Reagan Shooter Seeks Unsupervised Visits
By JONATHAN D. SALANT, AP
WASHINGTON (Nov. 17) - John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, should be allowed to visit his parents without being accompanied by psychiatric hospital staff, his lawyer told a federal judge Monday.
John Hinckley, left, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the case.
Barry Levine told U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman that unsupervised visits are the next step in Hinckley's mental health treatment. Levine said that any other patient at a psychiatric hospital would have been allowed such trips by now.
"Is he going to be judged not by the law but by the identity of the victims of his crime?" Levine asked during his opening statement. "There is not a single basis to justify the rejection of this proposal."
Government lawyers gave no opening statement.
Hinckley wants Friedman to let him leave unescorted from St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington and travel three hours away to the Williamsburg, Va., area to see his parents 10 times. Five of the trips would be overnight visits.
Hinckley, 48, has been a patient at St. Elizabeths since his acquittal by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and three others outside a Washington hotel in March 1981. Hinckley said he shot the president to impress actress Jodie Foster.
Hospital officials have said Hinckley's mental health has shown significant improvement and he should be allowed to make unsupervised visits, though they said there should be only two trips initially. Others could follow if the first two go well.
Talk About It
· Chat | Post a Message
Reagan's family and the government oppose the idea. In a recent filing, prosecutors wrote: "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."
In an interview broadcast Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Reagan's son, Ron Reagan Jr., said the would-be assassin now wants a "free pass" for his actions.
Hinkley Wants a Favor
"Maybe if John Hinckley isn't insane any more he needs to just go to prison and there he can reflect for a while on what he did," the former president's son said.
Hinckley sought similar privileges three years ago, but U.S. District Judge June L. Green canceled a hearing after prosecutors said he had a "continued interest in violently themed books and music."
Under a 1999 federal appeals court ruling, Hinckley has been able to take supervised day trips off hospital grounds. The Secret Service, which is responsible for the security of current and former presidents, is notified whenever Hinckley leaves St. Elizabeths.
11/17/03 10:46 EST
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Hey.. no problem.. just let us know which door he's going to use.
He isn't going anywhere until after Ron and Nancy have both passed away.
And Jody Foster.