- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2006

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking a court order requiring would-be presidential assassin John W. Hinckley Jr. to cooperate with federal psychiatrists before he is given more freedom from a D.C. mental hospital.

The U.S. attorney’s office also asked a judge Friday for access to all of Hinckley’s medical files and for permission to hold taped interviews with the 51-year-old mental patient, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Reagan in 1981.

The Washington Times reported last week that Hinckley’s attorneys planned to seek an expansion of conditions for his release from St. Elizabeths Hospital in the District.

A hearing on the issues is set for Nov. 6, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said last week.

The two government psychiatrists, Dr. Robert F. Patterson and Dr. Robert T.M. Phillips, who were requested by the U.S. attorney’s office, have examined Hinckley previously.

Hinckley’s attorneys do not object to the request for his cooperation with the psychiatrists, court records show.

In court filings, Hinckley’s attorneys say their client has completed all but one of seven unsupervised trips to his parents’ house that U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman granted last year. Additional trips will require a court order.

“On each of these trips, Mr. Hinckley has complied fully with all of the conditions of release, and not a single negative occurrence has been reported in connection with any of the trips,” wrote attorney Barry Levine in a memo to Judge Friedman.

Mr. Levine has asked the judge to permit more trips — as long as four nights each — pending a hearing to expand Hinckley’s freedom.

Government attorneys have opposed the move, saying that until a hearing is scheduled they cannot get access to medical files on how Hinckley has fared during the overnight stays with his parents.

They also say psychiatrist John J. Lee, who agreed to meet with Hinckley during the unsupervised overnight stays in Williamsburg, is “untested as a reporter of information about Mr. Hinckley.”

Mr. Levine, in a response filed Aug. 10, called the government’s objections “the latest in a long and uninterrupted series of reflexive objections … to any conditional-release privileges for Mr. Hinckley.”

Hinckley’s overnight trips to Williamsburg provide the most freedom he has had since the shooting of Mr. Reagan, presidential spokesman James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Metropolitan Police Officer Thomas Delahanty.

In recent years, Hinckley gradually has won increasing freedom from St. Elizabeths. In addition to the Williamsburg visits, he has gone on short trips with his parents, such as a 2005 outing to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

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