The jury decided that John Hickley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan, was insane at the time. He is still at St. Elizabeth's mental hospital Washington D.C.
Now a judge is hearing arguments that Hinckley has recovered enough to have longer stays away from the hospital. Eventually, that could lead to his full release.
As it is, he has been allowed to visit with his mother in Virginia. The question is: can mental illness be managed, like many other chronic diseases? Can society assume that Hinckley can function outside an institution without medical supervision? And will public opinion give Hinckley a free pass?