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“There have been incremental increases in freedom,” Mr. Levine said. “There have been many and God knows they’ve occurred over a long period of time. Over that entire period of time, there has not been a single instance where there has been a single act of violence.”

If the longer releases go well, Hinckley could also transition from in-patient to out-patient treatment, testified Dr. Tyler Jones, the director of psychiatric services at St. Elizabeths, at the Wednesday hearing.

Mr. Hinckley represents a low risk of dangerousness to himself and others,” Dr. Jones said.

Hinckley, who has been diagnosed with depression, a psychotic disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder, thumbed through court papers during portions of Wednesday’s court proceedings. He was clean-shaven and wore a brown suit jacket over a white shirt and striped tie.

The hearing is expected to continue for several days as U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman hears testimony from additional doctors and mental health specialists, as well as Hinckley’s family.