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    The criminal trial process has many components. In this assignment, you explore real-life examples of the criminal trial process in two different types of trials.Search the Internet for trials using parameters such as but not limited to “watch criminal trials online,” or visit the Wild About Trial website.Compare two trials. If possible, compare a murder trial with one involving another major felony. Include the parties represented in each trial (i.e., plaintiff and defendant).

    Write 350- to 700-word comparison in which you:
    Summarize what each trial was about.

    Identify the type of court the trials were held in (refer to Ch. 1 for types of courts in the United States).

    Describe as many of the steps of each trial as you can (refer to Ch. 13 for the steps/process).

    Explain the similarities and differences between the two trials you selected.

    Identify as many of the actors of each trial as you can who played a role in the steps of the trial process. What were their roles?



Subject Law and governance Pages 6 Style APA


Comparing the Trials of Saldivar and Demen

Criminal trials usually involve a number of systematic steps before any conviction can be reached. In the US, the criminal justice system provides for the trial of suspects within the established court system. This paper makes a comparison of two criminal cases involving Yolanda Saldivar who was convicted of first degree murder of Selena in Texas, 1995 and Lev Asman Demen who was in for felony fraud in Utah in 2019.

Summary of the Trials

The trial of Yolanda Saldivar was criminal homicide trial in Houston of Yolanda Saldivar who was charged in the shooting death of a singer, Selena, at a motel in Corpus Christi, Texas in March 31, 1995 (Welborn, n.d.). The defendant was deemed by the prosecution to have been wholly responsible for the death of the singer after which she held police at bay in a negotiation for close to ten hours in her car. The trial was dubbed the State of Texas v. Yolanda Salvidar.

The trial of Lev Asman Demen in January 2020 in the state of Utah involved felony fraud charges against a California businessman by the State of Utah. He was charged with helping two business executives in a fraud scheme that led to a loss of over $500 by the government (Wild About Trial, March 2020). 10 counts were preferred against him, ranging from money laundering to mail fraud.

Types of Courts for the Trials

Yolanda Saldivar was tried in the District Court in Houston, specifically the US 228th District Court. This was after the trial was moved from Yolanda’s hometown for fear that her stature and influence could sway the jury to rule in her favour (Welborn, n.d.). Asman Demen was also tried in the District Court of Utah.

Steps of the Trial

For Yolanda, the trial began by the choice of a jury. This was after the trial had been moved to Houston from Yolanda’s hometown where the murder occurred. The selected jury was sworn-in on October 9. Next were the opening statements from the attorneys of both the prosecution and defence teams on October 2. The witness testimony and cross-examination followed, with the prosecution presenting 33 witnesses along with 122 exhibits. The defense called on five witnesses. The closing argument was the next stage, where the prosecution argued that having realized that there was a deteriorating relationship between her and the slain singer, Yolanda made a premeditated plan of killing her. The defence used Yolanda’s remorse in the aftermath of the shooting and the perceived coerced confession to close her not guilty arguments (Welborn, n.d). In the final step of jury deliberations and announcement of verdict, the jury found Yolanda guilty of first degree murder. She was sentenced to life without parole.

Dermen’s trial also began by jury selection and swearing in of the jury. The opening arguments were done on January 29, 2020 during which the extent of the criminal enterprise was outlined by the prosecution. The defence also made their arguments and intention of having a not guilty verdict. Following this were the witness testimonies and cross-examination. The prosecution relied on the two principal witnesses who testified against Dermen and with whom they committed the crimes (Wild About Trial, March 2020). In the closing arguments stage, the prosecution made a case for the unbridled greed of Dermen and how this led him to mastermind the largest fraud in Utah history. The defence used a technicality of having the jurors kept in close proximity at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic to persuade the judge to order for a mistrial. At the announcement of verdict stage, the jury found Dermen guilty on all 10 counts (Wild About Trial, March 2020).

Similarities and Differences

The similarities between the two cases are that in both, a decision was reached at after a jury’s deliberations. In both trials, the defendants were found guilty on the grounds for which they were charged. In both cases too, there were issues surrounding the selection and functioning of the jury. The trials were also both done in District courts.

The differences are in the manner and length of trial. For Yolanda, the sentence came much quicker. The jury only had to deliberate for two hours before they returned with a guilty verdict. Dermen’s trial lasted seven weeks. Due to the nature of the crimes, Yolanda’s punishment was also harsher and longer.

Actors in both Trials

There were many actors in Yolanda’s trial. There was the State of Texas led by the prosecution attorneys. The defendant, Yolanda, also had a team of defence attorneys. Among the prosecution’s key witness role players were the Hotel desk clerk, Day’s Inn Housekeeper, the police who negotiated with her and other hotel employees (Welborn, n.d). The defence team role had witnesses too including three hotel employees, Yolanda’s seventh-grade teacher and policeman who took Yolanda’s confession. There was also the judge and a crowd of fans for the slain musician who gathered outside the courthouse (Welborn, n.d).

In Dermen’s trial, Dermen was the defendant in a case brought against him by the State of Utah. Polygamist Jacob Kingston who had been lied to by Dermen that their shady activities of fraud would be protected from prosecution took a plea deal and testified against Dermen (Wild About Trial, March 2020). John Huber, the US Attorney for the District of Utah, led the prosecution. The defense Attorney, Mark Geragos represented Dermen.

The trial of these two cases illustrates the extent of the United States’ criminal justice system offered within the court system. The jury selection and functioning is also illustrated, together with how both the defense and prosecution had their time to make arguments in the pursuit of justice.for generalizing the study’s findings.  


 Welborn, B.J. (n.d.). Yolanda Saldivar Trial: 1995. Adapted from https://law.jrank.org/pages/3690/Yolanda-Saldivar-Trial-1995-Trial-Focuses-on-Shooting-Aftermath.html

Wild About Trial. (March 2020). Businessman found Guilty in fraud scheme with polygamists. Adapted from https://wildabouttrial.com/news/criminal-justice-news/businessman-found-guilty-in-fraud-scheme-with-polygamists/




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