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The Matrix defense is the term applied to several legal cases of a defense based on the movie The Matrix where reality is actually a computer generation, and that the real world is quite different from what reality is perceived to be.

In using this defense, the defendant claims that he or she committed a crime because they believed they were in the Matrix, and not in the real world. This is a version of the insanity defense and considered a descendant of the Taxi Driver defense of John Hinckley, one of the first defenses based on blurring reality with the movies.

Regardless of whether the defendant actually believes that he or she was actually living inside the Matrix, this defense has been used successfully to acquit. Tonda Lynn Ansley of Hamilton, Ohio, was found not guilty by reason of insanity using this defense after shooting her landlady in the head in July 2002. Vadim Mieseges of San Francisco was also acquitted after chopping up his landlady. Joshua Cooke attempted this defense in 2003 in his trial for the murder of his parents.

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