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Man who shot Reagan wants unsupervised day trips

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Prosecutors: Hinckley remains a danger to community

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawyers for John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Reagan in 1981, will ask a federal court Monday to let their client take day trips to his parents' house in Virginia and stay overnight with them.

Federal prosecutors are fighting the request, arguing in a pre-hearing memorandum last week that Hinckley cannot be trusted and would represent a danger to the community.

"No one knows what Mr. Hinckley is thinking. He has boasted that he can fool medical experts, and he continually has been proven deceptive about important matters throughout the years of his hospitalization," a government court document said.

In 1982, a jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to assassinate Reagan and wounding a Secret Service agent and presidential spokesman James Brady outside a hotel in Washington. He has been institutionalized at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington ever since.

At Monday's hearing, Hinckley's attorneys will ask that he be permitted to make five day trips to the home of his parents, Jack and Jo Ann Hinckley, in Williamsburg, Virginia, about 150 miles south of Washington. It also seeks five overnight visits at their home.

In court documents, Hinckley's lawyers said witnesses -- including government experts -- will testify that he would pose no danger to himself or others during such a conditional release.

For several years, Hinckley has been allowed to leave the hospital, but he is always accompanied by hospital staff. The defense said those visits have "been a great success."

In its court filing, the defense also said that it is "undisputed that the psychosis and depression from which Mr. Hinckley suffered at the time of the original commitment to the hospital have been in full and stable remission for over a decade."

The hospital is arguing in favor of a gradual schedule of unsupervised visits, which would begin with day trips and overnight stays with Hinckley's parents in the Washington area, followed later by overnight stays with his parents at their home in Williamsburg.

But in their court filing, prosecutors stressed the court may release Hinckley only if it is satisfied that his parents will provide for the security of the community during conditional releases.

"Neither Mr. Hinckley nor the hospital may ask the court to rely on presence of agents of Secret Service to provide security for the community, because there is no factual basis to find that agents provide such security," prosecutors said in their court filing.

However, lawyers for Hinckley said the government has so far not offered any concrete reasons why the unsupervised visits should not go forward, saying its opposition "is based solely on an appeal to irrational fear and anger, rather than on the evidence."

Prosecutors point to a statement Hinckley made in 1987, when asking for supervised visits, in which he said he was able to deceive his psychiatrists.

But the defense lawyers say relying on that statement today is "disingenuous," because the government has not offered any proof Hinckley believes that now.

In its filing, the defense lawyers disclosed that they had arrived at an agreement with Washington's U.S. Attorney's office "that would have permitted Mr. Hinckley to take part in conditional releases," but it was rejected by the Justice Department.

At Monday's hearing, the Justice Department plans to call two prominent psychiatrists to bolster its case against the visits, while the defense plans to call two experts of its own who have treated Hinckley at the hospital and will argue he does not pose a danger.

The hearing is expected to last about two days.
post #2 of 21
John Hinckley needs to stay right where he is. He is lucky he didn't get life in prison. If he were in prison, he would not be allowed out for day trips to mamma and daddy's house. This man is seriously deranged and who knows who has become his fixation while he has been in a mental hospital.
post #3 of 21
I was living in the DC area when this whole thing happened. The "professional witness" that testified and got him declared insane was interviewed after the trial and asked why he thought Hinckley was insane. His response: "Anyone that would shoot someone is insane!" Amazing isn't it. He carefully planned the whole event, generally an automatic "not insane" criteria. Yet in this case, the jury bought the testimony of this "expert."

George
post #4 of 21
He needs to be supervised in my opinion. He shot a man and is mentally ill.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by dtolle
He needs to be supervised in my opinion. He shot a man and is mentally ill.

I Agree
post #6 of 21
Breaking news: Judge grants John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Reagan, unsupervised visits with his family. Details soon.

From the front page of www.cnn.com
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by CharmsDad
I was living in the DC area when this whole thing happened. The "professional witness" that testified and got him declared insane was interviewed after the trial and asked why he thought Hinckley was insane. His response: "Anyone that would shoot someone is insane!" Amazing isn't it. He carefully planned the whole event, generally an automatic "not insane" criteria. Yet in this case, the jury bought the testimony of this "expert."

George
I have to agree with you there.
post #8 of 21
According to recent reports, he is STILL obsessed with Jodie Foster and continues to write letters to her. Right there is proof that he is not safe to be on the loose. Just WHO is going to supervise him?

The guy who shot up the US Capitol and killed a cop, a few years ago, was on a release from a mental hospital, too.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by katl8e
According to recent reports, he is STILL obsessed with Jodie Foster and continues to write letters to her. Right there is proof that he is not safe to be on the loose. Just WHO is going to supervise him?

The guy who shot up the US Capitol and killed a cop, a few years ago, was on a release from a mental hospital, too.
His defence lawyers probably argued that the obsession was a separate matter and that it's unfair to link it with the attempted assasination of Reagan.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Who's to say he won't shoot Bush in the name of love for Jodie Foster?
post #11 of 21
The full story from cnn.com

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981 will be allowed to have limited, unsupervised visits with his parents, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman decided that John Hinckley Jr. can have six, one-day visits with his parents within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C., without an escort from St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where he has been confined since the assassination attempt.

The judge denied Hinckley's request for overnight visits, or visits to his parents' home in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is outside the 50-mile limit.

The visits could begin after the holidays, but not sooner because Hinckley's parents must file an itinerary with the court two weeks in advance.

Reagan, who now suffers from Alzheimer's disease, was wounded when Hinckley shot him, his press secretary, James Brady, and two others outside the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He said he shot the president to impress actress Jodie Foster, a student at Yale University at the time.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a written statement she was disappointed by the judge's ruling.

"Although the judge limited Mr. Hinckley's travel to the Washington, D.C., area, we continue to fear for the safety of the general public," the statement said.

"Our thoughts are with all of Mr. Hinckley's victims today, especially Jim Brady and his family, as they must continue to live with the tragic consequences of the assassination attempt."

Brady's wife, Sarah, has also opposed Hinckley's release without hospital supervision.

In his decision, the judge added that if strict conditions are met and the initial six visits go well, Hinckley may eventually be allowed to have two overnight visits with his parents -- again within a 50-mile radius of Washington.

The court order requires Hinckley's parents to formally sign an agreement to assume supervisory responsibility for their son. The Hinckleys will also be required to maintain telephone contact with the hospital during the visits.

"If there are any signs of decompensation or deterioration in Mr. Hinckley's mental condition, no matter how slight, of danger to himself or others, or of elopement, Mr. Hinckley will immediately be returned to the hospital," the court said.

The judge wrote that Hinckley must also continue to take his psychotropic medication and must refuse to speak with the media.

"Should Mr. Hinckley fail to adhere to any of the conditions of release imposed on him by this order, this conditional release will be terminated immediately," Friedman's decision said.

Mark Corallo, the chief spokesman for Attorney General John Ashcroft, called Wednesday's decision "unfortunate."

"We are disappointed in the court's decision to grant John Hinckley Jr. limited conditional release under the supervision of his parents," Corallo said. "It is unfortunate that the concerns of the Reagan and Brady families were not accorded more weight in this decision."

In hearings earlier this month, Justice Department lawyers fought Hinckley's attempts to win unescorted visits with his family, despite testimony from several psychiatrists, including some who were formerly the government's own experts, that he no longer represents a threat.

Prosecutors argued that Hinckley still engages in "deception" and represents a potential danger to the community.

Ken Duberstein, Reagan's former chief of staff, said on CNN's "Inside Politics" he disagrees with the judge's decision.

"The idea that John Hinckley, who tried to kill our beloved Ronald Reagan, walks free on the streets of Washington? Who knows what he might, what havoc he might wreak," he said with disgust.

"Of course, he can't be unsupervised. He needs more than adult supervision. He needs police supervision," Duberstein said.

The court ruling also specifically forbids Hinckley from any contact with Leslie DeVeau, a former patient at St. Elizabeth's with whom Hinckley once had a romantic relationship.

It also requires that Hinckley follow a detailed itinerary developed by the hospital and submitted under seal to the court two weeks before each outing.

Government officials said such a requirement would give the Secret Service time to make the necessary arrangements, if it chooses to do so, to monitor Hinckley's travels, presumably from a distance, officials said.

All of Hinckley's past outings in which he was under hospital supervision were monitored by the Secret Service.

The Secret Service said it is reviewing the ruling to decide if it will monitor from afar Hinckley's visits with his parents.

"We continue to review the judge's order," said Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur. "The Secret Service does not discuss issues of protective intelligence, and will not do so in this matter."

Government sources said privately after recent hearings that they expected the Secret Service to keep an eye on Hinckley whatever the judge ruled, but even in private Wednesday officials would not say any such decision has been made.
post #12 of 21
Scary!!!
post #13 of 21
I'm at a loss for words right now.

I don't understand how he was insane. He's of sound mind. Although he chose to use it to act out an assassination attempt.

He can fool someone into thinking that he is sane or insane and this requires using his brain and knowing what to do.

Perhaps criminally insane would be appropriate.
post #14 of 21
Remember that he carefully planned the whole attack over a long period of time - not a sign of insanity. The psychiatrist who was the key witness in getting him declared insane was later interviewed, and his comment: "Of course he's insane, anyone that would shoot another person is insane." So I guess every murderer should be declared insane and let off.

George
post #15 of 21
Amazing to me that they would allow trips within a city packed with politicians. Thankfully, Secret Service will be following him on these outings.
post #16 of 21
I think that it is very unfair to his parents to give them the responsibility of supervising him. Just imagine, if something does go wrong, those poor people will be responsible. They cannot possibly have a clue about the consequences, or they would not have agreed to participate in this ridiculous request.
post #17 of 21
Being in Wales this isn't as 'on my doorstep' as it is for most of you.If he's 'sane' enough to be allowed visits home unsupervised why is he not 'sane' enough to go to a real prison to pay for his crimes. I agree, it doesn't make much sense to let him wander round unsupervised!
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by jeeperscat
Being in Wales this isn't as 'on my doorstep' as it is for most of you.If he's 'sane' enough to be allowed visits home unsupervised why is he not 'sane' enough to go to a real prison to pay for his crimes. I agree, it doesn't make much sense to let him wander round unsupervised!
This case is partially responsible for "guilty but insane laws", wherein a person judged insane at the time of the crime is confined to a mental hospital, until such time that they're deemed sane. Then, they are incarcerated in prison for a normal sentence. Either way, they never get out.

John Hinckley is responsible for making it a lot tougher to use the insanity defense. The younger of the D.C.-area snipers is trying it, now. I don't think that its going to work.
post #19 of 21
Does anyone recall what it was abt his obsession with Jodie Foster that motivated him to try to kill Reagan? She must be thrilled abt this as well.
post #20 of 21
Does anyone recall what it was abt his obsession with Jodie Foster that motivated him to try to kill Reagan? She must be thrilled abt this as well.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucia
Does anyone recall what it was abt his obsession with Jodie Foster that motivated him to try to kill Reagan? She must be thrilled abt this as well.
Or seriously worried.
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