The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District will convene court at the School of Law on Thursday, April 4, 2013, Chief Judge James Welsh announced.
A three-judge panel consisting of Gary Witt, ’90; Thomas Newton; and Mark Pfeiffer, ’92, will hear oral arguments at Hulston Hall in four cases beginning at 9:30 am.
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 School of Law has become a regular stop for the Western District when it convenes court away from its headquarters in Kansas City. The court has jurisdiction over appeals from trial courts in 45 counties which include all of northwest Missouri and most of central Missouri.
Witt will preside over the proceedings in Columbia. He was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 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. Newton was appointed to the court of appeals in 1999. Previously, he served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County, an assistant United States attorney and as a circuit judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit. Pfeiffer was appointed to the Western District in 2009. Before his appointment, he practiced law in Springfield and later Columbia.
“It is important for the Court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City,” Witt 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.”