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Following is a recent sample of our writer's work.

Lawyer, prosecutors clash over Reagan shooter's release


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 should be released from a mental hospital, his lawyer argued in federal court on Tuesday, while prosecutors said he should only be freed under tight restrictions.

John Hinckley Jr., who shot Reagan and three others, no longer suffers from the personality disorder that led him to try to kill the president, his attorney Barry Levine said during final arguments of a hearing in U.S. District Court.

"Every witness agrees that the risk of danger is decidedly low," Levine told U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman.

Hinckley, who turns 60 this month, spends 17 days a month at his mother's home in Williamsburg, Virginia. He spends the rest of the time at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where he was institutionalized in 1982 after a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

He and his attorneys have asked Friedman to allow him to be released permanently. They based their plea largely on testimony from Saint Elizabeths doctors who said Hinckley's depression and narcissism were in remission, meaning he no longer is a danger to society.

Hinckley regrets the shooting and complied with "99 percent" of the conditions required by the court when he stays at his 89-year-old mother's house, Levine said.

Justice Department attorneys told Friedman that if Hinckley were released, it should be only under tight restrictions monitored by the Secret Service.

The restrictions should include satellite monitoring devices on his cell phone, car and an ankle bracelet, the prosecutors say. He should not be allowed to travel alone more than 30 miles (48 km) from Williamsburg, and he should be ordered to stay away from politicians and celebrities.

His Internet use should be monitored and he should notify the Secret Service of his daily itinerary. If he violates any of the conditions, he could be forced to return to Saint Elizabeths.

"He is still mentally ill," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Kennedy. "He will always suffer from a personality disorder."

Hinckley, now gray haired, sat quietly next to his lawyers during the hearing. He was 25 when he wounded Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a police officer.

Friedman did not say when he would rule on Hinckley's request.

Virginia prosecutor calls for probe into 2013 police shooting

By Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Virginia prosecutor called on Wednesday for a grand jury to consider criminal charges against a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed resident of a Washington suburb in August 2013.Fairfax County, Virginia, Chief Prosecutor Raymond Morrogh said he asked the county circuit court to empanel a grand jury the day after the county agreed to pay John Geer's family $2.95 million to settle its wrongful death lawsuit.

The police officer who shot him, identified as Adam Torres, said Geer, 46, reached toward his waist as if trying to grab a gun. Police were called to the townhouse, which Geer shared with his girlfriend and their two children, after a report of a domestic dispute.

Geer's father, four police officers and a friend said Geer was standing in the doorway of his Springfield, Virginia, home with his hands near his head when Torres shot him. Some witnesses also said Geer had shown police a holstered gun and placed it at his feet before he was shot. 

The shooting of Geer, who was white, prompted protests similar to the anger that followed other recent incidents involving police, including the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore this week after suffering a serious injury in police custody.

Fairfax County officials said in a statement the Geer shooting "remains under a police administrative review process and criminal investigation at both the federal and state levels."

The grand jury, which is expected to be convened by mid-summer, would consist of local residents who would be presented evidence by prosecutors to help them decide whether to indict the officer.

"The Geer family welcomes this development as a long awaited step in the direction of obtaining justice," Michael Lieberman, an attorney for the family, said in a statement. "We hope that the Commonwealth Attorney will bring this matter before the special grand jury sooner than later."

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors organized a commission to review police policies and to release information to the public after Geer's death. Local prosecutors and Justice Department attorneys initially accused Fairfax police of being slow to release personnel information about the officer who shot Geer.

Friends seek financial aid for family of U.S. civil rights leader Fauntroy

By Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Friends of civil rights leader Walter Fauntroy, who left Washington for the Middle East in 2012 and refuses to come home, asked the public on Wednesday to help his family financially.

The 82-year-old former congressional delegate, who was an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, is living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A bank is foreclosing on his house and a judge has issued a bench warrant to make him answer for bad debts.

His wife, Dorothy, 80, is struggling to repay a loan her husband took out in 2006. The couple filed for bankruptcy this month, claiming between $500,000 and $1 million in debt.

"There's something wrong here. We know that," said Denise Rolark-Barnes, publisher of the Washington Informer newspaper, during a news conference at the United Black Fund headquarters.

Several of his friends want to travel to Dubai to meet with Fauntroy to assess his condition and encourage him to come home, she said.

The bankruptcy filing in District of Columbia Superior Court said Fauntroy had suffered "a medical emergency," but gave no details.

His friends also want to rule out the possibility that an age-related health problem might be influencing his decisions. United Black Fund officials called the news conference to solicit donations for the Fauntroy family.

Fauntroy served from 1971 to 1991 as the District of Columbia first delegate in Congress in more than a century.

He helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. organize the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" protest in Selma, Alabama, that led to the landmark Voting Rights Act.

He retired as pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington six years ago.

Johnny Barnes, Fauntroy's attorney, said he had exchanged letters, email and telephone calls with Fauntroy as recently as three days ago.

Fauntroy told him he was on a mission to promote peace and environmentally friendly technology and to end world hunger, Barnes said.

Barnes said Fauntroy was not trying to escape debt or the warrant issued by a Prince George's County, Maryland, judge after Fauntroy wrote a $55,000 bad check to a company that helped organize a 2009 inauguration ball for President Barack Obama.