A judge has refused to prohibit the showing in Illinois of a television movie based on the life of Donald Lang, an illiterate deafmute twice charged with murder.
The public defender's office had asked Cook County Circuit Judge Joseph Schneider to stop the showing in Illinois of the movie "Dummy" because it would violate Lang's right to a fair trial.
Schnieder said prior restraint on the movie's showing "would amount to the burning of the film for the people of the state of Illinois. I do not believe in book burning or film burning."
The judge, noting Lang has spent 11 of the last 12 years in custody, said," perhaps this television program could stir the conscience of men and lead to the training of Donald Lang."
Lang, 32 was charged in 1965 with killing a prostitute and was placed in Dixon state school while the courts decided how to handle a deaf-mute who does not know sign language. He finally was brought to trial five years later, but by then two key witnesses had died and charges were dismissed.
Lang soon was arrested again and charged with killing another prostitute. He went to trial in 1972 and was found guilty. That conviction, however, was thrown out in 1975 by the Illinois appellate court, which ruled Lang's handicaps prevented him from participating in his own defense.