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March 1, 2013
For the fourth time in five years, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, will convene court at Northwest Missouri State University, Chief Judge James Welsh announced this week.
A three-judge panel consisting of Western District judges Joseph M. Ellis and Gary Witt and Missouri Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer will hear oral arguments in four cases, beginning at 1 p.m., Monday, March 11, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom. The program is free and open to the public.
The session will be the fifth time the Western District, which convenes regularly in Kansas City, has convened in Maryville. Its jurisdiction is appeals from trial courts in 45 counties, which include all of northwest Missouri and most of central Missouri.
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 take a break in between cases and remain after the court session to discuss the court system and answer questions about the proceedings.
“It is important for the Court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City,” Ellis 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.”
Ellis will preside over the proceedings at Northwest. He is the senior judge at the Western District and was appointed to the bench in 1993. Before becoming an appellate judge, he practiced law in Macon for 21 years.
Witt is the newest member of the Western District, having been appointed in 2010. Immediately before his appointment, he served as an associate circuit judge in Platte County. Previously, he practiced law in Platte County and served in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Fischer, a native of Rock Port, was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2008. Previously, he was the associate circuit judge for Atchison County and practiced law in Atchison, Holt, Nodaway and Platte counties.
Besides Maryville, during the past 21 years the Court has held sessions in Chillicothe, Columbia, Fulton, Gallatin, Huntsville, Independence, Jefferson City, Keytesville, Kirksville, Lexington, Liberty, Linneus, Macon, Marshall, Milan, Nevada, Platte City, Richmond, St. Joseph, Savannah, Trenton, Tuscumbia and Warrensburg.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468