John Hinckley in 2003. (Evan Vucci / Associated…)
John Hinckley, the man who shot and wounded President Reagan, should be allowed to spend more time with family in Virginia instead of in a psychiatric hospital, his lawyer argued Monday.
The argument by attorney Barry Levine came on the first of what could be three days of a hearing before Judge Paul L. Friedman. The jurist will rule on the plan for the number and length of visits Hinckley will be allowed with his family.
Hinckley, 57, shot Reagan in March 1981 as part of the would-be assassin’s fantasy of impressing actress Jodie Foster and his fascination with the movie “Taxi Driver.” Hinckley was eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity and was confined at Washington’s St. Elizabeth's Hospital.
At the end of 2005, Hinckley was given permission for overnight visits to his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Va. Currently the visits run 10 days and are planned and monitored.
Levine argued that Hinckley, who was at the proceeding, “has done nothing dangerous at all for more than two decades” and has earned more time in Virginia. “Mr. Hinckley has been spending too much time in the hospital,” Levine said, according to the Associated Press.
Lawyers have been discussing an expansion of Hinckley’s visits, first to 17 days and then to 24 days. After a year of such visits, Hinckley could be allowed to permanently live outside the hospital.
But that plan hit a snag when the hospital and a treatment facility in Virginia couldn’t negotiate an agreement. The hospital now proposes that Hinckley see a psychotherapist and another specialist -- a plan that government lawyer Colleen Kennedy criticized as a “patchwork quilt.”
Kennedy also raised questions about Hinckley's ability to drive now that he has a driver's license. “He could drive anywhere, including to D.C. and see President Obama,” Kennedy said, according to the wire service.
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