John Hinckley Jr.’s lawyer, who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, said on Monday that a 66-year-old man should be released from the restrictions imposed on him after leaving a hospital in Washington in 2016. I will make a claim in court.
Since Hinckley moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, federal judges have kept him alive under a variety of conditions that affect much of his life. For example, doctors and therapists need to supervise his psychiatric medications and determine how often he participates in individual and group treatment sessions.
Hinckley has a monthly appointment with the Washington Department of Behavioral Health to submit a progress note to federal court — now virtual —. Also, if you are traveling more than 75 miles (120 km) from your home, you must notify us 3 days in advance.
Hinckley also needs to hand over passwords for online accounts such as computers, phones, and emails. He can’t have a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their family or actress Jodie Foster-he got hooked during the 1981 shooting.
Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry Levin, said Hinckley should no longer pose a threat and should be subject to so-called “unconditional release.”
“He has complied with all the requirements of the law,” Levine told The Associated Press last month. “And based on the views of various mental health professionals … he is no longer suffering from mental illness and he has not suffered from mental illness for decades.”
The status meeting is scheduled for Monday before Judge Paul L. Friedman of the US District Court in Washington.
In a May court filing, the US government said it opposed the end of the restrictions. He also hired an expert to investigate Hinckley and determine “whether he would endanger himself or others if released unconditionally.”
The results of such an examination have not been submitted to court. However, a 2020 “violence risk assessment” conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health said Hinckley poses no danger.
Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, who was shot during an attempted assassination, told AP that he “doesn’t have much of a good Christian idea” about Hinckley.
“But I hope they’re right anyway,” said 72-year-old McCarthy, a mental health expert and court. “Because this man’s actions may have changed the course of history.”
Hinckley was 25 when he shot and injured the 40th US President outside a hotel in Washington. The shooting paralyzed Reagan spokesman James Brady, who died in 2014. He also injured McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Hinckley was suffering from an acute mental illness. When the jury admitted that he was not guilty of madness, they said he needed treatment rather than lifelong imprisonment. He was ordered to live in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington.
In the 2000s, Hinckley began visiting his parents’ home in the gated Williamsburg community. A 2016 court order allowed experts to live full-time with their mother, albeit under various restrictions, after stating that his mental illness had been in remission for decades.
Stephen J. Morse, a professor of law and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, said Hinckley’s acquittal by madness meant “he wasn’t punished, not because of those terrible things that happened.”
According to Morse, Hinckley has decades of precedent for deregulation. Most people in Hinckley situations will be released from mental hospitals if they are no longer considered mentally ill or dangerous, he said. And if they obey the rules of court order, unconditional release virtually always follows a period of time.
“People tend to get older from danger by their early 40s, even those with terrible records,” Morse said. “If he hadn’t tried to kill President Reagan, he would have been released many years ago.”
In recent years, Hinckley has been selling merchandise from antique mall booths found at real estate sales, flea markets and consignment stores. He shared his music on YouTube and had a relationship with a woman he met in group therapy.
Federal judge Friedman also relaxed Hinckley’s restrictions from about 30 in 2018 to 17 last year. For example, Hinckley was entitled to publicly exhibit his work and was allowed to leave his mother’s house. But he still can’t travel to places where he knows there is someone protected by the Secret Service.
Hinckley’s mother died in July. By that time he had already moved, according to his lawyer. Levine didn’t say where Hinckley currently lives, but he needed to let the treatment team know where he was moving.
Hinckley’s 2020 risk assessment states that he will stay in the Williamsburg area after his mother’s death, and his brother Scott has shown an interest in living with him.
Last year’s risk assessment recommended that he consider unconditional release. The report said there were no signs that he was seeking access to the weapons. He said he was unlikely to reach out to those who were banned from contact. He hasn’t tried to contact actress Foster since the 1980s, the report said.
Hinckley is said to continue taking psychiatric medications and participate in group therapy.
“The whole thing doesn’t change,” Hinckley said.
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Lawyer urges Reagan’s archer Hinckley not to impose restrictions
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