From Hinckley to Loughner: The Insanity Defense

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In June 1982, John Hinckley, Jr. – President Reagan’s would-be assassin – was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The announcement sparked widespread public criticism, as many believed that the verdict, for all practical purposes, exonerated the man who tried to kill the president. Nearly thirty years later, it seems likely that Jared Loughner, the man charged with attempted assassination and murder after last weekend’s deadly shooting spree in Tucson, will also plead insanity in his case.

David Bruck, Clinical Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, and career capital defense attorney helps contextualize the use of the insanity defense. He looks at the evolution of both the idea of insanity and the legal action based on state of mind.


Professor David Bruck

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [3]

Sean from USA

Think again.

Freedom Is Too Good for Hinckley,8599,2061014-1,00.html

Mar. 25 2011 12:56 PM
charlie_p68 from Washington, DC

Having read more about the Hinckley case since the Tuscon tragedy, it seems that there may have been holes in the government's case to begin with.

Analysis of ballistics evidence submitted into evidence in the Hinckley case seems to indicate that it would have been impossible for Hinckley to have shot Reagan:

" However, this article will prove that it was impossible for Hinckley to have acted in the manner described by the "official" version of the story. This is not a matter of doubt; the evidence clearly shows that the government's version of the assassination attempt could not have physically happened....... By comparing the actual specifications of Devastator ammunition to the government's evidence, one can clearly see that Hinckley could not have been firing Devastator bullets......By the fifth shot, Reagan is inside the limo with Parr on top. Reagan cannot be wounded without a bullet hitting Parr, and this is the fifth shot, not the last one. Hinckley's hand and gun are visible in the bottom right corner; it is obvious that he could only have shot Parr at this time, not Reagan....Also note that Hinckley's arm is being pushed down by a secret service agent who is attacking Hinckley. This shot, according to the government, is the one which wounded Reagan. Unless Hinckley was using some sort of "magic bullet," that is impossible.....Such a weapon is incapable of firing a bullet with enough velocity to hit the wall, hit Reagan, nick a rib, and cross through a large mass of tissue. Only a rifle firing a high velocity bullet, such as a .223 or similar rifle, could have done this. Hinckley had no such weapon.

Hinckley did not shoot Reagan.

It is impossible. "

Jan. 24 2011 08:43 PM
Ed from Larchmont

He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, but I'm told he will never get out of the hospital, or the prison. That might be what happens with this man.

Jan. 13 2011 08:13 AM

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