|WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION
Dr. Park Elliott Dietz (forensic pyschiatrist)
|Direct Examination by Mr. Adelman:
Q. [L]et me ask you formally, if you determined whether at
of the criminal conduct on March 30, 1981, the defendant Hinckley, as a
result of mental disease or defect, lacked substantial capacity to
his conduct to the requirements of the law?
This background indicates that in the past he had conformed his behavior, that he had had the ability to do so and had, in fact, done so. He hadn't drawn a gun in Dayton, perhaps because he didn't carry one with him. He hadn't drawn a gun in Nashville, and at Blair House in Washington he hadn't shot. He says he thought to himself on those occasions that he could do it another time. His ability to control his conduct on those dates to conform to the requirements of the law is part of the background for how it is that we know that he had that ability on March 30th. At no point has Mr. Hinckley stated to me that he had a compulsion or a drive to assassinate or to commit other crimes.
Now, specific examples of evidence: First of all, his decision making ability itself was [intact] on March 30th. He was able to make other decisions on that date. He decided where to go for breakfast, what to eat. He decided to buy a newspaper, to shower. He made personal decisions of that sort. He was not a man incapable on that day of making decisions about his life, about which of these relatively minor things to do. He deliberated and made a decision to survey the scene a the Hilton Hotel. There was no voice commanding him to do that. There was no drive within him pushing him to do that. He decided, as he tells us, to go to the Hilton to check out the scene to see how close he could get.
We know from the facts that he chose his bullets, that he
revolver. He has never said that a voice commanded him to choose the
bullets or that he had, for some other reason, to choose these. He
that he chose them randomly. And we know that is not so. He chose the
[Devastator] bullets. This reflects decision making and choice.' He is
controlling his conduct, is taking the time to write the "Jodie letter"
to explain that one of his goals for the assassination attempt, and to
explain that he had a deliberate reason for carrying it out. A man
by passion, by uncontrollable forces, is not often inclined to take the
time to write a
He concealed the weapon not only from Mrs. Kondeah [the maid at the hotel], but from people in the hotel lobby, from taxi drivers, from people at the scene at the Hilton, until the moment he chose to draw his weapon. That ability to conceal his weapon is further evidence of his conforming his conduct, that is, he recognized that [w]aving a gun would be behavior likely to attract attention, and did not wave the gun. He concealed it. His ability to wait, when he did not have a clear shot of the President on the President's way into the Hilton is further evidence of his ability to conform his behavior. A man driven, a man out of control, would not have the capacity to wait at that moment for the best shot. His lack of desperation that day, and his recognition that he had other options: I haven't told you all the evidence of that yet, but he has indicated on a number of occasions what some of his options were. He considered going to New Haven, Connecticut. He considered going back to his hotel and going to sleep. These are options. He chose which option to carry out. His ability to wait in the crowd until the entourage exited the Hilton: now, he waited inside, he says, and then exited taking up the spot he had occupied previously. He went back to the same place outside the Hilton Hotel and indicates that he didn't have very long to wait there. But he did go back out, he had waited 'til that point, and he went outside, and he waited again until the President came out. He says that he gave consideration to not firing after he had pulled the gun, and of course he said that he deliberated whether to pull the gun.
These choices, his description of deliberation, of decision making, indicate that he was conforming his conduct to his own wishes, that he had the ability to control, to think, to decide, and that he did so. He controlled his conduct. He decided what to do, and he carried out his goals.
His having waited for the very moment to pull his gun and seizing that moment to fire the six shots, again indicates not a man who is willed, but a man who chooses the precise moment when his opportunity for assassination is best.
He took aim at the President, not, as he says, not aiming. He is seen in the videotapes in a combat crouch with a two-handed hold on the gun, the gun pointed toward the President, tracking the President's movements. These are organized acts. These are not disorganized random motions. These are specifically designed, organized acts.
Those are examples of the evidence supporting Mr. Hinckley having had the capacity to conform his conduct on March 30....
Q. [L]et me ask you ... whether at the time of the
on March 30, 1981, the defendant, as a result of mental disease or
lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his
When he traveled to Dallas to purchase guns in October '80
arrest in Nashville, he was replacing his arsenal, which had been
by the police there. He made the decision to switch his target from
Carter to President-elect Reagan after the November 4, 1980, election.
He concealed successfully all of his stalking from his parents, from
brother, from his sister, from his brother-in-law, and from Dr. Hopper,
including hiding his weapons, hiding his ammunition, and misleading
about his travels and his plans. This concealment indicates that he
the wrongfulness of his plans, of his stalking behavior, throughout
I am providing you with examples of kinds of evidence
that, taken together,
make up an opinion about his appreciation of wrongfulness on March
and these are examples of some of those pieces of evidence. He
a highly concealable, .38 caliber revolver the day after Reagan's
He indicated that he became interested in President Reagan's
in March of 1981 before he had even begun his trip to Washington, D.C.
He said he had become interested in the President's whereabouts. When
get closer to the events of March 30th his decision on that day to, as
he put it, "check out the scene" and to see how close he could get at
Hilton Hotel indicates that his decision to go to the Hilton Hotel
his thoughts about committing
That is an indication that he understood and appreciated
of his plans because the Secret Service might well shoot someone who
to kill the President. His decision to load his revolver with exploding
ammunition before he left room 312 at the Park Central Hotel: Again,
making reflecting a choice of the use of exploitable bullets which
have maximum effect on the victim, and understanding of the
of his behavior, and understanding of the damage that he might bring
other people. His concealment of his revolver in his right pocket
he shoots right-handed: A decision to have his revolver where he could
Finally, his decision to proceed to fire, thinking that others had seen him, as I have mentioned before, indicates his awareness that others seeing him was significant because others recognized that what he was doing and about to do were wrong. These are examples of the evidence that he appreciated the wrongfulness on March 30.
[These excerpts are taken from Low, Peter, The Trial of John W. Hinckley Jr.,1986.]
|On direct examination:
John seemed to be going downhill, downhill, downhill and becoming more withdrawn, more antisocial, more depressed, and more down on himself. He was just discouraged and we were just terribly worried about him....We didn't know what was wrong, but we knew something wasn't right....We wanted John to be self-supporting, to be a happy child, to stand on his own two feet....The harder we tried to push him from us, the harder he tried to stay....
Dr. Hopper strongly advised us not to do it [to institutionalize John]. He talked us out of it....Dr. Hopper said, "No, don't do it. It will really make a cripple out of John if you put him in an institution."
[On the last trip with John to the Denver Airport, three
|On direct examination:
[ Jack Hinckley met John at the Denver Airport on March 7, 1981, and informed him of the family's decision to cut off his financial support. Testimony concerning that meeting follows:]
I prayed all the way [to the airport] that we were doing the right thing....He was in very bad shape. He needed a shave. He was wiped out. He could hardly walk from the plane. We sat down and I told him how disappointed I was in him. How he had let us down, how he had not followed the plan [for independence] we had all agreed on. He had left us no choice but to not take him back in the house again, but force him to go on his own. So that's what I did. I took him to his car which was parked at the airport. It was an old car and the radiator leaked. And I put some antifreeze in it and we got the car started. And I had a couple of hundred dollars with me that I had brought from the house. And I gave that to him and I suggested that he go to the YMCA. He said he didn't want to do that. I said, "Okay, you are on your own. Do whatever you want to do." In looking back on that, I'm sure it was the greatest mistake in my life. We forced him out at a time when he just couldn't cope. I am the cause of John's tragedy. I wish to God I could trade places with him right now.
|Direct Examination by Defense Attorney Vincent Fuller
Q. [Would you describe the basis for your] diagnos[is] of
Q. [C]an you describe as you understand from Mr. Hinckley
of the evening of March 29th and early March 30th?
MR. FULLER: Your Honor, I hand the witness
what has been
marked Exhibit N-15. …
Q. Without reading the letter, can you just
summarize the substance
Q. Doctor, how do you interpret Mr. Hinckley’s
mental state in
those moments, those few moments before the actual shooting?
Q. Doctor, you included in your description of his
[a] suicidal motive?
Q. Doctor, have you an opinion whether at the time of the
March 30, 1981, the defendant, as a result of the mental disease you
described, lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness
THE COURT: Come to the Bench, counsel. (At the
(In Open Court:)
The first was whether there was a purely intellectual understanding that what he did was illegal. And it is my opinion on a purely intellectual level that he didn't know that he had that knowledge, that those were illegal acts.
The ability to reason that is implied in appreciation: I think appreciation of wrongfulness would mean that a person had an ability to reason about it, to think about it, to understand the consequences, to draw inferences about the acts and their meaning. And reasoning processes, which involve both the intellectual component and the emotional component. It is part of what goes together in our reasoning about any issue. That in this regard I believe Mr. Hinckley lacked substantial capacity to appreciate.
The reason for this opinion is that it is an understanding
of the very
reasoning process he was going through in preparation for and in
out the acts, that in his own mind, his own reasoning, the predominant
reasoning had to do with two major things, the first of which was the
of his own existence; the second of which was to accomplish this union
with Jodie Foster through death, after life, whatever. But these were
major things that were dominating his reasoning about it. The magnitude
of importance to him in weighing and in his reasoning of accomplishing
these aims was far greater than the magnitude of the events per se. And
in that regard it was not
On the more emotional side of appreciation, which would
have to do with
some--with the feelings, the emotional appreciation or understanding of
the nature of the events, the consequences, he also had an impairment
that regard. And the impairment there was that the emotional
of the acts that he conducted were in his experience solely in terms of
the inner world he had constructed. The meaning of this to the victims
of the act was not on his mind. I don't mean to be crass about this,
in his mental state the effect of this on the President [and] on any
victims was trivial, that they--in his mental state they were bit
who were there in a way to help
So that I do think that he had a purely intellectual appreciation that it was illegal. Emotionally he could give no weight to that because other factors weighed far heavier in his emotional appreciation.
And as these two things come together in his reasoning process, his reasoning processes were dominated by the inner state--by the inner drives that he was trying to accomplish in terms of the ending of his own life and in terms of the culminating relationship with Jodie Foster.
It was on that basis that I concluded that he did lack substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts.
Q. In considering his cognitive awareness, doctor, does
an element of reason as well?
[These excerpts are taken from Low, Peter, The Trial of John W. Hinckley Jr.,1986.]
|Cross-examination of Dr. David Bear by Prosecutor
Q. Is it generally the accepted view of all
widened sulci, as they are called, indicate that the person suffering
that phenomenon has schizophrenia? Is that a unanimous view?
[This excerpt is taken from Caplan, Lincoln, The Insanity Defense and the Trial of John W. Hinckley Jr.,1984.]
|May it please the Court, ladies and gentlemen of the
[Y]ou will be charged with the responsibility of determining defendant John Hinckley's responsibility, legal responsibility for the acts of March 30, 1981.
[The government's] psychiatrists chose to ignore the kind of existence this defendant lived in in the seven years prior to March of 1981.
Don't be misled by Mr. Adelman's suggestion that only March 30, 1981, should be considered. Is there any way in this world that Mr. Hinckley or anybody else would become instantly insane on March 30, 1981? It took years and years of growth of the disease or disorder to lead to the state of mind on March 30 ' 1981. So do not be misled by Mr. Adelman's challenge that I should focus only on March 30, 1981, because the question is not only what was he like then, but to show what he was like, we must look at how he got there.
I believe the Government psychiatrists played that down. I think they also trivialized the frenetic behavior of the defendant over the months preceding the tragedy of March 30, 1981. You look at the Government's charts. .. . You look at the absolutely absurd travel pattern pursued by this man starting on September 17th and running through March of 1981. On its face, it is irrational, purposeless, aimless.
[According to the government's experts, the defendant
focused on various]
I suggest to you, ladies and gentlemen, these are very strange options if they are offered as evidence of the sanity, the lack of mental disease, the lack of psychotic disease. . - - Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that Mr. Hinckley at the time of these events was living in such a self-contained world with no outside checks, no possibility of there being any realities, that he was unaware of anything except his goal and his goal was to achieve the love and admiration of Jodie Foster.
I want to call to mind several things Mr. Adelman said in his opening remarks. He characterized the defendant at one point as an ordinary person like any other young man, an all American boy like any other fan. These are characterizations made by Mr. Adelman at different times during the morning. Ladies and gentlemen, that is patently absurd. This defendant is unique in this sense: He lived a solitary life. He was a prisoner of himself for at least seven years before this tragedy, and I will address myself in a few moments to what he did as a prisoner in those seven years, but to call him an ordinary boy, an ordinary man, an all American boy, is silly.
I don't want to get enmeshed in labels. I really want to talk about the personality characteristics that we all lay people understand and we have already delved into the isolation of the defendant starting in his high school years, going on through college and by the time he was a sophomore in college he had actually moved off campus and started to live a solitary life, which solitary life he lived through the fall of 1980.
I don't believe I need to track Mr. Hinckley's very disconnected college career--it was a semester here, a semester out--but I do think it is important to focus on [several points] in that career. First is the spring of 1976 when John Hinckley impulsively [goes] out, abruptly sells his automobile and goes to California to become a rock star or a song writer. Unrealistic, absolutely unrealistic. He had not had one moment of training in music. And he believed he would come on the front of Hollywood and be an instant success. Needless to say, he was a total failure and it resulted in his depression, despair, and disappointment. He made another aborted effort, I believe in 1978, where the doctors testified he went to Nashville again with great expectations of being a rock star. Once again his hopes were dashed, because, obviously, these were unrealistic goals. Whether at that point in time they are psychotic, obviously we are not qualified to address that. You should consider that, though, in your deliberations.
He lives in a world where the only reality is that which he makes for himself. That which he defines for himself. His only experiences in the outside world as we think of it are things like eating, for instance, eating food. Ultimately travel.
That's not contact with the real world. That is not being exposed to the checks and balances we all need in our everyday lives, to know that we are making sense in our activities.
He had no such checks. The only checks he had were those that he had built up in his mind. It is in this period in 1979 that John Hinckley purchases his first weapon, I believe in August.
I point out--I should go back a moment to 1976, briefly, and recall to your mind that it was in that period when he was alone in Hollywood, alone in Hollywood, that he saw the movie "Taxi Driver," and he made identification, sympathized with Travis Bickle. I can't quite call him a hero. You saw the movie. Characterize him as you will.
But John Hinckley saw him as a loner, as he, Hinckley, was a loner. Isolated. Angry at what he saw in the outside world. Unable to establish any relationship in that world that he saw. In 1979, you do see definite signs of mental disturbance, not just the purchase of the gun, but also you may remember in November 1979 a draft of a letter to his parents which was never sent.
Mr. Adelman this morning urged you to read that letter as an example of Mr. Hinckley's exploitiveness or--what shall we think of, the word to use?--entitlement. His sense of entitlement. I think more important is to look at it and to observe how it reveals the defendant's self-image.
He is almost paralyzed. In fact, as the record shows, he ultimately is so paralyzed during the holidays of 1979 he can't even go home. He can't face his family in 1979, he is in such a state of depression. Indeed, as Dr. Carpenter testified, in that period of 1979, the fall, he had suicidal ideas to the extent that he played Russian roulette on a number of occasions. I'll admit that is self-reported. But that is all we have here.
[This idea] is confirmed by the existence of the photograph which is in evidence and which you will have available to you in your jury deliberations, which shows a very, very distressing picture of the defendant with a gun to his head. Much in the likeness of the character Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver."
It is a sorry image. A sorry self-image, if you will, that this defendant photographed of himself in late '79 or early 1980.
In 1980 we know that the defendant's somatic complaints increased to such a point that his parents became concerned and brought him home and had him checked [by local doctors].
The Government seizes right away the fact that [these doctors] observed no mental problem with the defendant. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that the mental problem that the defendant was suffering from by the end of 1979 and by early 1980 was so deep, so deeply rooted in himself that it would take hours and hours of psychiatric examination to ferret it out. Something far beyond the capacity of a medical doctor to do.
I think the only observation which is reported in this regard, I think, is the notation in one of the medical records that the defendant's weight at that point in time, I believe in February of 1980, was 230 pounds.
The earlier Texas Tech records, clinical records, taken some several years before, shows him to be 165, 170 pounds. An extraordinary gain of weight. An extraordinary gain of weight.
We all know that the defendant became aware of Jodie Foster attending Yale in May of 1980. We have heard testimony that he became fascinated and enchanted with Miss Foster and starting in 1976, with the movie Taxi Driver. When he saw in 1980 that she was in Yale, he lives in a world, builds a new goal. And Miss Foster becomes the focus of the defendant's attentions.
You all know in August the defendant returns home and was examined by [his father's] company psychiatrist, who urged the family to adopt some type of plan for the defendant so he had goals so he could see today where he is going to be next year or next month.
That results in what I suggest is a manipulative effort of the defendant to get money from his family so he can go and establish a relationship up through and including March 30, 1981. . ..
In any event, the defendant goes to New Haven, and, as you can reasonably expect, there is no relationship. No real relationship to be established with Miss Foster.
And in reaction to that, I don't think a realistic reaction, but in reaction to that the defendant is angry. He is distressed. Again, the identification with the film "Taxi Driver," he thinks of a way to remedy this.
His remedy then becomes to stalk President Carter, which he does on several occasions in October of 1980. And, as you know, he changes his focus of that stalking to President Reagan following the election in November. Again, I suggest the ideation, the thought, that by stalking the President of the United States, he could in some way establish a relationship with the young woman, is bizarre.
I submit to you that it is a result of a serious mental illness in which the defendant's relation to reality in the true meaningful sense has been severed, has been impaired.
I suggest that the impairment continues in the months following September and through the whole fall of 1980.
Ultimately it leads to frustration on the part of the defendant and leads him to his home in Evergreen in October when he attempts suicide by taking [a drug] overdose. . . .
This act, of course, results in the parents referring the defendant to [a local psychiatrist], Dr. Hopper. . . .I suggest to you that the entire relationship with Dr. Hopper was an unfortunate one. I don't blame Dr. Hopper. I don't blame the defendant. I say to you that at that point in time, in October of 1980, this defendant's mental condition had deteriorated to such a state that he was unable to communicate his innermost thoughts to anyone. The slight effort he made, he gave a signal. He gave a written signal to Dr. Hopper that he was obsessed "with the woman I referred to last week."
....And I think, through no fault of Dr. Hopper's he thought that was simply a young man's fancy with a movie actress. I do not believe he had the slightest appreciation of the seriousness and the intensity of John Hinckley's involvement with Jodie Foster and John Hinckley's unreal expectation that he would one day have a relationship with Jodie Foster.
I think the failure of the defendant to reveal his activities through the months of October, November, December, and January, to Dr. Hopper are a reflection of Mr. Hinckley's inability to communicate. I think it is unfortunate that Dr. Hopper didn't pursue John Hinckley's whereabouts when he missed appointments, but apparently that wasn't done. I don't know that it would have done any good, but it didn't happen.
Another impediment to there being any meaningful relationship between this defendant and Dr. Hopper was the fact that Dr. Hopper was talking to the defendant's parents. Not that he was giving them therapy, but Dr. Hopper I believe in efforts to help the defendant thought it might be useful to get insight from his parents. But what was the result? The defendant sees this as Dr. Hopper being simply a conduit of information from him, John Hinckley, through Dr. Hopper, back to his parents.
And he does not want his parents to know what he is up to because he knows that were he to reveal to his parents that he had been stalking President Carter, that he had been stalking anybody, that his parents would have taken swift and severe action, so the defendant wouldn't tell him. The defendant wouldn't tell him anything.
That is not evidence of appreciation of wrongfulness. That is not evidence of ability to control or conform your conduct to the requirements of the law. The defendant's actions are the actions of a psychotic who had a fear that he was sick, and like many ill peopleafraid to reveal it for fear of the consequences. . . .
[A] very significant piece of evidence ... is the New
of 1981. This is Mr. Hinckley speaking to a tape recorder:
....That is not exhaustive, but it is representative, I believe, of the thinking of the defendant at that time. I think it reflects a very disturbed state of mind, a state of mind which is totally detached from reality. And unfortunately there is no one to check, no one to test that reality with John Hinckley.
Again, while he is at home, he is alone. You may remember, in fact, I think, at the. Christmas holidays that year his family described his situation at a dinner table when he simply hung his head and was almost limp for a period of minutes and got up and left the table.
He hadn't communicated with his own family.
[You] can track very closely the defendant's travel through the months of the early fall and winter of 1981. And I think these are all consistent with what I am suggesting to you now, that the defendant's motivating, driving forces are unreal, that [there has been] detachment from reality as you and I know it to be. There develops, or starts to develop, now in January of 1981 a new crisis in the defendant Hinckley's life. [A] plan is devised between the Hinckleys, including the defendant, and Dr. Hopper to set certain goals for the defendant. I believe the goal was [that by] March I [he was] to have a job and by the end of March be out of the house. Now, if you look at the history of the defendant up to that point in time, his behavior is so erratic and so impulsive and so unpredictable that it is quite apparent to us today that he is unable to hold a job.
And the goals that were set up for him were impossible for him externally, and an unrealistic goal. Insofar as he could understand it, he knew he could not live with it. There was no way that this defendant could become gainfully employed and self-sufficient in the time-frame allowed to him. And it is during this period of January and February of 1981, when we go through this incredible process of homicide/suicide/murder, these are bizarre thoughts.
To what end? To gain the love and admiration and establish a relationship with a woman. It is delusional thinking. That's all it is, pure and simple. It is pathetic, but it is delusional.
You know that the last week of February his parents were away, and on March I when they returned they had a note on their door which says "Your prodigal son has left again. I must exorcise some demons" or something to that effect. Once again the defendant departs. He goes to New Haven. And he leaves a series of communications with Jodie Foster.
They are bizarre. "I love you six trillion times. Wait for
me. I will
rescue you." In fact, these notes were so disturbing to Jodie
saw a videotape of her--that she turned those notes over to her dean.
was so concerned. These were bizarre thoughts that were being expressed
Of course, then we know the defendant returns to New York without funds and he calls his parents in desperation. [During] Park Dietz's in interview of the defendant, he said, "I never expected to need any money when I went to New York in March because I thought I would be dead or in jail." Well, he was not. He had no money. He called his parents in desperation and he was shocked to learn that they would not just welcome him back. They were distressed.
They put him off. ... [On] the advice of Dr. Hopper [they]
to make him sweat it out a little bit, to see if this wouldn't make him
shape up. [They] relented and they arranged for Mr. Hinckley to return
to Evergreen [the family home]. Well, he did indeed return to Evergreen
and he arrived there on [March] 7th. He was met at the airport that
by his father. Bear in mind his depression at that time and consider
shock, the disbelief, the utter wonderment that Mr. Hinckley
when his father told him "You can't come home, John. We have
In making this decision I by no means am critical of the parents. I don't think the blame can be laid at anybody's feet. I think they acted in good faith. They relied in good faith upon what they believed was psychiatric expertise. [The] psychiatrist was unable to probe into the depths of this defendant's mind to understand the severity of the illness with which he was afflicted, so the advice Dr. Hopper gave and the advice the parents accepted seemed reasonable to all concerned except to the defendant Hinckley.
[Dr. Carpenter] suggested that when Mr. Hinckley was told by his father you can't come home, that was the severance of his last anchor to reality. Bear in mind that for many years the only ties he had to reality were occasional, perhaps yearly, visits with his parents. Now on [March] 7, 1981, he is without any anchor. As we know, he moved to the motel, [and] lived there for approximately two weeks, again in isolation. However, this period of isolation, I suggest to you, is a little different than the prior seven years of total isolation. I described those seven years as "total isolation." I can only describe this as being more isolated than he ever experienced. Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, Mrs. Hinckley as a mother was not able perhaps to adhere to the plan with the same rigidity that the father could, so the defendant was able during those two weeks to visit his mother on a few occasions at her home in Evergreen, but the handwriting was clear. The writing on the wall was clear. He has to move on.
He was not getting any more support from his family. He sold his guitar, he sold his records, he sold his typewriter. He sold guns.
And you reflect for the moment on those hours. It was an
hour or an
hour-and-a-half drive to the airport on March 24th when the defendant
imposed upon his mother and implored with her to drive him to the
and hour and a half of stony silence between the mother and her son. I
said a moment ago the last anchor was ended on [March] 7th. I suggest
last anchor was really severed on March 24th and he is then cut adrift
without any resources, with no resources to do anything for himself
that he has money. He could buy his clothing, he can buy his food, he
find shelter, he can travel. But he has no hope, no future and what
he resort to? He
And indeed the testimony is that when he embarked toward the East Coast on March 25th, that is where he was headed.
[Mr. Adelman] seemed to argue that you could not infer that the defendant was in a psychotic condition because he was not conducting himself in an open and obviously bizarre fashion. I think the evidence is clear from both sides, both experts, all experts, that the ability of a schizophrenic to maintain a contact with common reality is not unusual, that is to say, a severely ill psychotic schizophrenic inside may have a world of troubles unnoticed totally, unnoticed by us laymen, and bizarre conduct is not an indispensable ingredient to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Indeed, Mr. Adelman suggested that one of our doctors described Mr. Hinckley as being in a frenzy. What we said was he was in an internal frenzy. Mr. Adelman suggested to you yesterday had he been in a frenzy, he would be stumbling on the floor and not drinking a coke in the Park Central Hotel on the morning before the shooting. I suggest to you that is misleading. The kind of frenzy that we are talking about is an internal frenzy, an internal confusion, one that is going on in this man's inner world, all built upon false premises, false assumptions, false ideas. At one point, I believe in his opening statement, Mr. Adelman suggested psychiatric influences, thought delusions, fantasies are not evidence you should consider in this case. That is precisely the evidence you should consider in this case. That is why we are here. ...
Again Mr. Adelman yesterday suggested that we had offered to you a smorgasbord of insanity and he alluded to "Taxi Driver," [Hinckley's poems], Jodie Foster, sleep deprivation, the CAT-scan. Ladies and gentlemen, this is evidence. This is probative evidence going to the condition of this defendant's state of mind and please don't be misled by a characterization that the evidence we have offered to you of this defendant's state of mind is a smorgasbord.
I submit to you that it is not possible to reconstruct, as the Government physicians have tried to do, the minute-by-minute progression of the defendant's thought processes from the moment he left the Hilton until the moment he shot the President and the three other innocent victims.
For any of us to reflect back some moment in time and try to attempt to think what we were thinking is almost an impossible task. And I suggest to you that the efforts of the psychiatrists to build the moment-by-moment thoughts that Mr. Hinckley was entertaining in those moments, half-hour between the time he arrived at the Hilton and the time he actually did the shooting is impossible. I suggest to you that the entire time that Mr. Hinckley was at the Hilton, the moment he saw the President, when he arrived, he was in such a deluded state he knew if you asked him "It is right to shoot the President?" Undoubtedly he would say "You don't shoot people." But in his delusion, he is not aware of the humanity of those victims. They play a very minor role in his delusional state. They are merely means to the end, to the end he wishes to accomplish: To win the love and affection and establish the relationship with Jodie Foster. I remind you that even Dr. Dietz stated that these were not the reasonable acts of a completely rational individual. I suggest to you that is a gross understatement of Mr. Hinckley's condition at that time. Now, summing up Dr. Carpenter's [testimony], he described the defendant's suicidal thoughts going back as early as 1976. . .. [In 1979 the defendant] purchases a gun and later plays Russian Roulette. Dr. Carpenter alludes to the photographs with the gun to the head. He talks about the overdose of Surmontil. These are all evidences of suicide. Evidence of this defendant's depression that existed during this critical period of time. The delusions I've described, the ideas of reference I've described, the blunted affect I've described and, again, I remind you the blunted affect really is a flatness in the emotional content of the individual. That is significant when you come to consider the totality of Mr. Hinckley's ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct. . . . Dr. Carpenter was meticulous in reviewing the entire historical buildup to that moment of stress, of ultimate stress on March 30, 1981.
Those are the factors that were considered and should be considered by you and were considered by Dr. Carpenter in assessing the defendant's responsibility.
And when asked, Dr. Carpenter said that in his opinion, the defendant, as a result of mental disease at the time of the shooting, lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. He suggested at that point while he may have known intellectually at a very superficial intellectual level--[that] it is wrong to shoot Presidents or anybody else, he was then dominated by his inner state, his inner self, his psychotic delusions.
And he was so involved in this commitment to this woman, Jodie Foster, that nothing else mattered but that he achieve his goal.
Again, I think his characterization of the victims' tragedy, though it may be as bit players, they were bit players in the mind of the defendant. I do not suggest to you that they are bit players to any of us because, indeed, they are not. But in his delusional state, that's what they were.
Likewise, when asked, Dr. Carpenter testified that the
the substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct
of March 30. And again, he talked about intellectual quality in a poor
superficial thinking level the defendant would have known it was wrong.
But when viewing "appreciate" as connoting something more than just
awareness, but a quality of reason, the reasoning process has not just
intellectual components but emotional components. The reasoning process
was so impaired that the defendant was unable to appreciate
of his conduct. That is the testimony of Dr. Carpenter. In his own mind
the defendant had two compelling reasons to do what he did. To
his own existence and to accomplish his ideal
[In] a classic understatement, Dr. Dietz stated that these were not the reasonable acts of a completely rational individual. I submit these are the acts of a totally irrational individual, driven and motivated by his own world which he created for himself, locked in his own mind, without any opportunity to have any test of those ideas from the real world because of his total isolation. Now, I want you to consider in summary form the stress factors that were building up in the period before the shooting. Obviously the first stress factor was the failure of the defendant to establish a relationship with Jodie Foster. A second stress factor was the death of John Lennon in December of 1980.
I remind you of the monologue of New Year's Eve and ask you to consider playing that. Hear once again the kind of distress and bizarre thinking that the defendant was expressing at that time.
I think a very significant stress factor in this defendant's life in this period was the failure of the psychiatric treatment. Again I don't blame anybody. I only blame the defendant's mental illness because of his inability to verbalize what was going on in his mind. Whether it was some internal inability or fear of disclosure to his parents, or just fear, I don't know. But he did not disclose to his psychiatrist what was going on. And he experienced, in that, failure the psychiatric therapy was doing him no good.
Another stress factor that I think is significant, is one I alluded to this morning, is that event of March 6, when he was in New York, stranded, without funds, wanting to come home, and rejected.
Another factor, of course, is March 7, when he arrives home and receives the ultimate, ultimate insult to him, that he is no longer welcome in the Hinckley household.
And I add to that, that very tragic and emotional moment in the defendant's life when his mother said goodbye at the airport, with a note of finality--not in the mother's mind, but in the defendant's mind.
Now, stress factors have a significance to this case that you must bear in mind. Dr. Dietz agreed that under periods of extreme stress, transient psychotic symptoms may be present in the mental disorders which he admitted the defendant suffered from. And I submit to you that the stress, accepting the Government's analysis of the mental disorder, the mental disease, I submit to you that the stresses that had built up in this man through the end of March of 1980 reached psychotic proportions.
I submit to you that this evidence demonstrates the Government has failed in its burden of proving that this defendant was mentally responsible, that this defendant had the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct on March 30, 1981, that this defendant was able to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. I submit the Government has failed to meet that burden.
[These excerpts are taken from Low, Peter, The Trial of John W. Hinckley Jr.,1986.]
|[The defendant] stalked two Presidents. Jimmy Carter in
1980. [W]e now learn he allegedly stalked President Reagan at the Blair
House downtown in Washington in December. He target practiced....What
he target practicing for? To kill himself? You don't need to target
to kill yourself. What is he target practicing with different caliber
for? To pick the best weapon, the deadliest weapon. He found it. A .22
loaded with Devastator bullets.
It was also planned and premeditated in that he practiced, he thought about it. Dr. Dietz told you of his interest in assassination. .. . His interest in fame. His interest in famous crimes. ... Mr. Hinckley admitted that he had thoughts of assassinating President Reagan as early as December of 1980.
I'm saying this to you to show you that this wasn't a wild, thoughtless, out of control act by a man who couldn't control his behavior. In fact, at 1:45 when Mr. Reagan arrived, Mr. Hinckley is standing there. There he is in (indicating exhibit). And he doesn't shoot then. He waited for the best shot. . . . At 1:45 it was not the best opportunity because the evidence shows us, does it not, that Mr. Reagan's limousine was pulled close to the Hilton. Mr. Hinckley didn't have a good shot.
[T]he evidence shows, Mr. Hinckley admitted, and it is in writing in the record [that] during the period of time when the President was in the hotel he said, "Should I do it? Should I not?" He is thinking, deliberating, planning, if you will. What is the "it"? Buy a soda? Go to the bathroom? No. Shoot the President.
He decided to do it. And when the time came to shoot him, he said. "I'll never have a better opportunity." . . . When you look at the videotape you see a Secret Service agent walks right up to Mr. Hinckley and turns to the left and it is at that point after the agent turns his back away that Mr. Hinckley pulls out the gun and fires.
Appreciate wrongfulness of his conduct and conform his behavior to the requirements of the law? You better believe it. This man was out of control or in a frenzy? Why wouldn't he pull the gun and start firing right away? Would he be able to shoot as accurately as he did? Would he be able to hit four people with [six] shots with a .22" That is what I mean by common sense. That is what I mean by common sense.
Finally, it is important to remember the choice of weapon here indicates that he had to be near the victim. Twenty feet was the range, You can see by the pictures, the President was no more than ten or 15 feet away.
Now, everything I'm going to say hereafter this morning and this afternoon has a foundation on these facts of the crime.
I want you to keep that in mind because this indictment doesn't talk about anything else than March 30, 1981, or anything else than is depicted in this evidence. He is not charged here with being sad at Christmas. He is not charged here with going to the Dakota Apartment building in New York in February. He is not even charged here with stalking President Carter in Nashville or President Carter out in Dayton. He is charged with 13 crimes that happened at 2:20 p.m. on the 30th of March.
That's the issue in this case and let us see as the day progresses how much the defense tells you about that.
The defense is allegedly that of criminal responsibility. I think you have heard every witness questioned about the two parts [of the test]. It is important that you know that because "part one" has to do with whether the man had a mental disease or defect. Mental disorder as the doctors call it.
[T]he defense presentation ... is concerned [only] about part one. [Part two concerns] whether [Hinckley's] ability to appreciate wrongfulness or conform his behavior to the requirement of the law was substantially impaired. The defense never bothered to deal with that question. Why? Because they can't. Because they can't. All these doctors' CAT scans, delusion, fantasies and everything else. Miles away from that question.
[T]he evidence shows, and the Government doesn't contend otherwise that on March 30, 1981, Mr. Hinckley had mental disorders. ...
Well, now, does that mean he is not responsible? No way. The question is whether that substantially interfered with his ability to appreciate or conform. All the doctors who testified on that score for the Government ... pointed out to you that the mere existence of a mental disorder doesn't mean that you are not criminally responsible.
These disorders that the Government doctors testified they found in Mr. Hinckley [are] personality disorders. Are they severe mental disorders? They could be. Were they severe in Mr. Hinckley? No, they were not. What are personality disorders? They don't make you out of contact with reality. Not delusional. [They are] things that hundreds of thousands of people have. I think we all had a laugh when Dr. Dietz said that this narcissistic personality even applies to some doctors. We didn't count noses on that one, but I think we could all put it on some of the psychiatrists.
I don't mean to demean psychiatrists or doctors. I'm trying to show you that the diagnosis of Mr. Hinckley doesn't meet the qualifications. But the Government doctors say, and clearly I think the evidence supports that, whatever disorders [he had] were certainly not severe ones.
Let me put it another way. There is a whole spectrum of mental disorders. There is a whole spectrum of physical disorders. If you have the sniffle and a head cold, that is one thing. If you have double pneumonia, you have trouble. I'm not trying to equate the two, but I'm trying to let you know, as the evidence shows, there is a considerable spectrum and ... it is not evident that [Hinckley] had any serious mental disorder on that day.
Now, the defense. Let me talk for a moment about what the defense is offering on this score. . . .
Isn't it interesting right from the opening statement of the defense, when Mr. Fuller stood up, you didn't hear about March 30, 1981. You heard about fantasies, Mr. Hinckley's background, mother, father, parents, family, good people, Texas Tech, writing, all these things. Jodie Foster. You didn't hear anything about March 30, 1981.
In [the cross-examination of Dr. Dietz] how much did you hear counsel for defense ask him about March 30, 1981? I don't recall very much. I will leave it up to you. Why is this? Why is this? It is obvious, isn't it? Your common sense tells you why. Because they can't look this fact in the face. They can't look this fact in the face. John Hinckley shooting the President. They can't look that fact in the face. See the question of responsibility, criminal responsibility, and the defense simply doesn't want to deal with it because the evidence, I submit to you, is clear, direct, and overwhelming.
John Hinckley led an ordinary American life. The parents loved him. There is no question about that.
A brother and sister, who he respected and admired, even envied. These people didn't offer any evidence that he suffered a serious mental disorder.
Yes, they told you he was a loner. He was sad. ... Dr. Dietz indicated to you that loneliness is perhaps the most common phenomenon in the United States and depression or sadness probably runs No. 2.
All you have to do is turn on any radio station and listen to it for half an hour. How many songs are you going to hear about these themes? We are not trivializing this, not a bit.
John was especially lonely. He was especially sad. In fact, that special sadness-well, it is now a dollar term, I guess with inflation dysthymic disorder. That is a Greek word that means "sad mood."
But these problems didn't prevent Mr. Hinckley from functioning from day to day, did it? Mr. Hinckley didn't want to work, but that wasn't because he was psychotic, but because he wanted money from his parents, his sense of entitlement.
Mr. Hinckley wanted to go chase after Jodie Foster. That is not because he was delusional or delirious. It was because he had the time to do it. Nobody made him work. He didn't have to.
You know, look at those charts (indicating). [They show] Mr. Hinckley flying all over the United States. This man is not a drifter or a loner stumbling around some little town in Nebraska running into fence posts. He is flying United Airlines, he is flying American. He took the limousine, if you will, on March 6, 1981, from New York to Newark Airport. This is probably enough miles there to qualify for the 10,000 Mile Club in some of these airlines.
Did you ever hear any evidence that Mr. Hinckley didn't have the ability to make the airline connections, to travel around and do what he wanted?
This chart proves one thing, that John Hinckley was--even you and I have trouble getting through United and doing things we have to do to get around. This doesn't prove Mr. Hinckley is mentally disordered. It also proves, by the way, he is very interested in Jodie Foster, just like any other fan would be. Just like any other young man with a fantasy.
These aren't mental defects. An obsession is not that either.
Dr. Dietz and his team concluded that Mr. Hinckley has three personality disorders, and this sadness disorder called dysthymic disorder.
Now, I am not going to go through all that again, but they concluded he wasn't delusional, had no psychosis or anything of that character.
Dr. Dietz spent, I believe, two hours telling you why on March 30, 1981, Mr. Hinckley was criminally responsible. Why he could appreciate wrongfulness. Why he could conform his behavior. Why he could understand what he was doing.
Now, Dr. Dietz also explained that these mental disorders are a narcissistic personality, mixed personality disorder, and the other one, a big long name, are very common things, and I told you before that many of these personality disorders are found [in] hundreds and thousands of people. Mr. Hinckley is not unusual.
Do you know what happened in this case, really, from all doctors? Mr. Hinckley I submit to you, is an ordinary person that has been put under a microscope. Microscope of defense doctors and microscope of
Government doctors, and what did that show? That he is an ordinary person.
Now, Dr. Dietz also indicated to you that there are certain matters or fantasies which everybody has, daydreams and the like, delusions which are serious thought disorders which reality won't change. Hallucinations [such as] hearing voices, and obsessions and preoccupations and the like. Mr. Hinckley has ... never had any delusion about Jodie Foster or anybody else. Mr. Hinckley never reported hallucinations to anybody except for Dr. Carpenter who sat down with him and talked to him so long about these voices. . . .
Now, Dr. Dietz said a couple of other important things I would like to bring to your attention...... First of all, he studied Mr. Hinckley longitudinally. In other words, from early on, all the way to the end, and he did that by talking to Mr. Hinckley, a lot of interviews, and also checking out with what he said in writing, with his parents and brother and sister, and he said Mr. Hinckley had a strong desire for fame, fame.
Why? Well, you can draw your own conclusions. I suggest to you Mr. Hinckley developed that over the years because he was sort of the fifth wheel. Scott, a successful businessman and his brother. Diane, successful daughter. Marriage, two children now, I believe, and there is John Hinckley, sort of loping beside. His dad, a successful businessman. John Hinckley wanted to be somebody. He wanted to be like John Lennon, but John Hinckley, said Dr. Dietz, wanted to do this easy. He didn't want to work. He wanted to get his inheritance, if you will, and just wanted to go that route. That is John Hinckley's route.
Dr. Dietz also suggested to you that ... John Hinckley had an interest in famous crimes, and he studied carefully over the years famous crimes. Skyjacking, shootings, things of that sort, assassination, all of those.
Why? Because he was interested in that and ultimately, said Dr. Dietz, [he] selected and chose and discarded and decided upon a crime to commit, and he did commit it on March 30, 1981. This is the deliberation, the pre-thought. Deliberation. Pre-thought. Certainly not insanity. Certainly not schizophrenia.
[These excerpts are taken from Low, Peter, The Trial of John W. Hinckley Jr.,1986.]
|Instructions by Judge Parker
The burden of proof in this, as in every other criminal proceeding, is placed upon the prosecution. Every defendant in a criminal proceeding is presumed to be innocent and this presumption of innocence is attached to the defendant throughout the trial until the defendant is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The burden is on the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and if ithe prosecution fails to sustain that burden then you have no alternative save to return a verdict of not guilty.
A defendant is not required under our system of jurisprudence to establish or to offer proof of innocence, but rather the responsibility is placed upon the shoulders of the prosecution. You are further instructed that the burden of proof never shifts or changes during the course of the trial.
Now, what does the Court mean in law by the concept of a reasonable doubt? It is a doubt based on reason, a doubt for which you can give a reason. It is not a fanciful doubt. It is not a whimsical doubt, nor a doubt based wholly on conjecture. The prosecution is not required to establish the guilt of a defendant beyond all doubt, or guilt of a defendant to a mathematical or to a scientific certainty. Its burden is simply to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, perhaps this will assist you to better understand what the Court has in mind by reasonable doubt.
If after an impartial comparison and consideration of all of the evidence you can candidly say that you have such a doubt as would cause you to hesitate to act in matters of importance to you yourself, then you have a reasonable doubt. But if after such an impartial comparison and consideration of all of the evidence and giving due consideration to the presumption of innocence which attaches to the defendant, you can truthfully say that you have an abiding conviction of the defendant's guilt such as would not cause You to hesitate to act upon in the more weighty and more serious and important matters relating to your personal affairs, then you do not have a reasonable doubt.
Now the concept of reasonable doubt, which I have just alluded to, which I have just instructed you on, not only refers and applies to the substantive counts of the indictment, but also apply to the issue of criminal responsibility which I will develop later on.
An issue is presented in this case concerning the mental condition of the defendant on March 30, 1981, the date of the several offenses alleged in the 13-count indictment. Now, in addition to proving beyond a reasofiable doubt the elements of the 13 offenses charged in the indictment, the prosecution also has a burden of proving the defendant"s criminal responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt. If you find that the Government has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any one or more of'the essential elements of the offense, you must find the defendant not guilty, and you should not consider any possible verdict relating to the question of criminal responsibility or insanity. If you find the Government has proved each essential element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must consider whether to bring in a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
And that leads me to instruct you as follows: That, with respect to each count, each of the 13 counts, of the indictment, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity. And in that connection, the Court will afford you a jury verdict form which will indicate the act, the charge in the ihdictment, explain in a summary fashion what it is, and to the right will give you the possible verdicts which I've just indicated: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The law provides that a jury shall bring in a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity if at the time of the criminal conduct the defendant, as a result of mental disease or defect, either lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law or lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct....
Every man is presumed to be sane. That is, to be without mental disease or defect, and to be responsible for his acts. But that presumption no longer controls when evidence is introduced that he may have a mental disease or defect. The term "insanity" does 'not require a showing that the defendant was disoriented at the time or place. "Mental disease or defect" includes any abnormal condition of the mind, regardless of its medical label, which substantially affects mental or emotional processes and substantially impairs his behavior controls.
The term "behavior controls" refers to the processes and capacity of a person to regulate and control his conduct and his actions. In considering whether the defendant had a mental disease or defect at the time of the unlawful acts with which he is charged, you may consider testimony in this case concerning the development, adaptation, and functioning,of these mental and emotional processes and.behavior controls. The term "mental disease" differs from "mental defect" in that the former is a condition which is eithbr capable of improving or deteriorating, while the latter is a condition not capable of improving or deteriorating.
The burden is on the Government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either that the defendant was not suffering from a mental disease or defect on March 30, 1981, or else that he nevertheless had substantial capacity on that date both to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law and to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct. If the Government has not established this to your satisfaction, beyond a reasonable doubt, then you shall bring a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
In considering the issue of insanity, you may consider the evidence that has been admitted as to the defendant's mental condition before and after the several offenses charged, as well as the evidence as to the mental condition on that date, namely, March 30, 1981. The evidence as to the defendant's mental condition before and after that date was admitted solely for the purpose of assisting you to determine the defendant's condition on the date of the alleged offense, March 30, 1981....
Whether the defendant had a mental disease or defect must be determined by you under the explanation of those terms as it was given to you by the Court....
You may also consider that every man is presumed to be sane, that is, to be without mental disease or defect and to be responsible for his acts. You should consider this principle in light of all of the evidence in the case and give it such weight as you believe it is fairly entitled to receive. You should consider the evidence with respect to the insanity or responsibility issue separately as to each offense with which the defendant is charged. If you find with reference to any offense that at the time of the criminal conduct with which the defendant is charged as a result of a mental disease or defect he either lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law or lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, you must find the defendant "not guilty" of such offense "by reason of insanity."
In any event, this does not change the responsibility and burden placed upon the Government, namely, that it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant'was criminally responsible for his acts committed, allegedly committed on March 30, 1981.
If the defendant is found "not guilty by reason of insanity," it becomes the duty of the Court to commit him to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. There will be a hearing within 50 days to determine whether the defendant is entitled to be released. In that hearing the defendant has the burden of proof. The defendant will remain in custody and will be entitled to release from custody only if the Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that he is not likely to injure himself or other persons due to a mental disease.