"I was hopeful [the Supreme Court] would take it," said Norris E. Gelman, Einhorn's attorney.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime issue. It will never arise again."
Gelman said that because the case is unique and "fascinating," he thought the high court might assume jurisdiction, under the authority called king's bench powers. But in the high court's 23-word order released early yesterday, it said little other than that the request "is denied."
"As far as I see, it opens the door for a new trial," said Assistant District Attorney Joel Rosen. "Now, the ball can get rolling here."
Maddux's mummified body was found in 1979 stuffed in a trunk in the Powelton Village apartment she and Einhorn, a prominent Philadelphia counterculture figure and antiwar activist, had shared.
Einhorn says he was framed. He jumped bail and disappeared in 1981, shortly before he was to go on trial. He was convicted in absentia in 1993. He eluded authorities until 1997, when he was found living under a false name in Champagne-Mouton, France.
To secure his return to the United States, in 1998 the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law that granted him an unprecedented new trial upon his return if he requested one.
Some legal scholars believe legislators violated constitutional separation of powers and the state's post-conviction appeal deadlines, according to the petition filed on Einhorn's behalf to the Supreme Court.
Einhorn had petitioned Common Pleas Court for a new trial, but he requested that the court hold off until the Supreme Court ruled.
It's possible, but unlikely, Judge Keogh could deny Einhorn's request for a new trial, lawyers said.
"Anything is possible," Rosen said.
Barbara Boyer's e-mail address is email@example.com.