On March 7, the East Islip Mock Trial team won their case in the opening round of the New York Statewide High School Mock Trial Tournament, also known as the “Sweet Sixteen.” This is the 10th consecutive year the team has advanced to the playoffs, with their last regional championship coming in 2008.
East Islip represented the defense in an assault case, with West Babylon as the prosecution. The trial took place at the District Court in Central Islip, in front of District Judge Stephen L. Ukeiley. In “People of the State of New York v. P.J. Long,” the defendant was charged with assault in the second degree for allegedly hitting “Dana Mallone” with a tire iron outside of a hip-hop club called The Joint. East Islip's defense team successfully defended Long, who was found not guilty.
The students competing for East Islip were senior Andrew Loizides, juniors Alexa Dante, William Zach Purdy and Mustafa Kemal, sophomore Brooke Ryan and freshman Melissa Gallardo. Purdy made the opening statement for the defense and conducted a cross-examination of “Officer Callahan” and direct examination of “Max Miller” (portrayed by Kemal). Loizides handled the cross-examination of “Ryan Tecrest” and direct examination of “Sal Maurder” (portrayed by Ryan). Dante conducted the cross-examination of Mallone and the direct examination of the defendant (portrayed by Gallardo) as well as the summation for the defense.
The school’s Mock Trial director Patricia Lester said proudly, “East Islip is now one of the top eight teams in Suffolk County and will continue on to the next round of the playoffs.”
East Islip’s prosecution will compete on March 14 in the Suffolk quarterfinals against Northport High School's defense team.