Lawyers for John W. Hinckley Jr., the man accused of the attempted assassination of President Reagan, asked federal prosecutors to turn over records of all statements Hinckley made to government-appointed psychiatrists who have been evaluating him..
In papers filed in U.S. District Court here, Hinckley's lawyers said they need the information to help them decide whether to argue that Hinckley was insane at the time of the incident or that his mental capacity was so diminished that he was not responsible for his acts.
Prosecutors, who have thus far refused to provide such material to the defense, have not responded to the defense attorney's latest demands.
Hinckley, 26, pleaded not guilty last month to charges that he attempted to kill Reagan and shot and wounded three others outside the Washington Hilton Hotel last March 30. Judge Barrington D. Parker gave Hinckley's lawyers until Sept. 28 to notify the court whether they will raise the insanity defense.
Defense attorney Vincent J. Fuller said in court papers that the government has turned over FBI notes of interviews with Hinckley as well as a medical file prepared at the federal correctional institution at Butner, N.C., where Hinckley was held until Aug. 17. Hinckley is now being held at the Army stockade at Fort Meade, Md.
The government has agreed to allow one of its psychiatrists to brief the defense doctors on Hinckley's statements, but that "doctor to doctor" exchange would not permit defense lawyers to evaluate the legal significance of Hinckley's actual statements, Fuller contended in court papers filed Friday.
Federal court rules in criminal cases require the prosecution to give the defense copies of any relevant statements made by a defendant, such as confessions. The government must also supply defense lawyers with any information that would help clear a defendant of a criminal charge.
In the Hinckley case, the prosecution has acknowledged that it would have to inform the defense if a government psychiatrist determined that Hinckley was not criminally responsible for his acts at the time of the shooting of the president. But Hinckley's lawyers also want the psychiatrists' notes and records to see whether they are favorable to Hinckley's defense.