The Einhorn affair

October 17, 2002 Today, Einhorn was found guilty of murder and faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole for first-degree murder

September 29, Einhorn on Einhorn, why they are framing him

Version française

Documents in RealVideo

The myth about Earth Day (see also FAQ)

FAQ, (in English) - FAQ (in French)
Site of the victim

Now in reprint, the exhaustively researched and still authoritative account of this case, The Unicorn's Secret by Steven Levy (now senior editor at Newsweek), first published in 1988 .

News bites
January 11, 2002 Einhorn's new trial is set to begin September 30th, 2002

July 12, 2001 The Conseil d'Etat made its decision, rejecting all of Einhorn's arguments and thus clearing the last hurdle to extradition. Today at his residence in Southern France, Einhorn cut his neck with a knife but was in tipper condition to walk to an ambulance. His wife declared this a political act, rather than one of desperation.
Einhorn's bloody theatrics addressed to the PM Jospin ("as socialist and ex-trotskyite") in RealVideo (82 kbytes)
This photo and the interview were made before (minor) medical treatment.

Jospin promised a one-week suspension of the extradition order awaiting news from the European Court of Human Rights, whose appeals are, by the way, not supposed to be suspensive of extradition.

July 13,2001 Einhorn has been released from the hospital and returned to his home A police guard remains but evidently only to protect him from others

Juin 2001 : Une demande d'asile politique aux Etats-Unis révèle la complicité des magistrats français dans la pédophilie.
L'Affaire Kalinka, l'escamotage par les autorités françaises et allemandes du meurtre d'une jeune fille (fiascos de condamnation par contumace, extradition, ...)

September 19th, 2000 : Einhorn press conference at the HQ of the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, 27 rue Jean Dolent, Paris 750014. Only those journalists, parliamentarians, etc. invited by Einhorn's lawyers were admitted.
Questions à poser à la conférence de presse d'Ira Einhorn

Clips in RealVideo

Einhorn's lawyers announced their request for a "«recours gracieux»" of the PM Jospin, asking him to reverse his signing of the extradition decree. This is supposed to give them two more months after the deadline for appeal to the Conseil d'Etat which expired September 20, 2000.

After the conference, various French media reported as fact certain untruths (applicability of the death penalty, etc.) even though they had the truth available to them. France 2, the main state-owned TV chain stated: "Einhorn has received the support of a very large number (très nombreux) of elected officials of both right and left". These examples of junk journalism by the leading media as well as the misuse of France's League of Human Rights will be covered in detail later on.

August 2000: The French authorities have assigned four police officers (from the Gendarmerie and Police Nationale) to guard Einhorn's residence, rather than put him in detention as is normally done. Einhorn's lawyer says that it was he who requested this, to protect Einhorn. These officers occupy their time by playing cards. Einhorn can easily escape through the bushes.

July 21, 2000: Jospin has finally signed the extradition order ! Einhorn now has 60 days to file appeal at the Conseil d'Etat, and this procedure can take a year or two. Einhorn is still at liberty but now guarded day and night by the Gendarmerie

27 juillet 2000, Sudouest (quotidien), amer article par un partisan d'Einhorn, fallacieux et trompeux sur l'applicabilité de la peine de mort, sur la constitutionalité d'un nouveau procès, et sur une "véritable hystérie médiatique" aux Etats-Unis.
26 juillet 2000, Sudouest
Voir FAQ avant d'accorder créance à ces articles.

December 1999: Esquire magazine has an article on Ira Einhorn, featuring an interview and a provocative nude picture of him. He also boasts of making sex with his Annika on the terrasse, visible to hikers on adjoining land.
May 27th 1999: The Cour de Cassation, France's supreme court, ruled that Einhorn may be returned to the United States to stand trial. Next the Prime Minister was to sign the order within two weeks, but now his office says they have no such file. If this act is ever done, then there is an appeal to the Conseil d'Etat. Meanwhile, Einhorn remains at liberty.

Lettre au Premier Ministre, envoyée le 25 septembre 1999 en réponse à l'intervention de Me Delthil

On May 9 and 10, 1999 NBC aired a miniseries "The Hunt For the Unicorn Killer" (Seattle Times), based on the book by Steven Levy. This is a fictionalized account which, among other variances from the facts, gives the impression that Einhorn was a founder of Earth Day. See letter to NBC

February 18, 1999: The request for extradition has been approved by the court in Bordeaux, on condition that Einhorn be allowed retrial and that the death penalty not be applied, conditions already assured. Cour de Cassation is next step.

Burden of Proof, transcript of CNN program, February 26, 1999. Participants: Steven Levy, author, Meg Wakeman, sister of victim, Mandy Deroche, comparative law professor, Jim Feinerman, and defense lawyer Kenny Robinson

Noted from Philly archives:
Einhorn lawyer Dominique Tricaud pins his client's hopes on a groundswell of support by the French people, goaded by an anti-American press and political rabble-rousers.

Dispute over killer sends Franco-Philly relations to new low, Philadelphia Daily News, Feb 24, 1999
anti-American sentiment blossomed among some French journalists covering the case

Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb 19 1999, contains the French judges' comments: it is not for France to judge US constitutionality, the death penalty does not apply since the crime was committed before its reinstatement, and they saw no political character to the crime. The article also sketches the next procedures in what can be a two-year judicial odyssey.

A comprehensive article up to Jul. 20, 2001, Time magazine

La France protège un meurtrier, VSD, 11-17 février 1999, six pages sur l'affaire
Le Yankee des Charentes, traqué par un cadavre, Libération 18 février, 1999
Les derniers jours d'Ira, Journal du Dimanche, 14 février 1999
L'extrade en suspens, Figaro (quotidien) 19 février 1999
Attention ! Ces quatres articles contiennent des néfastes erreurs. Voir FAQ,

"A Plea to France ..." The International Herald Tribune, 14 Jan 1999, an authoritative article with comments on Le Vrai Journal
Le Monde, 12 janvier, 1999 l'histoire en bref jusqu'à cette date

Le Vrai Journal, satirical/sensationalist TV program, translated to English, shows example of French press treatment of this affair
Le Vrai Journal 10 janvier 1999 (RealVideo in French, 800k)
This program, along with the French press in general, assert that Einhorn was condemned and pursued by "conservative America", that it was just a "crime passionnel" concerning his "girl-friend", which according to French values doesn't merit more than a minimal punishment. The victim is not portrayed as a human being, nothing is said about the fact that the murder was well-planned, that Einhorn had committed (and written rapturously about in his diary) two previous murderous acts, nor that the victim had already left him. The makeup of the jury in the 'absentia' trial and its reasons for conviction are pertinent here.

Larry King Live, December 2, 1998 (transcript) The victims sisters just returned from Bordeaux

Jan 98: Pennsylvania governor signs provision for Einhorn retrial

A comprehensive article A Guru Goes Free by Steven Levy
from Newsweek International, December 15, 1997

Petition for Ira Einhorn, an unauthorized translation of a handbill circulated by Annika Flodin (Einhorn's wife)
Extraits du journal d'Ira Einhorn, ses pensées sadiques après des assauts meurtriers

see also
Netscape search on the Einhorn case

Le Monde, 23 septembre 1997
La cavale d'Ira Einhorn, un ancien hippie que les Etats-Unis réclament
Le Monde, 6 décembre 1997
La cour d'appel de Bordeaux refuse l'extradition de l'ancien leader hippie Ira Einhorn
(et un court article de Libération du 5 décembre 1997)

Seattle Times, February 19, 1998
When men batter ... by Carey Quan Gelernter, Seattle Times staff reporter

A portrait of Einhorn, by Maralyn Lois Polak who knew him way back when

Crime-writer's version


These pages, and others to come, concern themselves with several themes:

Many of us have had the experience of coming into a new milieu of social activists with our simple tail-wagging attitude, only to find that there is a nefarious underside to all this talk of peace and social justice.

The Internet has no lack of visionaries like Ira Einhorn, though their words are now lost in the cacaphony of forums, not given unmerited attention as Einhorn enjoyed from the 1970s radical-chic of Philadelphia. True, Einhorn made an impression on learned and respected thinkers with his avant garde ideas and knowledge of many things, derived from voracious reading. But a true visionary has a solid basis in reality and the technical knowledge to speak authoritatively.

The recent expansion of sects shows how seemingly well-educated young people can still fall under the spell of a person who expouses irrational ideas, leading them into a rejection of their existing human values. The guru must control the sensory input of his acolytes, else they won't follow his line of thought. But he himself falls victim to his own increasingly irrealist ideas. He acquires a sense of impunity which leads him to derive enjoyment from arbitrary and harmful treatment of those under his spell.

Some insight into this person's sadistic nature are found in his personal notes, presented at (backup at

The French legal system became involved in this story as a result of the dogged efforts of the chief of extradition at the DA's office who finally traced Einhorn to this country. The extradition should have been a routine matter, except that Einhorn benefitted from the services of pricey lawyers who knew what buttons to push, those that would get to the French judges.

France prides itself for its written germano-roman law and the quasi-mystical republican values. They are typically contrasted with the values of the common law countries, notably the USA, which are alleged to be inferior and even barbaric. Since these two systems are coming more and more into conflict, it is worthwhile examining the differences.

The French press gave very little coverage to the story in its early stages, even though it involved important judicial principles, and they certainly didn't question the righteousness of the decision to refuse extradition. The appeals judges considered only the argument that Einhorn would not normally get a retrial on return, thus supposedly in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights. The government of Pennsylvania then enacted a bill permitting retrial for any returned fugitive. We will analyse this in more detail as documents become available and also examine the inconsistency with which France applies this Convention and its own Code of procedures. Note that France allows no appeal on the merits of a case if tried before the assises (jury trial), the one jurisdiction for serious crimes (though this may change). The French courts also allow behavior by prosecutors which would result in a mistrial if held in the USA. The absence of a written transcript (and the strict prohibition of recording) encourages aberrant proceedings.


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