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Latest Crime Statistics Released

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The reason I believe that many people are under the impression that defendants constantly and successfully utilize the insanity defense is in fact due to the media. There are an “estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation.” (FBI, 2016) Even after taking all those cases into account, few of them would result in the defendant even attempting the insanity defense let alone successfully. It is said that, “only one-fourth of one percent of those tried in criminal cases successfully plead insane.” (Vatz, 2010) The media could write about any number of these crimes but they focus on, of course, the most serious and especially the ones that use the insanity defense. A lot of TV shows or movies depicting court room proceedings seem to fall into this as well. People see so much of the insanity defense in the news or depicted on these shows that they start to believe that it is all around them. This has gotten to the point that many people believe it is a bigger issue than what it actually is. For example, Jeffrey Dahmer is an infamous individual that few have not heard of. Many people saw him as mentally unstable and after he tried to use the insanity defenses and failed, wondered if he didn’t qualify then who would. Very few individuals have used the defense and been successful. Of course, the media does not take that into consideration. They are a business first and foremost and their ultimate goal is to sell the information for the greatest reward.


FBI. (2016, September 26). Latest Crime Statistics Released. Retrieved from News:

Vatz, R. E. (2010, March). Excelsior College Library. Retrieved from Doing Away with the "Only One-Fourth of One Percent" Solution:



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