12 November 2014
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to sit at Atchison County courthouse in Rockport
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time in its history, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District will convene court at the Atchison County Courthouse in Rockport, Missouri, Chief Judge Alok Ahuja announced today.
On November 14, 2014 a panel consisting of Western District judges Joseph Ellis and Victor Howard and Supreme Court judge Zel Fischer will hear oral arguments in three cases beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Ahuja explained that 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, he said. The judges will read written arguments before the court session, he added, and may interrupt the attorneys’ arguments with questions.
The judges will recess sometime in between arguments to step down and discuss the court system and generally explain proceedings, Ahuja said.
Ellis will preside over the proceedings in Rockport. The senior judge on the court, Ellis was appointed to the Western District in 1993. Before his appointment to the judiciary, he practiced law in Macon. Howard served as a trial judge in Clay County prior to his appointment to the Western District in 1996. Before judicial service, he practiced law in Liberty. Fischer is a native of northwest Missouri and was educated in the Rockport public schools. He practiced law in northwest Missouri until he won election as the associate circuit judge in Atchison County. In 2008 he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri by Governor Matt Blunt.
The Court convenes regularly in Kansas City. However, during the past 23 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, Moberly, 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," 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.”
Contact: Terence G. Lord, clerk
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District