James Brady shooting declared a homicide… more than three decades later

posted at 2:31 pm on August 9, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I have to confess, when I first saw the headlines for this story popping up in my Twitter timeline, my initial thoughts ran in very different directions than the facts of the case. Former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady’s recent death had been ruled a homicide, and I immediately wondered who had done him in at his later stage of life. (He was 73 at the time of his passing.) Had he been poisoned? Some sort of medical malpractice? But no, it turned out that the cause of death was going to be listed as a result of his shooting 33 years ago.

The death this week of James S. Brady, the former White House press secretary, has been ruled a homicide 33 years after he was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, police department officials here said Friday.

Officials said the ruling was made by the medical examiner in Northern Virginia, where Mr. Brady died Monday at 73. The medical examiner’s office would not comment on the cause and manner of Mr. Brady’s death.

“We did do an autopsy on Mr. Brady, and that autopsy is complete,” a spokeswoman said.

Gail Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Brady family, said the ruling should really “be no surprise to anybody.”

“Jim had been long suffering severe health consequences since the shooting,” she said, adding that the family had not received official word of the ruling from either the medical examiner’s office or the police.

The fact that the shooting had a profound, detrimental effect on Brady’s health for the rest of his life is beyond dispute. But I’ll confess that I was immediately uncomfortable with describing it as the actual “cause of death” in this situation. Upon further consideration, it also became clear that there’s probably a very big gray area in the law on this question. Not everyone who dies from a violent attack expires on the scene. If a victim is shot on the sidewalk in front of their office but survives long enough to be taken to the emergency room and then dies during surgery later that night, I don’t think anyone would claim they weren’t a homicide victim.(But even in that case, what if the wound was evaluated as being completely survivable, but clear, gross malpractice on the part of the surgeon was later proven?)

People might also linger on for days or even weeks after a traumatic injury, only to expire from secondary effects. (We’ve seen that in some bombing attacks.) But where do you draw the line in terms of who died as a direct result of an attack and those who died of “natural causes” some great time later. Brady actually outlived the national average lifespan. Could his crazed shooter, John Hinckley Jr, actually be prosecuted for his murder even after having stood trial for his attempted murder decades ago? Attorney Doug Mataconis shares his thoughts.

The original 13 count indictment against Hinckley in Federal Court, for example, included attempted murder charges under both Federal and District of Columbia law for the shootings of President Reagan, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and Brady.(See this article from the Toledo Blade from August 25, 1981, and this Christian Science Monitor article from the same day.) He was acquitted on all of these charges based on the psychiatric evidence that was presented in Court. While double jeopardy would not, in theory, bar bringing murder charges even though Hinckley was a acquitted of the attempted murder of the same person since these are different offenses, one would imagine that Hinckley’s defense would clearly raise this argument before trial.

More importantly, though, even if the prosecution were able to get beyond the double jeopardy issue it is hard to see how they’d be able to avoid the same outcome that they ended up with 32 years ago. While the law has changed significantly since the Hinckley verdict regarding the what a Defendant must prove in order to establish legal insanity at trial, it seems clear that the law that would apply in a trial today for the murder of James Brady would be the law as it existed in 1982 when Hinckley was on trial. Whether Hinckley was tried before a jury or by a Judge, that trier of fact would be required to apply the law as it existed back then, which was much more favorable to Defendants than it is today.

So if I’m following Doug correctly, it’s technically possible that murder charges could be brought against Hinkley, but hopes for a favorable outcome by the prosecution would be dubious at best. I certainly won’t argue with the second part, and frankly I doubt we’ll see any new court action out of it. But should it even be possible to bring those charges? I’m not saying anything here to take away from the seriousness of Hinkley’s crime, nor the tragic consequences for James Brady. I’m simply asking if there shouldn’t be some sort of expiration date after which a person’s death should be attributed to either a new agent or natural causes rather than pushing back to the original attack. Hinkley was, in my view, clearly guilty of attempted murder (though he got off on the insanity defense) but can he now be declared guilty of murder? Didn’t Brady actually survive the attempt?

I asked Doug about it while preparing this article and he responded as follows:

Some of your questions are, I think, answered by Eugene Volokh in the piece I linked in the post. He talks about the “year and a day” rule, which is a common law rule that basically said that a murder charge could not be brought if someone died more than a year and a day after the action which allegedly caused the death. There have been many exceptions made to the rule over the years, and it’s not clear if it would even apply under Federal or D.C. Law, but that’s one argument [Hinkley's] lawyers would likely use if he were indicted for murder.

The second argument is a bit more complicated,, buy yes you’re basically right that the idea that he was tried for attempted murder and acquitted by reason of insanity 32 years ago would preclude the prosecution from trying him for murder now.

As Volokh put it:

“The jury determined by a valid and final judgment that Hinckley was insane, and thus couldn’t be liable for attempted murder. This judgment is binding on the government, and since the insanity defense applies the same way for murder as for attempted murder, it means that Hinckley would now be conclusively presumed to have been insane for purposes of any murder prosecution as well. He would have an ironclad defense to the murder charge, and thus any case against him couldn’t proceed. “

I wasn’t familiar with this “year and a day” rule, but since it’s a “rule” rather than a “law and many exceptions have been made, it doesn’t seem to be very iron clad.

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.


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Why?

By whom?

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM

I have no problem with this, as long as it also applies to rape and incest…

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM

I hope you are being sarcastic…if not, good grief…

right2bright on August 9, 2014 at 2:38 PM

I wasn’t familiar with this “year and a day” rule, but since it’s a “rule” rather than a “law and many exceptions have been made, it doesn’t seem to be very iron clad.

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

If the death is a result of the original action, the charge of murder can be applied. The “rule” is just a rule. And not a very good one, unless the perpetrator has served his sentence and reformed. Then a consideration can be made. It is silly that Hinkley is allowed out, and I would think the same if he had shot people I didn’t like.

cozmo on August 9, 2014 at 2:40 PM

The year and a day rule goes back before there were proper autopsies that could identify the cause of death.

The other issue, “collateral estoppel” or “issue preclusion” basically says if an issue has been litigated once between the same parties, it can’t be re-litigated. The issue would be Hinckley’s sanity at the time of the shooting. Once the jury decided that issue, the parties are then bound by it, even though they might litigate other issues in a future case.

Wethal on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Yes it is wrong that Hickley is allowed out. It’s only for short periods of time, but still is wrong.

cat_owner on August 9, 2014 at 2:44 PM

In a trial that took place at the time, it was ruled that Hinkley did not attempt to murder James Brady. To come back now, 33 years later, and rule that somehow in spite of that, he actually did murder Mr. Brady would be a gross miscarriage of justice, even if the law technically permits it.

Do I think that the shooting resulted in health problems that contributed to Mr. Brady’s death? Probably. But do I think that allowing someone to be prosecuted for murder when the death is separated from the criminal act by 33 years would set a horrible precedent? Absolutely.

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

This is more about the politics of being able to inflate the murder rate due to handguns, and in a very visible manner than anything else. It has everything to do with politics, and not one thing to do with our criminal law nor reopening a case against Mr. Hinkley. If Hinkley is prosecuted under this ruling, and I believe that to be a big if, it’ll be a new front on the gun control debate, blared on the alphabet media networks as if it were the O.J. Simpson Trial.

Flyovercountry on August 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Anti-gun lobby

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

This was my first thought as well. This is nothing more than to try to inflate deaths from guns statistics.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Having survived 33 years after the shooting, into what could be correctly termed a ripe old age, I seriously doubt that any pathologist not riding a political hobby horse could say that the shooting was THE proximate cause of Brady’s death.

Contributory? Maybe, but not overwhelmingly contributory if Brady managed to live 3+ decades while in the process of being murdered.

Dolce Far Niente on August 9, 2014 at 2:51 PM

If Hinckley hadn’t been found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could possibly be tried again, as double jeopardy only applies to the same crime.

We had a cop in Philly who was shot by robber decades ago. Robber convicted of attempted murder. Robber did time, but so did cop – as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. When the cop died, the coroner ruled death caused by shooting. So they arrested the robber for murder.

Wethal on August 9, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Excellent answer.

cat_owner on August 9, 2014 at 3:01 PM

If a person was a vegetable for those 33 years and then died, wouldn’t it then be a homicide?

tomas on August 9, 2014 at 3:03 PM

As has been stated, this is clearly a political decision

Tard on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

His Death is NOT a “homicide”……UNLESS you are a Doctor who is a Gun-Control Advocate…..

williamg on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

I’m not big on social justice. That is a leftist quagmire.

tomas on August 9, 2014 at 3:06 PM

That’s like saying a concussion one received 33 years ago in a car accident was the cause of that person’s death today. I smell alterior motives with this crazy ruling.

iamsaved on August 9, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Slightly OT – The book “Rawhide Down” by Del Quentin Wilber is a great read that chronicles the near assassination of President Reagan with detail and drama that anyone interested can enjoy.

fortcoins on August 9, 2014 at 3:06 PM

What a dumb idea. The man lived for 33 more years.

The gun grabbers pushed this. They have exploited this man and won’t let his death slow them down.

The media are only too happy to do their part now.

Moesart on August 9, 2014 at 3:14 PM

This, to me, smacks as some Northern Virginia liberal Medical Examiner trying an end-run around the law to make a statement about his hatred of the Second Amendment.

It would be one thing if Brady was in a coma since the shooting. But Brady was a darling of the left when he took on the job of attacking the Constitution. The death of Brady while unfortunate (even for a worthless gun-hating bastard) does not rise to the level of homicide.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Think of all the veterans that have died due to not getting medical attention from the VA…murder?

trs on August 9, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The ruling by the Medical Examiner must surely have been influenced by Sarah Brady and her anti-constitution harpies.

They can’t even wait until the poor man is in the ground before waving his bloody shirt to gain publicity and funding. They truly are terrible, soulless people.

TKindred on August 9, 2014 at 3:18 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

What I always thought was so sad about this case was that the anti-gun Left hated Brady’s boss with the intensity of a thousand suns. Yet they immediately embraced Brady, solely because they could use him as their poster boy for gun control.

Somehow I doubt that if the situation was reversed, and it was Reagan with Brady’s injuries, that they would have embraced Reagan in a comparable way.

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Think of all the veterans that have died due to not getting medical attention from the VA…murder?

trs on August 9, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Absolutely! Murder by omission. I would venture to say all involved will not be pleased on judgement day and their sins are revealed to all.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

As has been stated, this is clearly a political decision

Tard on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

If so, it is one that has not gone over well. Some gun-grabbing Medical Examiner who was too cute by half in making a determination of Brady’s death.

If this holds, then coal company officials could be charged with murder when a miner dies 40 years after working in the mines. NFL team owners can be charged with murder when a player dies from trauma suffered decades previously. Etc.

Of course this same Medical Examiner, I am sure, wouldn’t dream of making a ruling of homicide when some attacker kills the unborn child of his victim.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Think of all the veterans that have died due to not getting medical attention from the VA…murder?

trs on August 9, 2014 at 3:15 PM

At least negligent homicide. If the families would start filing lawsuits against the bureaucrats and administrators I bet things would get cleaned up post-haste.

TKindred on August 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Gail Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Brady family, said the ruling should really “be no surprise to anybody.”

And, of course, the Brady family is still out there attacking the Second Amendment. Not even the corpse of Jim Brady is enough to give them pause.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:22 PM

The medical examiner’s office would not comment on the cause and manner of Mr. Brady’s death.

.
That is mysterious, right there….
.
I bet that Ms. Jodie Foster, Actress & Activist Lesbian, would be happy to know that Hinckley Jr. had a murder beef hanging over his head that would, in all likelihood, keep him under lock and key for the rest of his natural life.

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Brady might not have lived to 73 if he hadn’t been shot. He’s probably had more medical care since being shot than your average citizen.

Woody

woodcdi on August 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

I wasn’t familiar with this “year and a day” rule, but since it’s a “rule” rather than a “law and many exceptions have been made, it doesn’t seem to be very iron clad.

That’s not the part that’s iron-clad. Here is the iron-clad part:

This judgment is binding on the government, and since the insanity defense applies the same way for murder as for attempted murder, it means that Hinckley would now be conclusively presumed to have been insane for purposes of any murder prosecution as well.

He has a court ruling that says on the day of the crime he was criminally insane. The attempted homicide and the homicide occurred on the same day, indeed were the same incident. Therefore…

rogaineguy on August 9, 2014 at 3:28 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Bingo!

bofh on August 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Rubbish. The man may have died sooner, had he not been shot, and been confined to a wheelchair. That is not sarcasm. It’s just a potential fact.

rickv404 on August 9, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Pres. Reagan also died. Shouldn’t that also have been ruled a homicide?

Sebastian on August 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM

The death of Brady while unfortunate (even for a worthless gun-hating bastard) does not rise to the level of homicide.

Jim Brady had no idea what was being done in his name. It was all about his wife and the left. And really, to call a fairly good man a worthless bastard? Seems you’re not such the “Happy” Nomad.

bernzright777 on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The ruling by the Medical Examiner must surely have been influenced by Sarah Brady and her anti-constitution harpies.

They can’t even wait until the poor man is in the ground before waving his bloody shirt to gain publicity and funding. They truly are terrible, soulless people.

TKindred on August 9, 2014 at 3:18 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

As has been stated, this is clearly a political decision

Tard on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

This was my first thought as well. This is nothing more than to try to inflate deaths from guns statistics.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Any evidence whatsoever to back this up? I can’t even find the name of the Chief Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, it’s pretty clear that it’s not an elective or appointive office — it’s a civil service position that goes to professional ME’s — and I haven’t seen any Virginia politician run with it (gun control being a tough issue in that state to go left on). And it’s hardly a stretch to say that the injuries incurred when he was shot contributed to long-term health effects that killed him early, though whether that justifies a murder rap is debatable.

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Yeah, that’s just plain weird. Based on that reasoning one could argue that virtually anyone who dies was “murdered” if they had ever been in any physical confrontation with anyone in their entire lives.

Like others, I smell a politically-motivated rat.

WhatSlushfund on August 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

That’ll show em!

sharrukin on August 9, 2014 at 3:50 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Try to comprehend what is being said. Commenters here can speculate all they want. FWIW, the 4 comments you copy and pasted above sure make a lot of sense, seeing as who Sarah B and her merry band of gun grabbers are. God, you’re such an Urban Elitist!

bernzright777 on August 9, 2014 at 3:53 PM

I wasn’t familiar with this “year and a day” rule, but since it’s a “rule” rather than a “law and many exceptions have been made, it doesn’t seem to be very iron clad.

It’s English common law from Medieval times. It’s arguably still applicable unless abrogated by statute or a court ruling. 33 years is probably too much of a stretch for a murder charge.

rbj on August 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Any evidence whatsoever to back this up? I can’t even find the name of the Chief Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, it’s pretty clear that it’s not an elective or appointive office — it’s a civil service position that goes to professional ME’s — and I haven’t seen any Virginia politician run with it (gun control being a tough issue in that state to go left on). And it’s hardly a stretch to say that the injuries incurred when he was shot contributed to long-term health effects that killed him early, though whether that justifies a murder rap is debatable.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

UE are you ignorant or just lazy? There is no “Chief Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia.” Virginia has a Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond. The Medical Examiner who made this ruling was working out of the Northern region of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

A little more about these local medical examiners who are appointed by the Chief Medical Examiner (from the VA Govt website)-

A Virginia city or county medical examiner is a physician appointed by law to receive the initial call of death and determine whether that death falls within the jurisdiction of the medical examiner and, in some cases, determine the cause and manner of death of persons who die under specific circumstances spelled out by law. For a more specific overview of the duties of a local medical examiner, some background information on the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the types of deaths investigated by the medical examiner system please go to http://www.vdh.state.va.us/medExam/AboutMedExaminer.htm.

Although it is impossible to place a monetary value on the services the medical examiner offers to his or her community, the local medical examiners are compensated on a case-by-case basis. Payment is $150 per case that falls under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner and an additional $50 if a scene visit is conducted.

In other words there is some gun-hating liberal in Northern Virginia who sold out the Constitution and rule of law for a stinking $150. Judas got a better deal.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM

It’s English common law from Medieval times. It’s arguably still applicable unless abrogated by statute or a court ruling. 33 years is probably too much of a stretch for a murder charge.

rbj on August 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

But……. Jim Brady was unable to see his great great grandkids before he died. So it must be homicide.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This seems… bizarre. Otherwise… anyone who ever survives a shooting, knifing, being hit by a car, etc – and survives – will have been ‘murdered’ upon their eventual death… *decades* later?

Really?

Midas on August 9, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Jim Brady had no idea what was being done in his name. It was all about his wife and the left. And really, to call a fairly good man a worthless bastard? Seems you’re not such the “Happy” Nomad.

bernzright777 on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Sorry I draw the line at mourning a man’s death at the point he is most known in later years for attacking the Constitution like a filthy rat gnawing around the edges and not particularly concerned about the second order effects of his actions. There is even an anti-Constitutional bill named after the bastard.

And don’t think for an instant that the disgusting Brady family is doing stuff that is outside what Jim Brady would have wished. The Brady foundation was for years the bulwark for gun grabbing liberals until they got a more attractive poster victim in Gabby Giffords.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Anti-gun lobby

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Yep of which Brady was a big part (or unwilling tool)

Pelosi Schmelosi on August 9, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Do I think that the shooting resulted in health problems that contributed to Mr. Brady’s death? Probably. But do I think that allowing someone to be prosecuted for murder when the death is separated from the criminal act by 33 years would set a horrible precedent? Absolutely.

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Agreed. Not only prosecutors, but tort lawyers would have a field day.

cheeflo on August 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Homicide at this late date seems a bit of a stretch as Brady was an unintentional target. I don’t think any honest prosecutor would touch this.

WestVirginiaRebel on August 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Hmmm … if he was shot last week, was in a coma for a few days, and then died, it’s a no-brainer the medical examiner would come out immediately and say the death was the result of gunshot wounds. Yet, in this case, the medical examiner refuses to say what the actual cause of of death is. It’s a no-brainer it’s political.

Even in no-brainer situations, you can’t even figure it out and yet you call yourself an elitist. It’s kinda a no-brainer you’re an idiot.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 4:19 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Herbie Urbie……Since the facts on the ground have yet to be reviewed…who knows?

Folks on the right have one opinion and folks on the left, including you, have a different opinion. Seems there is no difference between the two groups as who knows the motivation at this time.

I learned long time ago to not point fingers and sheet in my mess kit. You seem to enjoy doing both. Some advice, wash your spork first before eating. Gives you better breath. Chuckle.

My opinion of the matter…like NH370, I shall wait and see. You, not so much.

Hope all is well with you.

HonestLib on August 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Sheesh MH370. Yeppers I can’t type or preview. Just a dumb Irish Git I am.

HonestLib on August 9, 2014 at 4:23 PM

UE are you ignorant or just lazy? There is no “Chief Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia.” Virginia has a Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond. The Medical Examiner who made this ruling was working out of the Northern region of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

A little more about these local medical examiners who are appointed by the Chief Medical Examiner (from the VA Govt website)-

A Virginia city or county medical examiner is a physician appointed by law to receive the initial call of death and determine whether that death falls within the jurisdiction of the medical examiner and, in some cases, determine the cause and manner of death of persons who die under specific circumstances spelled out by law. For a more specific overview of the duties of a local medical examiner, some background information on the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the types of deaths investigated by the medical examiner system please go to http://www.vdh.state.va.us/medExam/AboutMedExaminer.htm.

Although it is impossible to place a monetary value on the services the medical examiner offers to his or her community, the local medical examiners are compensated on a case-by-case basis. Payment is $150 per case that falls under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner and an additional $50 if a scene visit is conducted.

In other words there is some gun-hating liberal in Northern Virginia who sold out the Constitution and rule of law for a stinking $150. Judas got a better deal.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM

First, you linked to information about a city or county medical examiner when the ruling was by the Northern Virginia branch of the state medical officer

Second, you don;t even know the name of the person you’re railing against.

You have zero credibility.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 4:24 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban onanist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

How’s Jesse Jacksum’s love-child? Have you bought him his first MAC-9 yet?

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

No murder charge will be filed because Brady didn’t look like Trayvon.

workingclass artist on August 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban elitist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

What is this “gun nut” business? Are you trying to suggest that all gun owners are nuts? That nuttiness goes along with a fondness for guns? It seems like you’re trying to smear all gun owners.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Injure someone with a gun, face murder charges when he dies 30-50 years later.

That’ll teach those clingers.

petefrt on August 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Anything to keep the narrative and agenda going….
The left never lets the Truth get in the way……

crosshugger on August 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

If Hinckley hadn’t been found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could possibly be tried again, as double jeopardy only applies to the same crime.

Wethal on August 9, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Has Hinckley previously been tried for the murder of James Brady?

DarkCurrent on August 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Why?

So Brady can be a true “martyr” for the anti-gun crowd.

Makes sense. They pretty much lie about everything they put out.

The burden should be on the coroner’s office and their autopsy findings.

GarandFan on August 9, 2014 at 4:51 PM

a potential fact.

rickv404 on August 9, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Heh. A ‘potential fact’. I like it!

DarkCurrent on August 9, 2014 at 4:51 PM

His Death is NOT a “homicide”……UNLESS you are a Doctor who is a Gun-Control Advocate…..

williamg on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Exactly, but I have no problem going back 30 years to prosecute a person who contributed to the death of the someone.

Brady was not the same since that shooting, his life was not “normal”, and Hinckley did take from Brady his life, as he knew it.

Doesn’t justify the misplaced effort and “success” of the Brady bill, and using him as a prop…but the fact that he was in the condition he was, made him that prop.

That bill and subsequent bill I blame as much on Hinckley as I do Brady. Retribution I understand, as displaces as it was…but Hinckley had no excuse. And I don’t want other like him to think they get off because “time heals all wounds”.

right2bright on August 9, 2014 at 4:58 PM

This is how goofy I am. When I heard on the radio that Mr. Brady’s death had been ruled a homicide, I didn’t even connect the original shooting. I was positive it had to be some kind of a mistake, no one would hurt that poor gentleman. The man was a brave survivor and I think this is insulting to the life he made after the shooting.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM

The ruling by the Medical Examiner must surely have been influenced by Sarah Brady and her anti-constitution harpies.

They can’t even wait until the poor man is in the ground before waving his bloody shirt to gain publicity and funding. They truly are terrible, soulless people.

TKindred on August 9, 2014 at 3:18 PM

I suggest that his wife is driving this in order to gain one last bit of propaganda value for her anti-civil-rights organization.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM

As has been stated, this is clearly a political decision

Tard on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

This was my first thought as well. This is nothing more than to try to inflate deaths from guns statistics.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Any evidence whatsoever to back this up? I can’t even find the name of the Chief Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, it’s pretty clear that it’s not an elective or appointive office — it’s a civil service position that goes to professional ME’s — and I haven’t seen any Virginia politician run with it (gun control being a tough issue in that state to go left on). And it’s hardly a stretch to say that the injuries incurred when he was shot contributed to long-term health effects that killed him early, though whether that justifies a murder rap is debatable.

So. Evidence please. Or I’ll assume that this is more gun nut paranoia.

urban effetist on August 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

I notice that you simply pretend that my post 1 minute after the first post you quote above doesn’t exist.

If the situation had been reversed, and it was Reagan who had Brady’s injuries, would your side still embrace him they way they did Brady?

Take your time, I have a 10 acre field of sundials warming up!

Bonus question: Was Hinckley also a gun nut?

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

If my dad only lived to 72, does that mean someone murdered him. I mean, he did have some horrendous knees surgery back in 1940, that probably killed him? Damn Doctors! @#$@@@#$

rgranger on August 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Has Hinckley previously been tried for the murder of James Brady?

DarkCurrent on August 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

It’s kinda hard to be tried for murder when the person doesn’t die.

UnstChem on August 9, 2014 at 5:31 PM

I, for one, would dearly love to know what evidence the coroner found that linked Mr Brady’s death DIRECTLY to his shooting so long ago. For example, was the bullet unremoveable?

Enquiring minds would dearly love to know…

Newtie and the Beauty on August 9, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Surely Hinckley was found innocent of the attempted murder of all the shooting victims by reason of insanity. Wouldn’t trying him again be double jeopardy? Although it might be a thought since he is seeking more freedoms from his confines.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

reagan died of alzheimers, nothing to do with hinkley.
brady did die from complications of the wound.
however this is a ME ruling and term, has nothing to do with charges being filed.
if not shot he may have died from cancer years ago.
cannot prove he wouldn’t have.
I just don’t see prosecutor bringing this to trial unless they really like getting reamed. so in dc they may try to get around the first trial findings. 33+ years is just too long.
what if he lived to 90 and died in same manner?

dmacleo on August 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Mataconis is correct – although it is hard to be wrong in echoing Volokh. And as Bill Clinton used to say, “Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.”

Even without the insanity verdict in the original trial, Hinckley would have a good argument that Brady was within the normal range of life expectancy for men of his age group. Unless death could be specifically attributed to one of the direct consequences of the shooting, it would be hard to win the case.

It was probably a judgment call that the ME decided to throw the family one last bone.

~~

Brady did accomplish one great thing through his shooting, which makes up for his wife’s idiotic anti-gun posturing. He was the first to recover significantly from trauma to both hemispheres of the brain, and he continued to improve for many years. Previously, it had been held that if you didn’t recover a function within a year, you never would.

Adjoran on August 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM

This happens often with shooting victims, although this is probably the longest in terms of time frame that I’ve seen.

It’s also my understanding that Hinkley had been getting very liberal privileges at the hospital. If they don’t try him for Brady’s murder, I hope that they take these privileges away.

southsideironworks on August 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

In a trial that took place at the time, it was ruled that Hinkley did not attempt to murder James Brady. To come back now, 33 years later, and rule that somehow in spite of that, he actually did murder Mr. Brady would be a gross miscarriage of justice, even if the law technically permits it.

Do I think that the shooting resulted in health problems that contributed to Mr. Brady’s death? Probably. But do I think that allowing someone to be prosecuted for murder when the death is separated from the criminal act by 33 years would set a horrible precedent? Absolutely.

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Sounds a bit like the Reginald Denny trial defense-they can’t be convicted of attempted murder because they didn’t murder him.

Acquitted!

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 9, 2014 at 5:49 PM

I don’t believe that can be done.

formwiz on August 9, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Sounds a bit like the Reginald Denny trial defense-they can’t be convicted of attempted murder because they didn’t murder him.

Acquitted!

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 9, 2014 at 5:49 PM

How is that the same? The two examples are backward from one another.

In the case you mention, the very definition of attempted murder renders their argument absurd. Attempted murder means that the murder didn’t actually succeed — it was just attempted. The victim having not been murdered does not in any way diminish the attempted murder charge.

In the James Brady case, though, how could one manage to murder a man without ever having attempted to murder him? That would be quite a feat! If a person is acquitted of attempted murder, by extension they couldn’t possibly have committed an actual murder. Something like manslaughter, perhaps, but even that is stretching, IMHO.

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Shump on August 9, 2014 at 6:32 PM

I wrote “sounds a bit like”.

Guess my point is that you can nearly beat someone to death (of course, if the person didn’t actually die, then you can’t legally say that you tried to beat them to death, because there’s no way to say how close to death they actually were) or shoot someone in the head and they don’t die (well, if I shot someone in the head and they died instantly, or if they died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, or if they died in the hospital but what if they died the next day? I mean, after all, maybe Fate had predetermined that they were to die the next day anyway, regardless of whether or not I had shot that person in the head)..er, I forgot your question…was there a question there?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 9, 2014 at 6:41 PM

That’s almost as bad as that guy who thought HIV/AIDS carriers were getting it to commit suicide.

rogerb on August 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Officials said the ruling was made by the medical examiner in Northern Virginia, where Mr. Brady died Monday at 73. The medical examiner’s office would not comment on the cause and manner of Mr. Brady’s death.

“We did do an autopsy on Mr. Brady, and that autopsy is complete,” a spokeswoman said.

This is a POLITICAL-with-a-capital-L-for-Lieberal decision. Notice that the “medical examiner’s” office won’t back up its accusation of homicide with the release of any actual evidence.

Prediction – won’t use this to throw John Hinckley back into 24/7 lockup or even eliminate his unsupervised day trips out of the looney bin.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Revision/extension:

Prediction – the prosecutors won’t use this to throw John Hinckley back into 24/7 lockup or even eliminate his unsupervised day trips out of the looney bin.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Another fine example of liberals dancing on the coffins of the dead to further their agenda.

Ghouls.

CurtZHP on August 9, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Take your time, I have a 10 acre field of sundials warming up!

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Did you set up the field on Mercury, which has the solar system’s longest solar day at 176 Earth days?

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 7:01 PM

As background, please know that between my wife and myself, we had 8 years as death investigators for one of the top 10 systems in the nation. Between us, we investigated over 1600 deaths including 60+ homicides. So my comments are based on that experience.

We both have had our CHL for 6 years and believe that anyone that has not been disqualified by jury trial, or due to youth, should be allowed to carry whatever weapon (open or concealed) that they can afford. So don’t dismiss my comments based on thinking I’m for gun control. Being for gun control is an absolute deal breaker for my considering a politician.

That being said, we agree that it would be reasonable for the ME to make a determination of Homicide as the Manner of death. Homicide being defined as the deliberate action of a person to do harm, that resulted in a person’s death. This is not a criminal determination, but a medico-legal one.

Things for you to consider:

1. The M.E. is most likely a professional forensic pathologist who must maintain his credibility or his testimony in court would be worthless and so would his career. If he were to taint his determination with politics, all his past and future testimony would be attacked as influenced.

2. Since he’s not released the cause of death, and none of you attended the autopsy, you have no idea what he found that led to his determination.

3. In general practice, the M.E should use the concept of “But for”. Example… But for a damaged artery in the brain that ruptured, he would not have died at this time. But for being shot in the head, he would not have the damaged artery. But for the attempt on the life of President Reagan (a deliberate act), Mr. Brady wouldn’t have been shot. This deliberate act, no matter that Mr. Brady wasn’t the intended target, nor that it happened 33 years ago, is still considered a homicide… a medico-legal determination, not a criminal one.

Catseye on August 9, 2014 at 7:32 PM

That being said, we agree that it would be reasonable for the ME to make a determination of Homicide as the Manner of death. Homicide being defined as the deliberate action of a person to do harm, that resulted in a person’s death. This is not a criminal determination, but a medico-legal one.

Catseye on August 9, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Hinckley actions didn’t result in Brady’s death. Brady lived for 33 years.

sharrukin on August 9, 2014 at 7:44 PM

2. Since he’s not released the cause of death, and none of you attended the autopsy, you have no idea what he found that led to his determination.

Catseye on August 9, 2014 at 7:32 PM

.
Yeah, that’s the mystery, innit?

ExpressoBold on August 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Catseye on August 9, 2014 at 7:32 PM

It’s always the wife!

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Homicide at this late date seems a bit of a stretch as Brady was an unintentional target. I don’t think any honest prosecutor would touch this.

WestVirginiaRebel on August 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Isn’t it generally the case that any harm done (regardless of who does it) during the commission of a crime is considered to be the fault of the one who commits that initial crime?
You know, the “you can be charged with murder for the bystander that the police accidentally shot while aiming at you while you were shooting at them” thing?

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:23 PM

The big mystery is:

Why was he not charged with assassination when Reagan died?

Snowblind on August 10, 2014 at 12:49 AM

Flyovercountry on August 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Bingo.

The year-and-a-day rule is not just because of a lack of autopsies, though. Anything that a human can live past for 33 years isn’t the proximate cause of his death. It’s not just to claim that it is.

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Yes, felony murder. But, again, this death wasn’t during the commission of the crime, it was 33 years later. If he had died 3 days later, maybe. Or even a few months later. But 33 years is a long time to take to die.

GWB on August 10, 2014 at 6:57 AM

As far as I can tell from a cursory reading of what I could find, the ME’s office can rule it (Brady’s cause of death) how ever it wishes to. In this case they link, somehow, the death directly to injuries sustained by the gunshot wounds. Until the full report is released we just won’t know thier reasoning.
They charged Hinkley and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, effectively blocking him from recharging him for Mr Brady’s death under the double jeopardy rules. Politics be damned.
Rest in Peace Mr Brady, may your God comfort you and hold you in His arms.

ChicagoBlues on August 10, 2014 at 8:16 AM

How do we know his death wasn’t caused by medical malpractice from his emergency surgery 33 years ago?

Woody

woodcdi on August 10, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Just another example of the gun control lobby trying to make every death a gun related death.

brainpimp on August 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Total BS a complete stunt by the Brady Campaign.

roux on August 10, 2014 at 9:27 PM

FYI, there is an area of federal law (but not criminal law) that does attempt to limit the time period associated with a specific event occurrence and a subsequent declaration as to whether they died due to the event: NTSB and aircraft accidents.

Basically… if you die beyond 30 days after being in an aircraft accident, then that event isn’t the reason that you died.

Reference here.

E-R

electric-rascal on August 10, 2014 at 11:55 PM

One last ounce of gun control propaganda from the left. Not that Hinckley was a tea-partier, but, hey, they’ll take it.

Let’s have a ‘national conversation” ™ about the long-term effects of gun violence

virgo on August 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM