Judicial News

Published: 1982
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Automaker John Delorean and his wife model Christine Ferrare in their Jaguar car as they leave terminal Island Federal Prison here on October 29, 1982 in Los Angeles. Delorean was released on $10 million bail after spending 11 days in jail on charges he financed a $24 million cocaine deal. (UPI Photo/Glenn Wagnner/Files)

Patrice Secora: US senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey, on February 16th was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $50,000 on charges of bribery and conspiracy in connection of the Abscam investigation. Less than one month later Williams resigned from the senate to forestall expulsion. On June 21st a Washington Jury found John Hinckley junior, the man accused of trying to assassinate President Reagan in March of 1981, innocent by reason of insanity. After four days of deliberations, the Jury said the prosecution had not proven that Hinckley was sane when he shot President Reagan and three others outside a Washington Hotel. Jury Foreman Lawrence Coffey said Hinckley's writings to actress Jodie Foster were a big factor in that final decision.

Patrice Secora: Two female jurors later said they thought Hinckley was sane at the time of the shooting, but they were pressured to go along with the other panel members, who said he was insane. Hinckley was sent to a Washington mental hospital. In Atlanta, Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two young black men and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. That trial stemmed from the murders of 28 people, mostly young black men in the Atlanta area over a two-year period. Another court case that grabbed the headlines involved auto tycoon, John DeLorean, a former Vice President for General Motors, accused of being involved in $24 million drug deal in an effort to save his financially ailing sports car firm in Northern Ireland. There were several governmental changes in 1982. Helmut Kohl taking over as Chancellor in West Germany, replacing Helmut Schmidt. Miguel de la Madrid, elected President in Mexico to succeed Jose Lopez Portillo. On October, 12th Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki announced his resignation and was succeeded by conservative Yasuhiro Nakasone.