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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 12, 2012

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District to sit at Northwest

For the third time in four years, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, will convene court at Northwest Missouri State University, Chief Judge Lisa White Hardwick has announced.

A three-judge panel consisting of Judge James Smart, Judge James Welsh and Missouri Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer will hear oral arguments in four cases, beginning at 1 p.m., Monday, March 26, in the J.W. Jones Student Union. The program is free and open to the public.

“It is important for the Court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City,” Smart 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.”

The March 26 session will be the fourth 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.

Hardwick explained 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, she said. The judges will read written arguments before the court session, she added, 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.

Smart will preside over the proceedings at Northwest. He is the longest-serving judge on the Western District, having been appointed to the Court in 1991. Previously, he was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County and practiced law in Kansas City. 

Welsh was appointed to the Western District in 2007. He practiced law for 10 years and then served successively as a municipal judge, an associate circuit judge and circuit judge in Clay County prior to his appointment as an appellate judge.

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 20 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.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468