Court of Appeals to Convene April 2 at WWU

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District meets in the Weitzman Model Courtroom, which is also used by students for mock trials.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District meets in the Weitzman Model Courtroom, which is also used by students for mock trials.

A case on division of marital property and another on child custody are among the five appeals the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District will hear with it convenes court at William Woods University Wednesday, April 2.

A three-judge panel consisting of Thomas Newton, Mark Pfeiffer and Cynthia Martin will hear oral arguments in the cases beginning at 1 p.m.

The cases are appeals from previously held trials in area circuit courts. According to Chief Judge James Welsh, the judges will hear attorneys argue whether the trials had errors that 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, Welsh said.

This will be the court’s 22nd 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.

Newton will preside over the proceedings. He 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. He is an MU law graduate and lives in Columbia.

Martin was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2009. Previously, she practiced law in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

During the past 22 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,” Newton 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.”