A 65 year-old Wisconsin man who once testified before State Legislators that he received personal visions and messages from God is being prosecuted by the federal government and faces life in prison. Ralph W. Lang, who was arrested in 2011 for plotting to kill abortion doctors at Planned Parenthood, has been re-indicted by the Federal Government. He is currently in custody awaiting trial on both state and federal charges.
Maintaining that the elderly anti-abortion activist is fit to stand trial is dubious at best, with Lang himself requesting a plea of insanity, which was rejected. In recorded testimony before his State Legislature in 2008 three years before his arrest, Lang asserted, among other things, that "Now I've heard the voice of God Himself. Just like Moses in the bible. Okay?" and "God has actually took my rib. Three times. Just like God took the rib from Adam and made Eve in the Bible, I can tell ya..." Before leaving the podium, Lang foreshadowed his actions, warning witless lawmakers that "Anybody who assists in abortions should be executed and killed... Any judge thats approved abortion in america should be executed and killed..." Lang told lawmakers that felt personally culpable for the "horrendous crime in America," adding "And I might be the one who's most responsible. Because i wish I would have done what God wanted me to do right away- I'll be honest to ya."
Lang, of Marshfield, Wisconsin, had reportedly travelled approximately 150 miles to Madison, WI in a 2011 plot to kill doctors at Planned Parenthood who were performing abortions. Lang was arrested on May 25, 2011 after his .38 caliber handgun accidently went off in a Madison motel room. He was initially charged with "2nd Degree Reckless Endangering Safety" by Wisconsin prosecutors. The Madison WI Police Report, stamped at 9:51 PM the night of the arrest, noted that Lang, 63 at the time, was arrested at the Motel 6 located at 1754 Thierer Rd.
After Lang's gun accidently went off and shot through his motel room door into an adjacent room, he apologized to motel staff, offering to pay for damages. When police arrived, Lang allegedly told them he was going to use the gun to take out "to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies." "What was I going to do? Take a gun, drop the abortionist...stop them from killing other people and other babies," Lang allegedly told police.
In the aftermath of his arrest, Wisconsin Right to Life stated they "deplores the alleged actions" of the suspect and were "unequivocally opposed to the use of violence." Teri Huyck, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, stated "Our primary concern today and every day is the health and safety of our patients, staff and volunteers. ...We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the law enforcement agencies working with us to ensure Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin continues to be a safe and trusted health care provider for Wisconsin women and families."
On May 26, 2011, John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Lang "was charged today in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Madison with attempting to injure, intimidate, and interfere with other persons because those persons were providing reproductive health services." The press release added that "Lang traveled from Marshfield to Madison on May 25. While loading his handgun, he discharged a bullet through the door of his hotel room into the room across the hall. Madison Police responded and Lang was arrested for reckless endangerment. In statements to police, he admitted that he had traveled to Madison to kill individuals performing abortions."
Lang was initially held on $200,000 bail and faced state charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in Dane County. In June 2011, Lang was denied access to a public defender based on income, and his attorney filed a motion for a mental competency exam.
At the time of the federal indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice stated "The second count of the indictment charges Lang with using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. ..If convicted, Lang faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on the first count in the indictment, and a mandatory 10 years in federal prison on the second count, to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case is being handled by United States Attorney John W. Vaudreuil, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman, and Forrest Christian, Special Litigation Counsel of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division."
On March 29, 2013 the Associated Press reported that defense attorneys were tying to get the charged dismissed on a techicality- since Lang was charged "with attempting to injure people participating in a federally funded program," lawyers argued that the charge should be dismissed "because even though Planned Parenthood receives federal funds, that money can't be used to provide abortions." The government had until April 22nd to file a response.
In this LibertyFight.com exclusive, we have obtained the government's response to Lang's request for dismissal and also an exclusive copy of the fed's re-indictment of Lang on different charges, filed April 24th. The government's brief, filed the day of their April 22 deadline in the U.S. District Court For the Western District of Wisconsin, stated in part: (emphasis added)
Two days later on Wednesday April 24th, the government re-indicted Lang. The two-page indictment can be seen here. Signed by the "Presiding Juror" and U.S. Attorney John W. Vaundreuil, the document states, in part:
"Defendant Ralph Lang moves to dismiss the Indictment, contending (1) that Count 1 fails to clearly allege an offense such that it is certain that the grand jury found probable cause that Lang committed the intended federal offense...in an abundance of caution and without conceding the legitimacy of Lang's claim, the government intends to seek a clarifying indictment. If the new indictment is returned, Lang's first argument will necessarily be moot."
"...Lang's mischaracterization of the government's intended proof shows a fundamental misunderstanding of federal funding at Planned Parenthood. Federal funding is by healthcare practice, not by practitioner. Put another way, what a practitioner does for a patient governs the possibility of federal funding, not the title and position of the practitioner. Nurses and doctors who perform surgical abortion services, which receive no federal funding, also perform numerous healthcare services which are eligible for federal funding, including prescribing and dispersing birth control pills and emergency contraception pills (the "morning-after" pill) . Lang made it clear in his recorded statement that he intended to kill both doctors and nurses, all of whom provide many healthcare services eligible for federal funding, and he specifically noted that he intended to stop both surgical abortion and "chemical abortion," which he stated included birth control pills and the "morning-after" pill. Thus, there are clearly facts sufficient for a jury to find that Lang intended to kill health care providers who provided health care services eligible for federal funding. Lang argues that he attempted to murder solely an abortion-providing doctor and, since Planned Parenthood receives no federal funds for abortion services, the government cannot prove this case. Despite Lang's attempt to style this as an attack on the indictment, it is instead an attack on the evidence. What Lang wants is a pretrial ruling from the Court that the government's proof -- as viewed by the defendant -- will be insufficient to prove the charge in Count 1. This is simply a request for the equivalent of summary judgment, a procedure that does not exist in a criminal case. ...As such, Lang's motion to dismiss on this basis should be denied..."
The Grand Jury Charges:
COUNT 1 - RALPH LANG, by force and threat of force, willfully attempted to injure, to intimidate, and to interfere with persons because they were and had been participating in and enjoying the benefits of a program and activity receiving Federal financial assistance, and in order to intimidate such persons and other persons from participating in and enjoying the benefits of a program and actvity receiing Federal financial assistance. LANG's acts included the use and threatened use of a dangerous weapon, specifically a firearm...(In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 245(b)(1)(E).
COUNT 2 - ...Lang "Knowingly and intentionally used a firearm, during and in relation to a crime of violence for which he may be prosecuted in a court of the United States... (In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(I).
Born in January 1948, Lang has a paper trail of minor offenses and court cases in the local Wisconsin Courts, including a Failure to wear seat belt ticket in March 2010, to which he pled no contest; a civil judgement against Lang for $ 998.50 in a "Condemnation review" from the City of Marshfield filed in July 2010; a speeding ticket for going 1-10MPH over the limit in the City of Pittsville on 6-5-09, to which he pled no contest and paid $ 160.80; a seat belt ticket where he was found not guilty in Pittsville in June 2009; an "Appeal From Municipal Ct Judgmt" on 7-8-08 vs. the Edgerton Muncipal Court; a "Disorderly Conduct" charge which was "Dismissed on Prosecutor's Motion" in Dane County on 12-26-07; and a divorce proceeding on 9-28-98 "In RE the marriage of Cynthia Lang and Ralph Lang", with Cynthia Lang listed as the Petitioner.
Court documents also reveal that Lang wanted to plead insanity in his federal criminal case:
"Next we discussed Lang's January 7, 2013 notice of his intent to assert a defense of insanity pursuant to F.R. Crim. Pro. 12.2(a). The parties agreed that they would meet and confer about the content and timing of any additional exchanges of information covered by Rule 12.2(b) & (c]. If they cannot agree on what else to do and when to do it, then they will notify the court. Lang, by counsel, flagged his intent to ask the court to use a pretrial juror questionnaire and to allow the attorneys directly to question prospective jurors during the in-court selection process. The government opposes both proposals."
Lang is next due in state court on May 28th at 8:30AM for Jury selection, (Dane County Case Number 2011CF000935) charged with 940.01(1)(a) 1st-Degree Intentional Homicide -Felony B. The Jury Trial is slated for May 29th and 30th, with Judge Nicholas J. McNamara presiding.( 8th Floor, Courtroom 8B.) [details here or here.]
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