, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 7, 2013

A taste of justice

Triton Middle School students hold mock trial


The mock trial began when Alexa Reilly’s father, Newbury police Chief Michael Reilly, led her into the courtroom wearing a pair of her father’s handcuffs. Court officers then announced Doyle’s arrival and asked everyone to stand. Afterward, court officers swore in all witnesses, all according to rules and procedures conducted each day for real inside the courthouse.

After the roughly 50-minute trial, the jury came back to the courtroom and announced to the judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision: a hung jury. Doyle declared a mistrial and then asked the prosecution if they wanted to pursue a second trial. The prosecution quickly and loudly declined, drawing a large laugh from the crowd of parents, educators and the curious filling Courtroom 3.

During a reception held afterward outside the courtroom, jury foreman Paul Lees said nine jurors voted for conviction while three others weren’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Smith’s guilt.

Triton Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Brian Forget, who also served on the jury, praised the hard work of his students, calling it a great learning experience.

“I think it was fabulous,” Forget said.

Indingaro said being one of the last to stand up and go before the judge and jury was nerve-wracking.

“But once I started reading my part, I was fine,” Indingaro said.

Before the jury returned to announce their verdict, Doyle addressed the courtroom and said that no matter what the jury decided, Suzie Smith’s actions were not wise. He also stressed that the Essex County District Attorney’s Office was cracking down on social hosting and holding parents and others accountable.

“Suzie Smith did not exercise good judgment. Alcohol is always going to find itself in the wrong hands. The bottom line is this: just don’t do it,” Doyle said.

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