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09/26/89 the People of the State of v. Donald Lang

September 26, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE

v.

DONALD LANG, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT

THE COMMITMENT ORDERS IN HEARINGS THREE THROUGH NINE WERE AFFIRMED BY THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT. PEOPLE

v.

LANG (1986), 113 ILL. 2D 407, 498 N.E.2D 1105. IN ORDER TO PLACE THIS APPEAL IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE, WE WILL SUMMARIZE THE HISTORY OF THE PRIOR LITIGATION WHICH CAUSES THIS MATTER TO REGULARLY APPEAR ON THE COURT CALENDAR.



Before considering whether the evidence presented at the tenth, eleventh and twelfth hearings was sufficient to support the orders of involuntary admission, we note that there have been four additional hearings (thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth). As noted by our supreme court in People v. Lang (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 407, 471-72, 498 N.E.2d 1105:

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

545 N.E.2d 327, 189 Ill. App. 3d 384, 136 Ill. Dec. 803 1989.IL.1491

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph Schneider and the Hon. Marjan P. Staniec, Judges, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE BILANDIC delivered the opinion of the court. HARTMAN and SCARIANO, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BILANDIC

This consolidated appeal involves the tenth (No. 86-0702), eleventh (No. 86-2532), and twelfth (No. 87-1555) consecutive civil commitment hearings on respondent, Donald Lang, pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (hereinafter the Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-100, et seq.). The commitment orders from the three hearings involved in this appeal have expired and are no longer in effect.

While this appeal was pending, four additional civil commitment hearings, the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth consecutive hearings, were held in accordance with the periodic review provision of the Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, par. 3-813.) In each instance, the circuit court entered an order determining that the respondent was subject to involuntary admission under section 1-119 of the Code. These orders are not involved in this appeal.

In 1965, respondent was indicted for the murder of a woman in Chicago, Illinois. Defendant who was and is an illiterate deaf mute unable to cooperate with counsel, was found incompetent to stand trial. A trial was never held for this murder because of respondent's condition and also because the State's main witness died.

In 1971, respondent was arrested and charged with the murder of a second woman under circumstances similar to the first murder. He was tried and convicted on evidence which was largely uncontested. This court reversed the conviction based on the fact that respondent was unable to communicate with counsel. (People v. Lang (1975), 26 Ill. App. 3d 648, 325 N.E.2d 305, cert. denied (1976), 423 U.S. 1079, 47 L. Ed. 2d 90, 96 S. Ct. 866.) In March 1976, respondent was found unfit to stand trial for this second murder.

In December 1976, the trial court found that respondent was not a person in need of mental treatment and set bail for him. However, respondent was never released but spent the next several years either in the Cook County jail or in the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute. In 1979, our supreme court reversed the trial court's finding and ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support an involuntary admission to the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.

In March 1981, the trial court again found respondent unfit to stand trial and also found that he was unlikely to become fit within a year. As required by statute, the trial court dismissed the murder charge with leave to reinstate. The circuit court then obtained jurisdiction to conduct the first civil commitment hearing at which respondent was found to be subject to involuntary commitment.

Meanwhile, in 1986, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that, even though the murder charges had been dismissed and never reinstated, respondent was entitled to another fitness hearing and also to a discharge hearing if he was again found to be unfit. (People v. Lang (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 407, 498 N.E.2d 1105.) A discharge hearing is like a criminal trial in that an unfit defendant may be acquitted outright or acquitted on grounds of insanity of a criminal charge, but is unlike a criminal trial in that a conviction may not be entered. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 104-25.) At a discharge hearing, the State has the burden to prove the defendant guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 104-25(b).

On March 31, 1987, the trial court found respondent unfit to stand trial. On May 7, 1987, the court found that the State had proved respondent guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the second murder and thus ruled against respondent at the discharge hearing. On June 4, 1987, the court ruled that under section 104-28(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, respondent was no longer subject to criminal court jurisdiction, and further ruled that respondent could be committed to the Department of Mental Health only in a civil ...


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