Court of Appeals to convene at William Woods University
|3/27/2012||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District will convene court at William Woods University Wednesday, April 4, Chief Judge Lisa White Hardwick announced today.
A three-judge panel consisting of Karen King Mitchell, Mark Pfeiffer and Gary Witt will hear oral arguments in five cases beginning at 1 p.m., in the Model Courtroom on the lower level of the Burton Business Building.
"We are always thrilled to have the Western District Court of Appeals on campus," Cynthia H. Kramer, JD, LLM, WWU professor of legal studies, said. "It is an incredible opportunity for all of our students, and especially the prelaw and legal studies majors, to observe legal advocacy as demonstrated through oral arguments."
She added, "The Western District appellate justices are very approachable, and they actually come down from the bench during breaks and at the conclusion of the docket to speak with our students, as well as participate in an informal lunch with our Phi Alpha Delta prelaw members."
Hardwick explained that the cases are appeals from previously held trials in area circuit courts. The judges will hear attorneys argue whether the trials had errors, which should cause them to be retried, or the trial court's judgment reversed. The judges will read written arguments before the court session and may interrupt the attorneys' arguments with questions.
The three judges will recess sometime in between arguments to step down and discuss the court system and generally explain proceedings, Hardwick said.
This will be the court's 20th visit to the William Woods campus. The court convenes regularly in Kansas City. Its jurisdiction is appeals from trial courts in 45 counties, which include all of northwest Missouri and most of central Missouri.
Mitchell will preside over the proceedings in Fulton. She was appointed to the Western District in 2009. Immediately prior to her appointment, she was the director of revenue for the state of Missouri. Previously, she spent more than 20 years in the Office of Attorney General. She resides in Columbia.
Pfeiffer was also appointed to the Western District in 2009. Before his appointment, he practiced law in Springfield and later, Columbia. Like Mitchell, he resides in Columbia.
Witt is the newest member of the Western District, having been appointed in February 2010. Before his appointment, he practiced law in Platte City, served in the Missouri House of Representatives and was an associate circuit judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
During the past 20 years, the court has held sessions in Chillicothe, Clinton, Columbia, Fulton, Gallatin, Huntsville, Independence, Jefferson City, Keytesville, Kirksville, Lexington, Liberty, Linneus, Macon, Marshall, Maryville, Milan, Nevada, Platte City, Richmond, St. Joseph, Savannah, Trenton, Tuscumbia and Warrensburg.
"It is important for the court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City," Mitchell said. "This gives individuals an opportunity to observe a part of the judicial system they normally do not see. We hope those attending will gain a better understanding of the court's function.