When Ronald Reagan was shot nearly a year ago, the meter began running on a long list of expenses aimed at bringing the accused gunman to trial. Investigative efforts and prosecutors' salaries are obvious costs that grew out last March's shooting, but this spring it is the trial of John W. Hinckley Jr. that will cost taxpayers dearly. The big expense: providing security for Hinckley.
Salaries and overtime for Federal Protective Service employes, charged with guarding the U.S. District Court building during the trial, might total as much as $10,000 a week.
And if the jury is sequestered--a likely move considering the publicity surrounding the case--the U.S. marshals who protect Hinckley (and watch over sequestered jurors) may run up additional weekly tabs of $9,500 for salaries and overtime.
The clerk of the District Court, James Davey, says not since the Orlando Letelier trial has security been so tight.
"In the Letelier case, we protected the judge as well as the building and witnesses," says Davey. "This one is solely aimed at protecting the defendant."
Since Hinckley's arrest last March, the U.S. marshal service has been guarding him, most recently at Fort Meade, where Hinckley awaits the results of procedural appeals before beginning a trial that court observers estimate will last four to six weeks. Chief U.S. Marshal Jerry Bullock says that as of December, protecting Hinckley had cost the marshal service more than $255,000, and the meter is still running.