A federal judge said Monday that John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan four decades ago, can be freed from all remaining restrictions next year if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington said during a 90-minute court hearing that he’ll issue his ruling on the plan this week.
Since Mr. Hinckley moved from Washington to Williamsburg (Virginia) in 2016,, doctors and therapists have had to supervise his medication and therapy. He is prohibited from owning a firearm. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims, or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, whom he was obsessed with at the time of the 1981 shooting.
Mr. Friedman stated that Mr. Hinckley has not displayed any symptoms of an active mental disorder, violent behavior or any interest in guns since 1983..
” If he had not tried to kill President Obama, he would be unconditionally released long ago.” The judge stated. “But everybody is comfortable now after all of the studies, all of the analysis and all of the interviews and all of the experience with Mr. Hinckley.”
Mr. Friedman said the plan is to release Mr. Hinckley from all court supervision in June.
A 2020 Violence risk assessment was conducted for Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health and concluded that Mr. Hinckley wouldn’t pose a threat if he were unconditionally freed.
The U.S. government previously opposed the removal of restrictions. However, the U.S. government recently hired an independent expert to review Mr. Hinckley’s case and changed its position on Monday. Attorneys stated that they will grant unconditional release to Mr. Hinckley if he follows all rules and maintains mental stability over the course of the nine-month period.
KacieWeston, an American attorney, stated that the U.S. government wants Mr. Hinckley to be able to live on his own in 40 years.
He just moved out his mother’s Williamsburg home, located along the Williamsburg golf course. In July, she died. Attorneys did not say where Mr. Hinckley is currently living.
“Mr. “Mr. Hinckley has a history that is inward-oriented and tends to isolate,” Ms. Weston stated.
Another concern is Mr. Hinckley’s impending retirement as a therapist and the end of a therapy group that has been a source of support and interaction. Ms. Weston stated that Mr. Hinckley may have difficulty finding another similar group.
” All we need to do now is wait for a couple more months before making a decision,” Ms. Weston stated. We’ll be able to access hard data. We’ll have information in real time to see how Mr. Hinckley adapts.”
Mr. Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. James Brady, Reagan’s press secretary, was paralysed by the shooting and died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Mr. Hinckley was not present at Monday’s hearing. Barry Levine, Hinckley’s attorney said that Mr. Hinckley was trying to convey his heartfelt apologies to all the victims and their families, as well as Ms. Foster, and the American people.
” “Perhaps this is too much to ask forgiveness,” Mr. Levine stated. “But we hope they have an understanding that the acts that caused him to do this terrible thing [were caused by] mental illness.”
Mr. Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis. Jurors found him innocent by reason of insanity. They said that he required treatment, not lifetime confinement.
Legal experts believe that such an acquittal means Mr. Hinckley cannot be held responsible or punished for the actions he took. He was placed in St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington.
In 2000s Mr. Hinckley started visiting his Williamsburg parents. A 2016 court order granted him permission to live with his mom full time after experts said his mental illness had been in remission for decades.
Mr. Friedman has relaxed some restrictions on Mr. Hinckley over the years. One example is that Mr. Hinckley was allowed to display his art publicly and moved out of his mom’s home. But he’s still barred from traveling to places where he knows there will be someone protected by the Secret Service.
Mr. Hinckley must notify Hinckley three days in advance if Hinckley wants to travel beyond 75 distance from his home. Hinckley must also give passwords to computers, phone, and online accounts, such as email, over to the police.
In recent years, Mr. Hinckley sold items at an antique mall from items he found at flea markets and estate sales. His music has also been shared on YouTube.
” I hope people see this victory for mental healthcare,” Mr. Levine said Monday. “That is the real message in this case – that people who have been ravaged by mental disease, with good support and access to treatment, can actually become productive members of society.”
This story was reported by The Associated Press.