BUFFALO, NY – It was a weekend of litigation, passion, and best of all, victory for Suffolk University’s Mock Trial Team as they travelled this weekend to the University of Buffalo for an invitational competition.Suffolk’s Mock Trial Team A competed against 11 teams from across the country, including University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, and University of Connecticut, and emerged victorious, winning first place and taking home numerous awards.
The winning team consisted of Captain KyQuan Phong, Captain Alaina Spaziani, and members James Duffy, Kyle Brach, Katia DeStefano and Alexander Rittershaus.
The invitation took place Nov. 1 and 2 at the University of Buffalo. Two trials were conducted each day, lasting two to three hours each, and culminated with a closing awards ceremony.
This year’s case, written by the American Mock Trial Association, was a civil case dealing with libel defamation. A gubernatorial candidate, Drew Walton, is suing Blitz News Network for defamation after one of their reporters implicated the candidate as a murder suspect on a live news broadcast. Each team represented both the plaintiff and the defense twice. Each team consisted of three lawyers and three witnesses.
Alaina Spaziani, a sophomore and secretary of the team, won First Place Witness for her portrayal of Drew Walton, the plaintiff. She won the award with 19 points, a score which was tabulated from her top two scores out of eight judges. Alexander Rittershaus, a freshman government major, won First Place Lawyer as an attorney for the plaintiff. He won with 20 points, a score tabulated in the same manor.
“This victory is a great milestone for our team,” said KyQuan Phong, second year president of the team, “Starting the year with a bang like this encourages us all to maintain momentum through future invitationals, regionals, and hopefully, nationals. We’re overjoyed!”
In the past, the Mock Trial Team has competed at invitationals in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and has competed at the AMTA Regionals, but this is the first win for the team. This year, the team will continue competing, travelling to Cornell University for an invitational, competing at regionals, and then hopefully, the national competition in St. Paul, Minn.
“The team performed at a much higher standard than was expected of us. Our victory was due to hard work, determination, and a tight-knit team,” said first-year member Kyle Brach.
The team practices two times a week, on Tuesday and Sunday evenings in the John Adams Courthouse and the Suffolk Law School’s Moot Courtrooms. They are critiqued by fellow members, adviser Allan Tao, and attorney coach Michael Lennon.
“It was nice knowing that all the hard work we put in paid off in the long run,” said Jim Duffy, a freshman and first-year member.
Suffolk University’s Mock Trial Team B also competed at the Buffalo Invitational. The B Team consisted of Captain Allison Poyser, Captain Noel Smith, Patrick Pilette, Samantha Gray, Louis Rocca, Danica Buybell, and Beckee Birger.