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Reagan shooter John Hinckley seeks more time away from mental hospital

In this Nov. 18, 2003 file photo, John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci,File

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Attorneys for John Hinckley, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan three decades ago, will be asking a judge to let him spend more time away from a Washington mental hospital with the goal of eventually allowing him to live outside the facility full-time.

Hinckley, who was found by a jury to be insane when he shot and wounded Reagan outside a Washington hotel in 1981, has for years been able to spend days at his mother's home in Virginia. On Wednesday, a Washington judge was to begin hearing arguments that Hinckley should be allowed additional visits of 17 and 24 days. The city's St. Elizabeths Hospital also wants the ability to decide if Hinckley should live away from the facility full-time according to a court document.

Government lawyers oppose the plan, calling it "premature and ill conceived." They say Hinckley is "a man capable of great violence" and that he is not "sufficiently well to alleviate the concern that this violence may be repeated."

But Hinckley's lawyer, Barry Levine, has said there is no evidence Hinckley is a danger to himself or to others. Earlier this year, he called the government's court filing opposing expanded privileges "shameful fear-mongering without any factual basis."

The hearing before Judge Paul L. Friedman is expected to take several days. The witness lists include Hinckley's sister and brother as well as his psychiatrist and case manager. Members of the U.S. Secret Service are expected to testify for the government, which has suggested that the plan for expanded release would not give Secret Service agents an adequate ability to monitor Hinckley at certain times.

Hinckley's shooting seriously injured Reagan and press secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head and permanently disabled. A secret service agent and police officer who were also shot recovered from their wounds. 

More on Crimesider
June 17, 2009 - Hinckley Gets Extended Leave From Psychiatric Hospital

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