Insanity: Myth or Fact?
- Clever and wealthy defendants routinely fake insanity in order to get
out of trouble
- It is unlikely that many criminal defendants attempt to "fake"
insanity because it is very risky for any criminal defendant; all
chances to plea bargain and contest material facts of the case are lost
- By using the insanity defense, the patently guilty are quickly released
back into society to kill again; this is a problem that occurs almost all
of the time
- The average American believes that 37 % of felony defendants raised
a defense of insanity, and 16 % succeeded
- In a 1979 study, less than 1/2 of 1 % of felony defendants pled insanity;
and only 1 in 21,012 studied were successful
- In 1978, 1,625 defendants found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity were
committed to mental hospitals; this is a small percentage compared to the
> 1 million violent crimes that occurred in the United States.
- According to 1998 opinion polls, 90 % of Americans believe the insanity
defense is overused and a ticket to freedom for murderers.
- An eight state study funded by the National Institute of Health found
1/2 of those pleading insanity were charged with nonviolent crimes such
as property damage and minor felonies
- less than 15 % were charged with murder
- 25 % of Missouri insanity verdicts involved crimes such as auto theft,
bad checks, and in one instance, the theft of a pen
- Killers deemed "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity" ultimately
are turned loose to pose a threat to society at large
- Persons successfully pleading insanity spend more time in a mental
hospital than they would if found guilty and sentenced to jail
- The typical defendant using insanity is a cold-blooded murderer who
kills numerous individuals knowing that he can later plead insanity to
- The typical "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity" defendant
is: (1) an abused wife driven to kill by years of physical abuse; or (2)
a depressed individual who kills persons close to him (parents, child,