John W. Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, can publicly display his writings, paintings, photographs and other works of art, a federal judge said Wednesday.
The decision came in an order relaxing the terms of Mr. Hinckley’s release.
Judge Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that Mr. Hinckley had remained “mentally stable” since 2016, when he was released from a mental hospital where he was. detained for decades and allowed to live with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Since 2018 Mr Hinckley, 65, has posted his music anonymously online, but he is frustrated by the lack of feedback he has gotten from the small number of people who have discovered his work, his team of treatment in court by asking that he be allowed to use his name in conjunction with his art.
Justice Friedman said in his order that Mr. Hinckley could publicly display, under his own name and without restriction, his memorabilia, writings, paintings, works of art and music.
The judge stipulated that Mr. Hinckley must inform the forensic outpatient department and their care providers of his intention to exhibit his art and must provide them with any feedback he receives, so that they can help treat it. If his doctors believe it is medically necessary, they can revoke his ability to post his work, the judge said.
In an interview submitted to the court as part of a violence risk assessment, Mr Hinckley said he wanted “to make money with my music and my art”.
“I create things that I find good and like any other artist, I would like to enjoy it and contribute more to my family,” he said. “I feel like I could help my mom and my brother if I could make money with my art.”
Mr Hinckley said he heard from other artists that he might be able to sell his art on websites such as Etsy and that he spoke to his processing team about the release of his music on various streaming sites.
He acknowledged “there is a notoriety associated with anything I do under my name” but said he was not interested in fame. He said he had been frustrated with his inability to share his works with others and receive feedback.
It was not immediately clear whether Judge Friedman’s order allowed Mr Hinckley to profit from the sale of his artwork, though the judge said Mr Hinckley had to comply with the terms of several civil lawsuits. .
In 1995, Mr. Hinckley agreed to cede to three of the men who were injured in the assassination attempt up to $ 2.9 million in proceeds from any sale in his life story.
Since 2018, Mr Hinckley’s music therapist has helped him post his music anonymously to SoundCloud and YouTube, but he has been disappointed with the small number of people who have listened to him, the music therapist wrote in court documents .
The therapist said it was important for Mr. Hinckley to have a creative outlet, but added, “I’m afraid he’s a well-known figure and I’m worried someone is dragging him around.
Another therapist, Carl Beffa, also supported Mr. Hinckley’s desire to sell his works.
“I would love for him to be able to earn an income from his artwork,” Beffa said in court documents. “If that happens by chance, his name is attached to it, I don’t see that that would be a problem. I’d be surprised if it got back to that narcissism he had with Jodie Foster, because he wasn’t present in any way.
On March 30, 1981, Mr. Hinckley, who was harassing Mr. Reagan in an attempt to impress Ms. Foster, fired six shots and seriously injured Mr. Reagan outside a Washington hotel.
James S. Brady, White House press secretary, was also shot; Timothy J. McCarthy, a Secret Service agent; and Thomas K. Delahanty, a Washington police officer. Mr. Brady suffered permanent brain damage and eventually died of his injuries in 2014.
In 1982, a jury found Mr. Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity, a decision that shocked the public and lawmakers across the country. He was sent for treatment to St. Elizabeths, a Washington mental hospital, where he was held until 2016, when he was released at his mother’s home.
In his order on Wednesday, Judge Friedman said Mr Hinckley could continue to live with his mother or live independently or with a roommate, as long as he informed the forensic outpatient department and his staff. treatment. He also upheld the ban on Mr Hinckley having contact with Ms Foster, members of the Reagan family or other people he had injured or their families.
Judge Friedman said Mr. Hinckley “will not pose a danger to himself or to others by reason of mental illness if he is allowed to continue to reside in the community” upon the terms of his release.
Mr Hinckley said he had done “very well” over the past four years and that, if given more freedom, he planned to stay in the Williamsburg area, continue working. in an old mall, to attend group therapy sessions and take his psychiatric medication.