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Trial Essay Commonwealth V. Michael D. Lowery

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Trial Essay

The case that I chose to attend in order to complete my trial essay was Commonwealth v. Michael D. Lowery. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the jury selection for this trial and had to leave right before the beginning of the closing arguments. That being said, I was able to witness, for the first time, a good portion of what a jury trial looks like in real life. The parts of the trial that I did have the opportunity to attend were the opening statements, Commonwealth’s case, and the Defense’s case.

To view this trial, I attended the Lebanon County Courthouse on April 23rd, 2019. When I entered into the Courthouse, I was immediately asked to empty my pockets and place my items into a basket so that they could be approved. I was not allowed to have my phone or any pieces of technology. Once I had been cleared, I made my way to the third floor where the courtrooms were located. After taking a glance at the tack board, which had information on which trials were being held in each of the courtrooms, I found that the trial that I planned to attend was being held in courtroom number two. At that point, I had about thirty minutes to wait before the trial began. While I looked around, I was able to spot the District Attorney speaking with a police officer in preparation for the case. I also saw a county sheriff getting some coffee before he entered the court room. At about 8:30 AM, I entered the courtroom and sat down in my seat. The trial officially began.

A man called out and requested all to stand as the jury made their entrance. I counted fourteen jurors, although I had previously been under the impression that there are twelve members on a jury. After the jurors took their place, the judge was called into the room. The judge’s name was Judge Kline. Next, the jurors remained standing as they took an oath which required them to give a true verdict according to the evidence presented. Once that was done, everyone in the room was seated and the district attorney was given an opportunity to present an opening statement. The district attorney in this trial was a woman, who was named Ryland Tanner. Attorney Tanner greeted the jury and then proceeded to describe to them some of the details of the case that they would be hearing today. To complete her opening statements, she informed them that by the end of the trial she would request that they find Michael Lowery to be guilty. After the opening statements of the Commonwealth, came the opening statements for the defense. Unfortunately, I missed the name of the Defense attorney. He stood and addressed the jury. One of his strongest points during his opening statements was that it is the personal right of the defense to not be required to prove innocence. He requested that the jury keep an open mind and only decide to consider Michael Lowery guilty, if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The close of the defendant attorney’s opening statement was the segue into the next steps of the case.

For the first time thus far in the trial, the victim entered the court room. She took her spot and took an oath of truth. At that point, it was the commonwealth’s turn to speak. Attorney Tanner stood up and addressed the victim. She was requested to state her name as well as some other personal information about herself. The victim introduced herself as Sheila Tolentino. She described herself as a mother of five children and a resident of the Schuylkill Valley area. Tolentino also explained that she had previously been a resident of Lebanon City. On March 2nd of 2018, when the crime had taken place, she was living in Lebanon with two children in her household. The district attorney continued asking questions such as the details of her and Michael Lowery’s relationship, the layout of her house at the time of the crime, what events lead up to the altercation between her and the defendant on March 2nd, and finally what happened during their altercation. Tolentino went on to answer those questions, explaining that she and Michael were in a relationship and that they had a dispute regarding money during the morning of March 2nd, 2018. Tolentino claimed that Lowery had requested $20 from her for gas but he used it to buy alcohol. She also claimed that after bickering all morning about it, they finally broke out into a fight. Her story says that she tried to enter the room Michael was in, and when she did, he pulled a knife on her and threatened to hurt her and her children. In conclusion, she claimed that he shoved her to the ground and then she fled the room and called the police. After all of that the district attorney requested the victim to confirm that she had been found guilty two times for retail theft, as well as giving false information to a police officer. Tolentino confirmed that to be true and then Attorney Tanner stated that she was

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