Criminal Justice

John Hinckley Jr. a 'Flawed' But 'Fundamentally Decent' Person, Lawyer Says


You may know John Hinckley Jr. as the man who shot and nearly killed former President Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton hotel in 1981.

But the Hinckley of today, now a graying 56-year-old, is a “flawed” but “fundamentally decent” person who poses no threat to anyone, his lawyer told a judge Wednesday.

“This man is not dangerous,” Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry Wm. Levine said, according to this Washington Post report. “The evidence shows he is not dangerous.”

Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and three other men, has spent the last 30 years in a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C.

A federal court judge in Washington is now holding hearings on the hospital’s request to allow Hinckley to spend more time at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Va. Hinckley is now allowed to visit his mother for up to 10 days at a time.

Federal prosecutors oppose any expansion of Hinckley’s privileges. They contend that he is still dangerous and cannot be trusted with any additional freedom.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Chasson told the judge that Hinckley had misled his doctors about two visits to the movies in recent months, saying such incidents proved that Hinckley “will do whatever he wants and then not tell the truth about it.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Hinckley Beat the System, May Soon Be Sipping Coffee in Williamsburg, Reagan’s Daughter Says”

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