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The Effect of John Hinckley Jr on the Insanity Defense The insanity defense has always been a very controversial issue in the United States Many people do not believe that by being classified as insane is a viable excuse for committing a crime especially one as heinous as murder There are many opponents to the use of the insanity plea because they feel that those who are found not guilty by reason of insanity are not punished for their criminal actions Over time there have been several changes made to the defense plea but it was not until the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr that the insanity defense came under high scrutiny in the United States and many Americans called for reform On March 30 1981 John Hinckley Jr did the unthinkable As President Reagan and several members of his staff exited the Washington Hilton Hotel Hinckley opened fire Once the shots rang out secret service agents grabbed President Reagan put him into a limousine and brought him to safety It was not until later that the agents realized that the president had been wounded along with three other individuals The president was brought to George Washington Hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a collapsed lung and other damage that was caused by the 22 caliber bullet that passed through his ribs Hinckley was arrested at the scene and charged with 13 counts of criminal activity which included the attempted assassination of President Reagan assault with a deadly weapon and assault with the intent to kill The one thing that made this case unique was the fact that Hinckleys actions were captured on film which proved without a doubt that Hinckley was the gunman This fact left Hinckleys defense team with one course of action to plead not guilty by reason of insanity In the time that led up to the assassination attempt Hinckley had
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