Court of Appeals to convene at William Woods University

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.
 
For more information, contact Kramer at 573-592-4293 or ckramer@williamwoods.edu, or Terence G. Lord, clerk
of court, Missouri Court
of Appeals, Western
District, at (816) 889-3600 or tlord@courts.mo.gov.