Missour Court of Appeals, Western District, Convened at Westminster College
For the fifth consecutive year, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District convened court at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. The session took place on Thursday, November 8, in Hermann Lounge. A three-judge panel consisting of Chief Judge James Welsh, Judge Mark D. Pfeiffer and Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter heard oral arguments in three cases beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Welsh explained that the cases were appeals from previously held trials in area circuit courts. The judges heard attorneys argue whether the trials had errors that would cause them to be retried, or whether the trial court's judgment should be reversed. The judges read written arguments before the court session, he added, and followed up the attorneys’ arguments with questions.
Welsh presided over the proceedings at Westminster. He was appointed to the Western District in 2007 and has served as the court’s chief judge since July 1 of this year. Previously, he practiced law for ten years and served successively as a municipal judge, an associate circuit judge and circuit judge in Clay County.
Pfeiffer was appointed to the Western District in 2009. Before assuming the bench, he practiced law in Springfield and Columbia. He continues to reside in Columbia.
Carpenter was sitting by special appointment of the Missouri Supreme Court. She was appointed to the Boone County court in 1999 and has been elected since then. Before joining the bench, she was in private practice.
Although the Court convenes regularly in Kansas City, it regularly sits twice a year in Fulton. In the spring, it convenes at William Woods University. During the past 21 years, the Court has also held sessions in Chillicothe, Clinton, Columbia, 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. Its jurisdiction is appeals from trial courts in 45 counties, which include all of northwest Missouri and most of central Missouri.
"It is important for the Court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City," Welsh said. "This gives individuals an opportunity to observe a part of the judicial system they normally do not see. We hope those who attended received a better understanding of the Court's function.