Columbia residents who want to know how the state appellate court system works will get the chance Wednesday, when a three-judge panel from the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals convenes at 9 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse.
The judges — Lisa Hardwick, Robert Ulrich and Thomas Newton — will hear oral arguments in four cases. In between arguments, the judges will explain the proceedings and how the appeals court operates.
The cases were picked because they were tried in Boone County, and it is more convenient for the parties involved, Western District Appeals Court Clerk Terence Lord said. The cases are on appeal because of trial errors, Lord said, or in an effort to have the trial court’s decision overturned.
Among the cases on Wednesday’s docket is a wrongful death suit in which a man was crushed between two bulldozers in a construction accident. The judges will also hear arguments in breach of contract, trespassing and robbery cases.
The Western District court normally convenes in Kansas City, but it occasionally travels around its 45-county jurisdiction to hear cases.
“It’s mainly for education,” Lord said. “Many people don’t have the opportunity to see how the appeals court works.”
Lord said public turnout is generally good. This year, groups from the MU School of Law, Hickman High School and West Junior High School are expected to attend.
“It is important for the court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City,” said Chief Judge Edwin H. Smith of the appeals court. “This gives individuals an opportunity to observe a part of the judicial system they normally do not see.”