and politics triumphed over the law.



Ira Einhorn's long, strange trip

After two decades on the run from charges in a horrific murder, the counterculture icon is home and headed for trial. But in France, he's still a human rights hero.

Aug 14, 2002

The man whom Philadelphia loves to hate greets me with a bear hug each time I make the trip to State Correctional Facility in Houtzdale, Pa., his home since his extradition from France last year to face a 25-year-old murder charge. After the months I've spent digesting the enormous literature devoted to him, it's something of a surprise to find that the baby-boom Hannibal Lecter is a nervous person of 61, some 6 feet tall with a full head of white hair, trim in his orange prison-issue jumpsuit, attentive and anxious to please. But any doubt that this is Ira Einhorn, the famous '60s icon and infamous international fugitive, is put to rest immediately by the pink scar still visible above his collar, a reminder of his last night in France, when he cut his throat in front of reporters. A chipped front tooth gives him his crooked smile, familiar from pictures. His eyes, which contain a nearly manic intensity in their shocking blue, are very hard to meet.

Part of their intensity is his well-known charisma: Einhorn is a famous leader of men and a seducer of women, casually laying claim to thousands of lovers, two or three a week for 20 years until meeting Annika Flodin, whom he would marry in 1987. Another part is that Einhorn, who convincingly claims to read a book a day, is amazingly intelligent, and he has few other visitors. Today he wants to talk about politics, physics, Buddhism, the economy, terrorism, ecology. He wants to tell me about Houellebecq, the French novelist du jour; about Jennifer Egan's new novel; about Hardt and Negri's popular left-wing history, "Empire," and Naomi Klein's notoriously dense "No Logo" -- unlike most American progressives, he's read and understood both.

The last thing he wants to discuss is the reason he's in jail today, but when he does address it, it's to deny absolutely, entirely, having killed Holly Maddux in 1977, some two years before he jumped bail and disappeared into a fugitive life that only ended last summer. "There's no doubt that I ought to be executed for what I think," he tells me, leaning across the table where we sit in the clean, well-appointed prison visiting room, his blue eyes holding mine hostage. "But not for what I did."

Well, maybe. You won't find many journalists who will agree: The coverage of Einhorn, both locally and nationally, has almost uniformly depicted him as at best as manipulative, at worst malign, and always guilty. All are plausible conclusions, given the evidence. Two separate Philadelphia juries have found him so, the first in Einhorn's 1993 murder trial, held in absentia while he was a fugitive, the second in a civil trial which in 1999 awarded the victim's family just shy of $1 billion in damages. In Philadelphia, hating Einhorn is a kind of blood sport. When in June 2000 the Philadelphia Daily News erected a billboard of Einhorn and invited readers to bring their rotten tomatoes to throw at it, the newspaper found takers. And when the Daily News printed handy fill-out-and-mail forms by which readers could send messages to Einhorn welcoming him home at the time of his extradition, some 300 took advantage of the opportunity, many offering shockingly obscene predictions of what awaited him in prison showers.

And there lies the central peculiarity of the Einhorn prosecution: Its very vigor, both in the press and in District Attorney Lynne Abraham's office, very nearly set him free. His extradition pitted two equally passionate communities against each other, each fueled by identical outrage: one a moral certainty of his guilt, the other a moral horror at legal tactics the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employed to bring him home. The latter group unites powerful, if unexpected, members: prominent Philadelphia lawyers and a community of French lawyers, activists, and members of parliament who strenuously opposed Einhorn's extradition from France, forcing it to be ordered by then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin himself, and for whom Ira Einhorn has the status of a human rights hero on the level of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who recently was awarded honorary citizenship of Paris. And now that he is back at home, Einhorn's murder trial next month will put these passions on stage in a way that threatens to overshadow the death of Holly Maddux, and opens the possibility that the long, strange trip of Ira Einhorn is not yet over

The dark side of Philly's "head hippie"

If you lived in Philadelphia in the '60s, you know who Einhorn was. Harbinger of the new age, ambassador of acid, Earth Day organizer, environmental activist, Free University founder and professor, Einhorn was "indisputably Philadelphia's head hippie," as the Village Voice put it, "its number one freak." He was at home in the hot springs at California's proto-New Age Esalen Institute and in radical chic circles on the East Coast. It's hard fully to appreciate his influence from today's perspective. Newspaper photographs show him in constant motion: addressing a sea of people on Earth Day, arguing passionately with police, clowning with Yippie leader Jerry Rubin, his peace-loving long beard and gap-toothed smile the picture of the age. That doesn't quite do him justice. Having been a stellar, nearly legendary student at the University of Pennsylvania, he also had currency in the intellectual circles of the day, and in the corporate world, where he was much prized as a "far watcher" of technological trends. In 1977 he held a fellowship at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

The event that would transform Ira Einhorn went nearly unnoticed. When Holly Maddux, his delicately beautiful girlfriend of five years, disappeared in the fall of 1977, the transient college-based community around her and Einhorn paid little attention. He had been the important member of that couple, in any case, and his beautiful girlfriends were virtually interchangeable. When she failed to reappear, however, a closer scrutiny came Einhorn's way. Slowly, during 1978, a private investigator hired by the Maddux family looked at Einhorn's life, and as he looked, evidence came together like a charm. A downstairs neighbor told of liquid leaking from Einhorn's apartment into their kitchen, a dark liquid with a terrible smell of putrefaction, and of hearing a "blood-curdling" scream and "several sharp thuds" around about the time of Holly's disappearance. Presented, finally, to the police, this and other evidence won a search warrant on Ira Einhorn's apartment. It was served on March 29, 1978, and police found Holly Maddux's battered and partially mummified body in a trunk in the bedroom closet, packed in Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.

Here now was an alternate narrative about Ira Einhorn, and it very quickly took hold, a narrative finally canonized by Stephen Levy, whose 1988 study "The Unicorn's Secret: Murder in the Age of Aquarius," drew on access to Einhorn's diaries to conclude that Holly's death was the final act in his established pattern of violent abuse of girlfriends. Einhorn's status as a countercultural hero faded quickly: His publications were few; his activism grandstanding; his expertise followed a path steadily away from even the countercultural mainstream toward the far out -- the paranormal, Uri Geller, Andre Puharich and the community of CIA mind-control conspiracy theorists, still very active today. Einhorn's claim that Holly's death stemmed from this activism -- he insists to this day that Holly Maddux was killed by an intelligence agency, and her body planted in his bedroom, to silence his growing knowledge of the CIA's use of the paranormal in military research -- received little credence. And his generous humanism -- Einhorn was consistently described by the many character witnesses at his bail hearing as a "man of love" -- is mentioned much less than his priapism, his enormous sexual practice.

And any doubt as to Einhorn's guilt was resolved for most Philadelphians by another event. With his trial scheduled for the early spring of 1981, Einhorn nearly effortlessly skipped the bail provided by his friend and supporter Barbara Bronfman and disappeared into Europe.

In 1993, 12 years after Einhorn's flight, Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham decided to bring him to trial in his absence, a rare legal procedure and the only in-absentia murder trial ever conducted in Philadelphia. Einhorn was represented by Norris Gelman, his lawyer at the time of his flight, who was obliged by the court to conduct the defense at his own expense. During a week in court, the leaking liquid, the smell of putrefaction, the scream, and other strong circumstantial evidence was put on trial. Gelman was able to demonstrate that the forensic evidence on which the prosecution hung its case was inconclusive; the prosecution was unable to prove that the putrefying liquid contained human protein, and therefore it was possible, at least in theory, that Holly's body was planted in Einhorn's closet. The jury nevertheless took only two hours to convict him of first degree murder and sentence him to life imprisonment. His flight from justice made their decision that much easier.

On the morning of June 13, 1997, acting on information compiled by dogged Philadelphia Police investigator Rich Debenedetto, French police stormed a converted millhouse outside Champagne Mouton, a tiny village in a rolling portion of the French countryside next to Cognac. Naked in his bed was Mr. Eugene Mallon, a resident American writer who lived quietly with his beautiful Swedish wife. It is not hard to imagine the scene: the kind summer air through the window, the early morning still, and Mr. Mallon's rude awakening to arrest as Ira Einhorn.

At 4 o'clock in the morning, in Philadelphia, Norris Gelman was awakened by the telephone. "I got a call from Annika," he recalls. "I remember it well. She said, 'They stormed the house like stormtroopers!' And I said, 'Who are you?' I'd never heard of her and I had no idea who she was. I said, 'Who was taken away?' She says, 'Ira Einhorn.'"

Gelman is a rotund man with a youthful face and a full head of curly hair. Educated at University of Pennsylvania and versed in left-wing intellectual terms, he runs a practice that includes mobsters and murderers, the appealing mix of high principles and low crimes that defines criminal lawyers. It's a mixture that everywhere informs Gelman's persona, such as his frequent conversational reference to his mother and his taste for the races. Pictures of the horses he owns, as well as a wealth of other track memorabilia, some verging on kitsch, fill his office. When he remembers Einhorn back in the day, it is with admiration, as for a free-thinking, brilliant professor. Many in the Einhorn camp share this admiration, in apparent disregard of the enormous evidence that this charismatic, compelling man may have committed a horrific murder.

In a day or two, Gelman called Annika Flodin -- who prefers to be addressed as Annika Einhorn -- back, and the news he had for her was surprising. "I told her, 'You tell Ira we're going to fight like hell. We got a case here and Ira's not coming back so fast."

In-absentia trials are the "mark of the totalitarian government"

It was the in-absentia conviction won by Lynne Abraham in 1993 that, ironically, protected Einhorn under French Law. Gelman quickly realized that France would not return Einhorn; the French, like all European governments except Spain, require an in-absentia conviction to be retried when the prisoner is captured, whereas Pennsylvania law allowed Einhorn to be sentenced, in absentia, to life without recourse to a new trial.

An in-absentia trial is the "mark of the totalitarian government," Gelman says. "To my mind it was a blatant crushing of all of his rights. Everything rang hollow. The defendant is presumed innocent. Well, of course, the defendant isn't there, he ran away. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt? Well, proof is, he ran away. It eviscerated the right to a fair and impartial trial." Working with Gelman and Theodore Simon, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer with significant foreign experience, Annika Einhorn retained two French lawyers: Dominique Tricaud, a Parisian, with Dominique Delthil acting as local counsel in Bordeaux, where Einhorn had by now been jailed some 100 miles from his house in Champagne Mouton.

The two Dominiques, as they came to be known, had other roles that qualified them for the case. Tricaud is Paris head of Helsinki Watch, the international human rights organization. And Delthil heads the Bordeaux office of the influential organization founded in 1898 at the time of the Dreyfus trial, the League of Human Rights.

In six months' time, Pennsylvanians witnessed the unbelievable sight of Ira Einhorn leaving prison in Bordeaux into the arms of his waiting wife, his extradition from France having been refused on the grounds that Pennsylvania's in-absentia conviction, with no chance of a new trial, violated French law requiring a new trial after the capture of the prisoner.

Just six days later, a new law passed in Pennsylvania. Under the law, any American fugitive caught in a country where extradition is denied on account of a previous in-absentia conviction may, when returned to the United States, be guaranteed a new trial. And this law was going, it seemed, to be applied retroactively to Einhorn. The Einhorn Law, like the in-absentia trial, had an unintended consequence in France. What had been, until then, a question of criminal law, became a human rights cause.

On the way from the Champs Elysies to Xavier de Roux's offices in the enormous international firm Conseil Generale de Charente-Maritime, just next to the Seine on the Right Bank, you pass a huge statue of Charles de Gaulle, inscribed with the quote:

"There is a pact, twenty centuries old, between the greatness of France and the liberty of the world."

It's an astonishing statement to read, here, right next to the Avenues FDR and General Eisenhower, a couple of the Americans without whom Paris might well be a provincial capital of Greater Nazi Germany today. It speaks volumes about the French, not all of it good. One thing it fairly reflects, however, is the pride the French take at their jurisprudence -- easily as much as they do in their wine.

Xavier de Roux is a deeply conservative politician who has served both as mayor of his provincial town and as a member in the French Parliament, a lawyer of enormous power. De Roux is a white-haired man, perhaps 60, with the attitude of nearly self-effacing politeness that, in France, signifies great authority. He sits at his ease in a corner office over the Seine, some of the most valuable office space in the world, describing why he lent his support to a left-wing community gathering around Einhorn. "As a lawyer, I believe in the presumption of innocence," he explains. "And not only in a theoretical way, because, after having spoken to Einhorn ... the horrible crime of which he's accused does not seem to coincide with his personality. I say this so strongly because I have real difficulty -- I tell you this quite frankly -- in imagining Monseiur Einhorn in the skin of a murderer. Anything can happen. I don't pretend to know the truth. But a priori -- and here we are in the presumption of innocence -- I believe him to be innocent."

Pennsylvania's Einhorn Law, as it came to be known, raised new questions for de Roux. "[It] was clearly made not for a general case," he explains, "but clearly in order to obtain the extradition of Ira Einhorn. For any jurist in a legally constituted country, to pass a law for a specific interest and a specific case is not, let's face it, a very good way to pass laws. And so there were quite a few French lawyers who said, 'Well, what's going on here?'"

It was a question that particularly bothered Dominique Delthil, whose Bordeaux office wall displays a photograph of Einhorn recoiling in fright while Delthil, nearly animal with rage, defends him from the approach of an American journalist. Now, he speaks with high indignation. "To insist, at any price, on creating a special law, when the law by its principals must be general! In legal terms, it is absolutely scandalous! I understand how the family feels, but when the state lets itself be manipulated in this way by private interest to create such scandalous laws, it shocked me. I still can't get over it. I never would have thought that this could have existed in a democratic country."

When, therefore, the Bordeaux court met again in February of 1998 to consider the extradition anew in the light of the Einhorn Law, there were no great worries in the Einhorn camp. As Ted Simon advised them from Philadelphia, the law was transparently unconstitutional, and could likely be overturned in the state Supreme Court, thereby voiding the terms of the extradition agreement. Nor was Simon alone in his views.

"In this country there are three branches in our government: There's the legislative, the judicial and the executive. Now, the legislative branch has absolutely no power, under any circumstances, to pass a law that says any defendant is entitled to a new trial." F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, a former Philadelphia district attorney, patiently describes the principle of separation of powers, all the while giving the distinct impression that patience is not his strong suit. "Whether a defendant is entitled to a new trial or not depends solely on the judicial branch ... Now what happened here was, apparently the prosecution went to the Legislature and said, 'We want a law enacted that says if we try someone in absentia, for reasons that they never really set forth, that that person can ask for a new trial.' And so there was legislation passed that said that." (Last winter, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court declined to hear the issue of the Einhorn Law. While pretrial motions by Einhorn's public defense lawyers, filed this month, called for the trial to be halted on the grounds of the Einhorn Law's unconstitutionality, it is still far from certain who may have standing to bring this issue back to the Supreme Court.)

But whereas the Bordeaux court had been clearly willing to allow Einhorn to go free based on the in-absentia conviction, now it hesitated. To judge the constitutionality of an American law in France seemed an entirely different matter, one to be made, in France, by the executive branch, not the judicial. Unwilling, ultimately, to question internal American constitutional issues, the Bordeaux judges lifted their ban on the extradition, allowing it to enter the appeals process.

It was now that Annika Einhorn got to work.

Wife: "I cannot say that I know if Ira killed or did not kill Holly"

Visiting the Einhorns' countryside house some 200 miles southeast of Paris in the rolling hills next to Cognac is like walking into the world of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley, an American murderer who lives in bourgeois splendor just outside of Paris.

On one level, everything is normal. Annika Einhorn is a poised, pretty woman with long red hair, living alone with a black dog, Frieda, to whom she speaks in high pitched Swedish, running her house and caring for its grounds with quiet confidence. Wherever you go with her in the minuscule village of Champagne Mouton, townsfolk inquire after Monsieur Einhorn and express outrage at his treatment, and in their partisanship you feel their attachment to Mrs. Einhorn as much as their concern with her husband. Like her husband's, her frame of reference covers the familiar ground of an ecologically conscious, politically aware, left-wing European intellectual, although in Annika's case there is also the therapeutic and Buddhist-inspired vocabulary of the consciousness movement.

But on another level, as in Highsmith's chilling world, there is something slightly sinister. The fact is that some 15 years ago this sensible, competent, charming woman stepped entirely out of the path of her life: abandoned not just her family and her past but her very identity to join Einhorn in a dangerous and difficult life underground, and she did this in the full knowledge that he was on the run from charges of murdering his girlfriend. Nothing visible in the house spoke of childhood or family, and an aura of rootlesness, of disconnection permeated the household.

One would expect, then, rather an impressionable person, one with, perhaps, the frailty so often ascribed to Holly Maddux. In fact, however, the picture is considerably harder to explain. Mrs. Einhorn is no jail widow. Unwilling to risk possible arrest for aiding an American fugitive, and with Einhorn's lawyers unable to win a guarantee of immunity from prosecutor Joel Rosen, she has so far refused to testify in person at her husband's trial. She has declined to sell the Moulin de Guitry -- her single asset -- in order to pay for Norris Gelman's services, leaving her husband to public defense lawyers. Her opinions about her husband are open-eyed, neutral, and well articulated. She describes her years of marriage as a steady growth toward autonomy -- precisely, in an eerie way, the growth that Holly Maddux is depicted as achieving in the year before her death. That makes it all the more shocking, the irony that on a certain level, Mrs. Einhorn is both responsible for her husband's capture -- it was the use of her real name in a French driver's license application that led to their discovery -- and, now, key to his defense.

"Honestly Neil, I cannot say that I know if Ira killed or did not kill Holly." Talking across a bare wood table in her cozy, homespun, and eerie living room, Annika Einhorn explains what it is like to live with a suspected murderer. "What I'm saying is that the picture that has been presented of Ira as the murderer of Holly is not a picture that matches my picture of Ira, the person I lived with. He's not even near this impression. No physical violence, no physical abuse, all these things that he's consecutively presented with ... My feeling has always been that Ira is innocent. That has been a feeling and also a feeling that I've analyzed analytically by exposing him to questions so that I've also convinced myself intellectually."

When following the passage in Pennsylvania of the Einhorn Law, the Philadelphia D.A.'s office presented France with a new extradition request, Annika Einhorn found herself in the new role of activist -- a role to which, time would show, she was well suited. Soon, in addition to her lawyers, she had enrolled a wide spectrum of the French human rights establishment: members of the French government and of the European Parliament; Socialist, Communist, and Green Party delegates; the League of Human Rights, the influential human rights group S.O.S. Racisme. And as the extradition evolved from a legal to a political issue, so did the field of attack widen and the affaire Einhorn took on an increasingly political nature.

On Dec. 1, 1999, District Attorney Lynne Abraham wrote to then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright requesting her intervention, expressing high indignation that Einhorn remained free, "cavorting in the nude" for an Esquire photographer, "free on bail, eating strawberries and blaming the CIA for Holly's murder." Albright complied.

In equal measure, throughout France, human rights advocates gave their support to Einhorn. Fodi Sylla, a founder of the enormously influential S.O.S. Racisme, lamented the "climate of hysteria ... [the] Sacco and Vanzetti climate around Ira." League of Human Rights president Michel Tubiana focused on the role of Lynne Abraham. "The personal conduct of the Philadelphia D.A. was absolutely mind-blowing," he says. "This woman, if she'd had an equivalent position in France and behaved like that, she would have been fired. So already, how could we think of extraditing anyone in this context, in the middle of this hysteria?

French supporters saw the question of Einhorn's guilt as a far lesser concern than the legal issues of his extradition. Again and again, lawyers and politicians bluntly described their lack of concern with Einhorn's guilt or the evidence against him, turning the question instead to the disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans in U.S. prisons, to the death penalty, to the strong conviction that the American press had judged Einhorn guilty before trial, to the constant worry that a fair trial for Einhorn, given his countercultural activity in the '60s, was impossible.

For many Americans, the French reaction was outrageous -- and given the overwhelming evidence of Einhorn's guilt, it was proof of both Einhorn's extraordinary powers of manipulation and of anti-Americanism in France. Buffy Hall, Holly Maddux's sister, long committed to bringing Einhorn to justice, described Annika Einhorn as "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial." Lynne Abraham's office, citing the pending trial, declined to be interviewed for this article. But in a published statement, Abraham made her feelings clear. "The truth is this," she said: "He is getting away with murder, and I am incensed, offended, outraged."

The possibility of innocence at war with the evidence of guilt

Notwithstanding the support for Einhorn, successive appeals courts in France were declining to stop the extradition, and as they did, the decision wound its way closer and closer to Prime Minister Jospin's desk, a purely political decision, not unlike a presidential pardon or commutation in America. And as it did, the movement to stop Einhorn's extradition steadily gained political momentum. The enormously popular and influential Jack Lang -- at the time chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly, wrote to Jospin that because the Einhorn Law "could fail to be applied by American judges who thought it unconstitutional... Einhorn's in absentia conviction could stand, which would be in total contradiction of the fundamental principles of French law, as well as with the European Convention of Human Rights."

In May 2000, a petition was delivered to Jospin calling for him to block the extradition of Ira Einhorn. Among the 94 prominent signatories were 14 European deputies and 19 members of the Regional Counsel, as well as several French cabinet ministers.

In the end, in the midsummer of 2001, after over a year's delay and four years since Einhorn's original arrest in France, Jospin signed the extradition order. According to Noel Mamhre, a former presidential candidate for the French Green Party, Jospin resisted enormous pressure but finally gave in after President Bill Clinton personally intervened.

Claire Wacquet, a powerful lawyer whose youth and casual language belie her extremely high status -- she appears before the final appeals courts in France, and her office sits just down the Seine from the Assemblie Nationale -- argued the final appeal before the Conseil d'Etat and the European court of Human Rights. "I explained that this law giving a new trial in reality was not constitutionally sound, either in Pennsylvania or in the U.S.A.... I argued that in the constitutional system of the U.S.A., this famous law called the Einhorn Law could very well fail to be applied."

Wacquet shrugged and smiled. "And the Conseil d'Etat said to me, 'Well, we don't care and we don't want to hear about it.'"

"What happened here was France just caved in," Emmett Fitzpatrick says with blunt disdain. "They said, 'Okay, fine, that's alright, if you're going to give him a new trial, we'll send him back.' That happens all the time, that people will cave in, although they're for these general principles that they fight so hard to maintain."

In mid-July 2001, Einhorn provided reporters with a dramatic illustration of what he thought Jospin had done to him: He slit his throat with a kitchen knife, leaving the scars that I recognized when I met him in Pennsylvania jail. On July 19th, neck swaddled with bandages, Ira Einhorn returned to America for the first time in 23 years, escorted by U.S. marshals.

"It was good to see Ira finally show terror," said an editorial headline in the Philadelphia Daily News under a "For Holly" logo. "After 20 years Einhorn's Back,' ran an earlier headline. "And the World's a Better Place."

Ira Einhorn's universe is now a simple, clean construction with high windows and the peaceful air of a smoothly running workplace. The prison guards are polite and respectful and a pleasant, clean visiting room is available. During visiting hours a prisoner is always on duty to take Polaroids of inmates with their families standing in front of a screen with a couple of choices of bucolic countryside backdrops.

Einhorn drinks Dr. Peppers and eats the healthiest sandwiches available from the vending machines while talking virtually without a pause. Watching him eat -- my appetite disappears the moment I enter the prison, and a heavy sense of oppression lies over me until I've put it well behind me on the highway back home -- I try to reconcile the image of Holly Maddux's death by battering with the eloquent idealist in front of me.

Only the blue eyes, with their peculiar intensity, bridge the gap. Watching them, again and again, I have to remind myself that the man before me is presumed innocent by law, and that, despite the overwhelming circumstantial evidence, no one but he -- and, if he is innocent, Holly's actual murderer -- knows the truth.

It's not easy, sitting in Houtzdale before a man who may once have stood face to face, as forensic evidence showed that the murderer did, with Holly Maddux and beat her with enough force to fracture her skull in six places. It's not easy at all, and I soon came to dread my visits to Houtzdale, which seemed punishments in their own right.

Certainly, for the Philadelphia D.A.'s office, for the Maddux family, and for the enormous preponderance of Philadelphians who have for decades been outraged by Einhorn's flight, anything other than a conviction, next month, will be an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

But for Ira Einhorn and those who have lent their support to him, a perfect continuity unites his first incarnation as Philadelphia's entry into the countercultural pantheon with his life as a human rights hero in France.

Certainly the strange legal corner into which the Ira Einhorn case has strayed seems to have no fair way out: On one hand, the guilty may go free; on the other, the Constitution may be abused. It's a terrifying thing to witness, when the legal system offers only two injustices as a response to a tragic murder.

But does anyone remember what Gideon and Miranda, who lent their names to crucial legal protections, were actually accused of? It's possible that the future will remember the constitutional implications of Ira Einhorn's case more than the crime, which in itself is a terrible kind of injustice.

One afternoon in Philadelphia I asked Gelman: What of Holly Maddux's family -- neither powerful, nor rich, nor on the cutting edge of an intellectual tradition, just Americans, the people whom the Constitution is there to protect? Gelman paused before the question, clearly a key one for any criminal lawyer, and answered: "[T]he Constitution does not say that everybody who commits a crime will go to jail. It doesn't say that. The Constitution does say that if you're accused of a crime, you're entitled to a lawyer and jury, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, presumption of innocence. That's the way the Constitution is written.

"As you would expect," he added, as if an afterthought, "having been written by revolutionaries who were accused by the Crown of various and sundry offenses."


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