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Doctors seek more freedom for Hinckley

Doctors treating John Hinckley Jr. are asking a federal judge to allow the presidential assailant to obtain a driver's license, spend more unsupervised time in the community and extend visits to his mother's home in Virginia, according to court records filed this week.

The request by doctors at St. Elizabeths Hospital was revealed in court papers filed by prosecutors and defense lawyers who are sparring over the issue.

Hinckley, 53, who shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men in 1981, has gained more freedom in recent years from St. Elizabeths Hospital, where he has been held since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Hinckley is allowed to visit his mother in the Williamsburg area for six-day stretches, and a federal judge last year made it easier for him to leave the psychiatric facility with groups of patients, court records show.

Hinckley's doctors would like to expand those privileges, and their request is to be heard July 21.

According to court filings, doctors would like to extend Hinckley's visits to his mother's home to 10 days. Doctors are also seeking to double the time Hinckley can spend unaccompanied in Williamsburg each day, according to prosecutors. Officials have said Hinckley can spend two hours daily unsupervised.

The doctors asked for more time for Hinckley to volunteer and take driving lessons, prosecutors wrote.

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