Government lawyers and Ronald Reagan's would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. have come to an agreement on certain conditions he would abide by if he is allowed to live outside a mental hospital.
WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the government and Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. have come to an agreement on certain conditions he would abide by if he is allowed to live full-time outside a mental hospital, but they still disagree about how far officials should be allowed to go in monitoring him.
The lawyers filed a court document Wednesday laying out their differences for a judge overseeing Hinckley’s case. The judge, Paul L. Friedman, is deciding whether Hinckley is ready to live outside St. Elizabeths hospital in Washington, where he has been since being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shooting that wounded Reagan and three others.
The judge had asked the lawyers to produce the document following several days of hearings in April on the issue of Hinckley’s release. The conditions were discussed in detail during the hearing, but the document is the latest and clearest version of the restrictions each side now supports.
Hinckley’s latest push for more freedom is part of a more than decade-long process of re-integrating him into the community, always under a variety of restrictions set by the judge. The judge ruled in 2003 that Hinckley could leave St. Elizabeths for daylong visits with his family.
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Those freedoms have expanded so now he spends 17 days a month at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia. The hospital and his lawyers have said for years that he is no longer plagued by mental illness, and they now agree he’s ready to live in Williamsburg full time. The judge has not said when he will rule.
In the document filed Wednesday, Hinckley, 60, agrees to participate in group and individual therapy in Williamsburg, as he does now, and to make at least monthly return visits to Washington for outpatient psychiatric visits.
The document says he will volunteer or work at least three days a week and that Hinckley, who plays the guitar, paints and has a new interest in photography, won’t perform publicly or display his work. He agrees not to drink or have a weapon. He also agrees not to talk to the media, a condition that has been in place for some time, or to contact a variety of people including his victims, their families or the actress Jodie Foster, whom Hinckley was trying to impress when he shot Reagan.
A number of the areas where Hinckley, prosecutors and the hospital disagree have to do with the level of monitoring that will be permitted. Prosecutors continue to ask that he wear a GPS ankle bracelet, a condition the judge dismissed during the hearing, and want a GPS tracking device installed on the car he uses. The hospital says it would support a tracking device on the car. Hinckley’s longtime lawyer, Barry Levine, has objected to both conditions saying they’re not necessary and that the Secret Service can and does follow Hinckley whenever it wants.
Prosecutors and the hospital also argue he should be allowed to use the Internet but shouldn’t be allowed to become a member of or post on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They want him to have only one e-mail account and to have to turn over his username and password. Prosecutors also want monitoring software to be installed on any computer he’s using. Hinckley objects.
Follow Jessica Gresko at https://twitter.com/jessicagresko.