Court of Appeals, Western District, to convene at WWU

William Woods University students
will have the opportunity to observe the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western
District, when the court convenes at WWU April 3.
Among the cases to be heard is one regarding whether a videotape
deposition from the victim and letter of apology from the accused should have
been allowed during a trial in which the defendant was charged with statutory
sodomy in the first degree.

A three-judge panel, consisting of Gary Witt, Thomas
Newton and Mark Pfeiffer, will hear oral arguments in five cases beginning at 1
p.m. in the Weitzman Model Courtroom in the Burton Business Building.
 
Chief Judge James Welsh explained that the cases are appeals
from previously held trials in area circuit courts.  The three judges will recess sometime in
between arguments to step down and discuss the court system and generally
explain proceedings, Welsh said.
 
“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,” he said.  “The judges will
read written arguments before the court session and may interrupt the
attorneys’ arguments with questions.”
 
Cases to be heard include
  • A liability settlement involving
    nursing home employees
  • A solid waste contract  
  • An involuntary manslaughter
    charge
  • Denial of a reciprocal
    veterinary license
This will be the court’s 21st 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.
 
Witt will preside over the proceedings.  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.   
 
During the past 21 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,” 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.
                                                           
 
CUTLINE:
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, will convene
April 3 in William Woods University’s Weitzman Model Courtroom. The courtroom
is used by WWU legal studies students for mock trials and other educational
endeavors.