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Federal judge hears arguments on fewer restrictions for Reagan shooter

[JURIST] A federal judge began hearings Monday to decide whether John Hinckley, Jr. [PBS profile] should be given more freedom outside the mental hospital where he was sent after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 attempted assassination of US President Ronald Reagan [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Hospital officials and Hinckley's family are arguing that restrictions currently in force should be loosened so he can visit his parents overnight [JURIST report] for weeks at a time and can attend recreational events in the community without having to notify Secret Service [official website] immediately.

US District Judge Paul Friedman [official profile] has set aside one week to hear the arguments and suggested Monday that at some point St. Elizabeths Hospital [hospital website] in Washington would remove all restrictions on Hinckley. US government attorneys argued against the lightened restrictions, saying Hinckley still thinks about "notoriously violent events and people" and needs regular contact with his doctors to remain stable. Hinckley's brother said he would support him financially if he was released. AP has more.

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