The Huntington mock trial team at this week's trial.
The Huntington mock trial team at this week's trial.

Huntington Legal Wizards Advance to Suffolk Final Four

March 17, 2023

Huntington High School’s legal wizards are headed to the Suffolk mock trial tournament Final Four after edging John H. Glenn in an Elite Eight round contest.

Walking into Suffolk County District Court on Wednesday afternoon after seeing the playing field cut in half from the Sweet 16 to the Elite 8, the Blue Devils had a swagger to the step as the highest remaining seed still in the tournament.

Huntington faced No. 7 John H. Glenn, which boasted many talented team members. The Blue Devils took the side of plaintiff for the first time in over a month, but no one missed a beat after a week of preparation that included practice during a small snow storm and even a team scrimmage by cell phone “candlelight” during a power outage.

“Sophomore Will Fallon lead off for our witness team and his elite goalkeeping skills for our varsity lacrosse team translated seamlessly to the witness box as he was able to defend against all attempts to discredit his character while staying calm under pressure during an intense cross examination,” said Bryan Outsen, who along with fellow business teacher Suzi Biagi is the team’s faculty advisor. Attorney Xavier Palacios, a Huntington High School alum, serves as the Blue Devils’ legal advisor and takes the lead in preparing the team for competition.

Sophomore Lindsay Depeine started for the second week in a row, this time on the opposite side of the case and adjusted well to a completely different role, tallying a near perfect score on direct and cross examination.

Junior Hillel Linker took the stage as an expert witness and he was able to accurately stand by his recreation of the plaintiff’s accident while winning the courtroom over with kindness to solidify blame being placed on the defense rather than on Huntington’s side.

“The goal of our attorney team for this week was ‘adaptation’ after our narrow victory last week and all three women rose to the occasion,” Mr. Outsen said. “The opening statement by sophomore Nina Fascilla not only painted a vivid picture of what was to come for both our judge and the audience, but her dominant presence over the courtroom, confident tone and controlled, yet aggressive pacing set the tone for the rest of the day.”

Talented sophomore Isabella Careccia-Johnson adapted a new approach to the Blue Devils’ direct examination of her witness in flawless fashion and the new strategy paid dividends at it limited almost John H. Glenn’s entire cross examination.

“Finally, as usual. our center chair attorney [senior] Angie Hernandez-Ramos shined bright like the star she is, delivering yet another superb closing statement that recapped key testimony and reinforced the plaintiff side, meeting our burden of proof in the case,” Mr. Outsen said.

The two teams waited on the edge of their seats as Judge Maureen Liccione, who sits on the New York State Court of Claims and is an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, calculated the final scores in the courtroom battle. When the judge announced that Huntington had won by a single point, the Blue Devils were elated.

Huntington will square off against No. 14 Kings Park in the county semifinals next week.