The Bonus Book of the Week is “Dummy” by Ernest Tidyman, published in 1974.
This story describes the unusual situation of a murder suspect whose deafness and muteness raised questions about his ability to stand trial in mid-1960’s Chicago.
Donald Lang, the suspect, had been unable to communicate verbally since birth. He dropped out of school around kindergarten with no legal consequences. With his family’s help, he got along in life sufficiently well to get a job and live relatively happily. There were no witnesses to the murder of which the deaf Lang was accused. However, witnesses saw Lang and the victim prior to finding the victim’s dead body in a stairwell in a bad neighborhood in Chicago.
Fortunately, the attorney assigned to the indigent Lang had been deafened as a child, but read lips and knew sign language. He was the best lawyer in Illinois, that Lang could have gotten.
Read the book to learn how the letter of the law allowed Lang to be indefinitely detained– treated as though he was guilty– because he had no clue about what was happening in the courtroom, and about the arguments his attorney made in determining his fate.