The Huntington High School mock trial team will begin defense of its county championship after advancing to the Suffolk Sweet 16 round this week at the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip.
The Blue Devils will face Northport for the second consecutive week. Huntington topped the previously undefeated Tigers in their home courtroom to improve to 3-1 this winter.
In the final regular reason courtroom battle, Huntington represented petitioner Harley Davidson in his Article 78 application for successive rights to his great aunt’s rent controlled apartment against Gotham City.
Huntington’s Ethan McGuinness brilliantly portrayed the role of Harley Davidson as the starving artist struggling to find his way in life who reconnected with his 95 year old great aunt where they developed a deep bond in her final years.
Isabella Floro confidently withstood an intense cross-examination as Harley’s fiancé as she provided testimonial proof that Harley resided with his great aunt despite their engagement.
Christopher Maichin provided comic relief as he portrayed Harley’s 81 year old busybody neighbor. Mr. Maichin hilariously played the role by mimicking an elderly gentleman's voice and phrases and had the audience smiling throughout his presentation.
Blue Devil attorneys Lia Shechter, Riley Tucker and John Panos all delivered stellar performances. Ms. Shechter commenced the proceedings with a flawless, five-minute opening statement delivered without any notes that gave our entire team the confidence that we needed to deliver an outstanding performance throughout the trial.
During Mr. Tucker’s direct and cross-examinations, he successfully rebutted numerous objections and adjusted his questioning with seamless poise as though he were a seasoned trial attorney.
Mr. Panos sealed the victory with a passionate and highly engaging closing argument that demonstrated that he is a powerful advocate and arguably one of the top mock trial attorneys in New York State.
The Blue Devils are led by volunteer legal advisors Xavier Palacios and John LoTurco, who have spent countless hours working with this year’s team. New to this year’s legal staff is Joseph Bavaro, who is also volunteering to sharpen the courtroom skills of the Huntington teenagers. Huntington High School teachers Sarah Buchalter and Suzette Biagi are the team’s faculty advisors.
In this week’s rematch against Northport, Huntington will flip-flop roles with the Tigers as the Blue Devils will be representing respondent Gotham City, Huntington will be led by attorneys Lena Annunziata, Erin Ye and Joseph Mead. The team’s witnesses will be the freshman trio of Emily Geller, Tallulah Pitti and Jillian LoTurco.
The Elite Eight round will also be held at the Cohalan Court Complex with the Suffolk Final Four and county championship match both set for the Alphonse D’Amato US District Courthouse in Central Islip.
Huntington defeated perennial power Ward Melville to capture last year’s Suffolk title.