Quinnipiac University Law

Quinnipiac Law Mock Trial Society

The Quinnipiac Mock Trial Society aims to cultivate ethical and intellectual trial advocates whose excellence in courtroom presence and ability will be recognized on both regional and national levels. Through rigorous preparation for student trial advocacy competitions, the society's members gain a unique, invaluable courtroom education that will serve as a foundation for a successful legal career.

Training Advocates in Trial Excellence

A Quinnipiac Law student participates in a mock trial in the North Haven Campus Ceremonial Courtroom.

About the Mock Trial Society

Quinnipiac Law’s Mock Trial program provides benefits that simulate real-world legal experiences, making them invaluable for future litigators. Students apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to practical scenarios, and hone their oral advocacy, critical thinking and case analysis skills.

The Quinnipiac University School of Law Mock Trial Team has been recognized as a national-level team. The team has 40 members and competes in roughly nine competitions a year, competing in competitions such as the Tournament of Champions and TYLA Nationals. Students advocate on both sides of civil and criminal cases.

By participating in the Mock Trial Society, members gain a comprehensive understanding of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure. The society ensures that its members are properly trained in all areas of trial advocacy and courtroom etiquette by keeping all members apprised of traditional and modern trial techniques.

Members are selected as second, third and fourth-year law students through an intramural competition held during the fall semester. Intramural competitors prepare a full trial, which includes an opening statement, two direct examinations, two cross-examinations and a closing argument. The case is then presented before experienced trial attorneys who practice in the area. Students who receive the highest scores, and are willing to commit the necessary time, energy and dedication to become a member of the Society, are invited to join as candidates.

Students who are selected for the team are given the opportunity to represent Quinnipiac University School of Law in regional and national mock trial competitions and vest their membership in the society. In the recent past, Mock Trial Society members were Regional Champions in the annual ABA Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition, the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition and the ABA Labor & Employment Law Trial Advocacy Competition. They also took second place nationally in the ABA Labor & Employment Trial Advocacy Competition.

2023 Quinnipiac University Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition

Four advocates represent each school advocating on behalf of the defense and the prosecution. Students delivered an opening statement, a direct examination of a witness, a cross-examination and a closing argument.

Additionally, each year Quinnipiac Law researches an issue that students get to advocate for or against in a Motion to Suppress.

State of Quinnipiac v. Blake Reynolds

A cold-case finally solved, or a closed-case wrongly reopened? The answer will be revealed after the trial of State v. Blake Reynolds, the South Haven Mayor.

In the evening of August 17, 2010, firefighters were called to the home of 74-year-old Joan Curello-Davis. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire before the home was consumed by flames. But when firefighters went to clear the upstairs of the home, they discovered the deceased body of Curello-Davis, and it was clearly not from a fire. The master bedroom was a bloody scene. 74-year-old Curello-Davis was laying in her bed, a victim of blunt force trauma and multiple stab wounds. The South Haven Police Department, led by Detective Jesse Lee, was called to the scene to investigate. The killing was initially perplexing: who could have possibly had the motive to kill so savagely an elderly woman in a quiet, and usually safe, part of South Haven?

Competing Schools

Baylor University, Campbell University, Catholic University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Hofstra University, Loyola Chicago, Mercer University, Quinnipiac University, Saint John’s University, South Carolina University, Suffolk University and Syracuse University

Charges to the defendant

Count 1

The defendant is charged in Count 1 with Murder. The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: a person is guilty of murder when, with intent to cause the death of another person, (he/she) causes the death of such person or of a third person.

Legal Standards & Controlling Law

Controlling Law: The Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure will be applied during this trial.

Substantive Law: The Defendant is charged with one count of Murder. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant intended to cause the death of another person, and 2) in accordance with that intent, the defendant caused the death of Joan Curello-Davis.


The prosecution will call two witnesses, Detective Sam Carrington and Bobbi Avamore. The Defense must call two witnesses but has a choice between three potential witnesses as to who will testify, Blake Reynolds, Detective Jesse Lee and Taylor McMahon.

In the final round, the prosecution team won, convicting the defendant.


About the case development:

This case is based on the great aunt of Mia Bonadies, JD ’24, Joan Currello-Davis, who was murdered in her New Jersey home in 2010. With no leads, the case was never solved and eventually went cold. Joan was very involved with town politics and attended every town council meeting. She often was trying to uncover the corruptness in her town.  At her services, someone at the wake told an uncle of Bonadies that Joan had “hit a beehive” with what she was doing.

For this fact pattern, Bonadies wanted to charge someone for her aunt’s murder and get the justice that Joan deserved. She spend the summer writing the criminal pattern for the 2023 competition. The State of Quinnipiac charged the Mayor of South Haven, Blake Reynolds, for the murder of Joan.

Read more about how this case was developed

To further discuss the case development, please email Mia Bonadies.

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