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Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 11:59:22 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Lawyers: Einhorn's fate was in his own hands
Lawyers: Einhorn's fate was in his own hands
Legal experts said it was clear he controlled the defense strategies. His
biggest problem: His ego.
By Jacqueline Soteropoulos
Inquirer Staff Writer
Oct. 18, 2002
Ira Einhorn's defense was an impossible mission - even for such a highly
regarded attorney as William Cannon.
In the end, it is always the client who has the final word on the defense
strategy. And top lawyers in this city say this particular client did
"It was predictable that Ira Einhorn was going to insist on his own defense
theory. It was predictable that Ira Einhorn was going to insist on an
antagonistic defense," said Brian McMonagle, a criminal-defense lawyer and
former Philadelphia homicide prosecutor.
"That's how he led his entire life. He always thought he was smarter than
everyone else. But in the end... that wasn't the case," McMonagle said.
Criminal-defense attorney Tariq El-Shabazz said he believed that Einhorn
simply refused to follow Cannon's sound legal advice.
"Sometimes you have clients who don't want to listen to what you say... and
sometimes it blows up in their face," El-Shabazz said yesterday.
Common Pleas Court Judge D. Webster Keogh, supervising judge of the criminal
division, appointed Cannon last year to represent Einhorn because of the
lawyer's vast experience with homicide cases. Einhorn could not afford to
hire a lawyer.
This week, legal experts called the Einhorn-Cannon pairing a "surreal"
match - the former long-haired rabble-rouser and the starched Republican
lawyer who once ran for district attorney.
Cannon's colleagues believe the case was one of the most difficult of his
career, given the volume of evidence, the personality of his client, and the
client's desire to base his defense on such theories as "psychotronic" mind
"I put the case in Ira's lap to win it or lose it," Cannon told reporters
after the verdict. "It all came down to Ira's ability to sell Ira to the
jury... . And the jury obviously rejected his testimony."
Defense attorney Jules Epstein, an adjunct professor of law at the
University of Pennsylvania, said Cannon faced a lot of difficulties.
"Number one, he has a client with a very strong ego, and that's a very
difficult situation for any lawyer. Number two, whether guilty of innocent,
there's a lot of damning evidence, and you're forced to explain away many
"Number three, obviously this is a case where the jury has total sympathy
for the victim and no reason to sympathize with the defendant because of his
grandiosity, because of his life as a fugitive, and because of what many
will perceive as his arrogance."
Finally, since Einhorn would not compromise on his innocence and allow his
attorney to argue for a lesser degree of murder, his options were limited,
McMonagle believes the Einhorn defense team should have built the case
around a voluntary-manslaughter theory - that Einhorn committed the slaying,
but that it was done in the heat of passion during an argument, and that he
never intended to kill Holly Maddux, his girlfriend of five years.
Cannon said his strategy was to try and show reasonable doubt by attacking
the forensics and presenting three witnesses who testified they saw Maddux
alive in 1978 - the year after prosecutors said she was slain.
Lawyers and prosecutors also believe that Cannon's aggressive interrogation
of some witnesses - including suggestions that extended to lesbian
attraction to Maddux - was likely at Einhorn's insistence.
"I think the questioning was to some degree affected by his client," said
Assistant District Attorney Joel Rosen, who won the conviction.
McMonagle more bluntly called it "witness-bashing."
"I was rather shocked by it, but I think Bill was instructed to do that by
his client," McMonagle said.
Because Einhorn maintained his innocence, Rosen and other attorneys agreed,
he needed to testify.
"The circumstantial evidence offered in that trial... was so heavy and so
immense," Cannon said. "There was no chance in the world that he would be
found not guilty if they didn't hear from Ira."
Contact Jacqueline Soteropoulos at 215-854-4497 or
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