Monday’s federal judge ruled that John Hinckley Jr. who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan 40 years ago can be released from any remaining restrictions next year, provided he follows those rules and is mentally stable.
Judge Paul L. Friedman, U.S. District Court in Washington, stated during a 90-minute court hearing he will issue his ruling this week on the plan.
Hinckley has moved from Washington to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2016 after being placed under court orders. Since then, doctors and therapists have been responsible for overseeing his psychiatric medication. Hinckley is prohibited from owning a gun. He can’t contact Reagan’s kids, other victims, their families or Jodie Foster, the actress he was obsessed about at the time the 1981 shooting.
Friedman stated that Hinckley, now at 66, had not displayed any symptoms of an active mental illness, violent behavior, or an interest in weapons since 1983.
The judge stated that if he hadn’t attempted to kill the president, he would be unconditionally released long, long and long ago. “But everyone is now comfortable after all the studies, all the analysis, all the interviews and all the experience with Mr. Hinckley.”
Friedman stated that Hinckley would be released from any court supervision in June, if everything goes according to plan.
Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health conducted a 2020 violence risk assessment and concluded that Hinckley wouldn’t be a threat if he was unconditionally freed from any court-ordered restrictions.
The U.S. government previously opposed the removal of restrictions. The U.S. government changed its position Monday. Attorneys said they would accept unconditional release if Hinckley complies with the rules and maintains mental stability over the next nine-months.
Kacie Weston is an attorney representing the U.S. government and stated that it wants Hinckley to be able to live independently after his mother’s death in July. Hinckley’s impending retirement as a therapist and the end of his therapy group, which provided him with a lot support and social interaction, are another concern.
Hinckley was just 25 when he shot the U.S. President outside of a Washington hotel. James Brady, Reagan’s press secretary, was paralysed by the shooting and died in 2014. It also wounded Timothy McCarthy, a Secret Service agent, and Thomas Delahanty, a Washington police officer.
Jurors determined Hinckley suffered from severe psychosis. They found him not guilty of insanity and said he required treatment, not life imprisonment.