Should President Reagan shooter John Hinckley get more freedom?
In court hearings this week, experts and advocates are debating whether John Hinckley Jr. should be allowed greater freedom away from the psychiatric hospital where he’s been held since he shot former President Ronald Reagan and others 30 years ago.
In recent years, Mr. Hinckley, who was found not guilty of the 1981 attack by reason of insanity, has been allowed supervised time away from St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, including unsupervised visits of up to 10 days with his parents in Williamsburg, Va. He’s also been allowed to have a driver’s license.
Now the hospital wants to allow two visits of 17 days, followed by six visits of 24 days. The hospital also wants the authority to place Hinckley on “convalescent leave” without court approval, which would allow him to live with his 85-year-old mother (his father died three years ago) for an indefinite period - perhaps permanently.
Barry Levine, Hinckley’s lawyer, says there is no evidence that his client is a danger to himself or to others.
“The record is replete with uninterrupted success for over two decades,” he told the Associated Press last week. “There hasn’t been a shred of evidence of danger as a result of mental disease. Not a shred.”