Criminal justice entails all the efforts that are geared towards mitigating crimes and criminal activities


Criminal justice entails all the efforts that are geared towards mitigating crimes and criminal activities. To curb the increasing trends of crime, the government and other related institutions embarks on a series of provisions and policies. Mitigation of crime may entail the provisions of relevant penalties to the guilty people in the courts or facilitating the change of behaviour through rehabilitation practices. The reasons for mitigation are geared towards behavioral change by both the victim and any other person who may be inclined towards crime and criminal activities. People engage in criminal activities due to several distinctive reasons. Both the psychological and behavioural reasons tend to push people to engage in crime. Therefore, there exist various mechanisms of defence in the courts. Various trial strategies are adopted by the victims and their lawyers with the aims of reducing the penalty or freeing the convict as innocent. Over the years, different approaches have been adopted by criminals in their pursuit of justice. The most common approach is the use of insanity and other behavioural problems as a defence in an effort to escape punishment for their crimes. The case of Mark David Chapman depicts the use of unique approaches to influence the court decision. In the case, it was claimed that Mark David was psychotic, and hence he murdered John Lennon.

The essay will examine the reasons as to why Mark David murdered Lennon and also evaluate the various proceedings of this case. Additionally, the paper will examine the crime that was committed by Mark David. The paper will further explore the trial strategy that was adopted by the defence lawyer in attempts to render him innocent. Further on, the paper will evaluate the outcomes of the case.

Mark David Chapman’s Case (Plan and Crime Committed)

Mark David Chapman was convicted of the second-degree murder of John Lennon. The incident took place at the outside of Dakota apartment in New York. The convict is said to have shot John Lennon four times from the back, and he later continued to read a novel on the scene. The convict was arrested, and he would always claim that the novel by Salinger was his statement. The convict was engaged in the heinous act because the victim (John Lennon) claimed that the Beatles were more superior than Jesus Christ. The victim is said to have made the remarks in South Africa. The convict had experienced a series of mental and psychological upsets that even forced him to attempt murder. Additionally, the convict had undergone through a series of relationship break-ups with his wife and workmates too. The claim by the convict that the novel was his statement depicts the extent to which he was psychologically disturbed. Additionally, the victim had attempted to kill himself using the carbon monoxide gas from his car exhaust though he did not die. From a born-again person, Chapman experienced numerous setbacks in his career as well as social life. His career was ruined by constant fires and shifts in jobs, and his social life was characterized by the numerous break-ups that he encountered with his fiancées. As time went by, suicidal thoughts became rampant to Chapman where he felt and claimed to a failure.

It is alleged that Chapman started planning how to kill Lennon for about three months before he committed the act. The influence of his prayer group further added to his urge to kill Lennon. The members of his prayer group would joke about the death of Lennon, who had earlier made the provocative claim. Chapman’s strategy to execute the murder was further influenced by his various readings from the novel and his urge to practice some teachings in the movies. For instance, Anthony Fawcett’s ‘John Lennon: One Day at a Time’ and the movie ‘Ordinary People’ played a significant role in influencing Chapman to commit the murder crime. The fact that Lennon taught people not to be always inclined on material possessions while he owned yachts and other valuables made Chapman bitter with him. Further on, Chapman claimed that Lennon was blasphemous in his speech and that whenever he listened to his music he became angry. Although the murder list was long enough, Lennon became the easiest to reach for. Before executing his plan, he disclosed it to his wife who did not report to the police or else seek some psychological assistance.

The Trial Strategy

The Chapman’s case was characterised by various judicial processes and undertakings. Chapman was convicted for a second-degree murder of Lennon. Chapman claimed that he used the sharp pointed bullets so that he could make sure that Lennon was dead. The notable legal undertakings included the incorporation of mental assessment tests, the plea and finally the sentencing process. There was the incorporation of various psychologists and psychiatrists from the court, prosecution and the defence. All the three groups wanted to find out whether the convict was malingering. Rigorous clinical interviews were also carried out to evaluate the mental state of the convict. Court experts associated the act with psychosis and that the convict could continue with the trial. The first defence lawyer for the convict declined due to the fear that Lennon’s fans would attack him. Later in 1981, Chapman was represented by Jonathan Marks, who presented the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The plea was meant to indicate that Chapman was legally insane when he executed the murder of John Lennon. The plea further seeks reduce the punishment to be administered to the convict with the claim that he was insane at the moment he engaged in the crime. The approach by Jonathan Marks did not last for long since the convict wanted him to withdraw the clause of insanity. Despite serious objection from Jonathan, the convict claimed to be guilty, and the then judge was in support of his decision. Judge Edwards claimed that the convict used his free will and that he was guilty.

The Outcome of the case

The sentencing of the case took place later in 1981. Various medical and legal claims were put across in attempts to reduce the impending punishment. Several probable reasons as to why the convict was engaged in the act were also explored. Some of the attorneys claimed that Chapman had committed the act in search for fame. The overall judgment was made, and the convict was imprisoned for twenty years rather than the normal 25 years due to his ability to plead guilty to the charge. The adoption of the various parole applications and campaigns has been on the rise though the authorities have failed to grant it due to security reasons. Other outcomes of his imprisonment include his appearance in numerous television interviews and the publications of various conspiracy theorems.


The individual’s capacity and ability to engage in criminal activities is based on his prevailing psychological condition and his behavioural endeavours. The rise in criminal activities as led to a subsequent rise in creativity and uprightness as far as handling of criminal cases and the pursuit of justice is concerned. Legal officers and other judicial specialists have been on the verge of facilitating the administration of criminal justice hence the development of new legal ideas. Chapman was involved in the murder of Lennon because the latter had claimed that Beatles had higher popularity than Jesus. Novels and films had profound effects on the psychological conditions of the convict thereby facilitating his engagement in the unlawful practices. Numerous break-ups between the convict and his close associates depicts his deteriorated psychological status. The plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was put across by the convict’s defence team in order to reduce his punishment. The plea was later overturned by the confession of the convict to be guilty. This was later followed by an imprisonment for 20 years and some psychiatrist attention while in jail.