Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to sit at Lincoln University

27 February 2012

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to sit at Lincoln University

KANSAS CITY -- For the second time in as many years, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District will convene court at Lincoln University, Chief Judge Lisa White Hardwick announced today. On Thursday, March 1, 2012, oral arguments will take place beginning at 9 a.m. in the Scruggs Ballroom located in the Scruggs University Center.

A three-judge panel consisting of Hardwick, Western District judge Alok Ahuja and Cole County circuit judge Jon Beetem will listen to arguments in five cases. Hardwick 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, she said. The judges will read written arguments before the court session, she added, and may interrupt the attorneys' arguments with questions.

The judges will take a break between cases to answer questions about the court system in Missouri, especially the appellate courts.

Hardwick will preside over the proceedings at Lincoln. She will complete her two-year terms as chief judge of the Western District on June 30, 2012. She practiced law in Kansas City for 15 years before being appointed as a trial judge on the Jackson County circuit court. In 2001, she was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals. Ahuja was appointed to the Western District in 2007.  Before his appointment, he practiced law for 19 years in Washington, D.C., and Kansas City. Beetem was elected to the Cole County bench in 2006. Prior to his election, he maintained a private law practice focusing on litigation before administrative agencies and trial courts.

Prior to last year, the last time the Western District held court at Lincoln was in April 1998. It convenes regularly at its courthouse in downtown Kansas City, but it also convenes frequently in other locations within the Western District. In the last 20 years, the court has 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. The Western District consists of 45 counties in central and western Missouri.

"It is important for the Court to convene oral arguments outside of Kansas City," Hardwick 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."