Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District to Hear Appeals at Southeast

dempsterCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 16, 2012 — For the third time over the past four years, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District will convene court at Southeast Missouri State University, Chief Judge Kurt Odenwald has announced.

Students and interested citizens are invited to attend the court sessions of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, when it holds its Southern Division docket at Southeast on Monday, April 30. The dockets will be held in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall. The court sessions are open to the public.

The April 30 docket continues a tradition of the Eastern District of convening court in areas outside of St. Louis, where the court regularly conducts its sessions. The Eastern District has convened numerous times at various locations in the Cape Girardeau area over the past years, and sat most recently in November at the Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. U.S. Courthouse.

“Our court strongly believes in holding oral argument outside of St. Louis,” Odenwald said. “The Eastern District comprises large areas outside of St. Louis, and by traveling to all parts of the district, citizens of our state have an opportunity to observe a part of the judicial process that they normally do not see. We hope that those individuals who attend the oral arguments will learn about the appellate process and gain a better understanding of our Court’s role in the judicial system. It is important that we make our Court and its judges accessible to citizens throughout Missouri.”

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, is the state’s largest appellate court, with offices in the historic Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis. There are 14 judges on the court, which handles approximately 50 percent of the intermediate appellate caseload in Missouri. The Eastern District has jurisdiction over appeals from trial courts in 24 counties and the City of St. Louis stretching from the Iowa border to Cape Girardeau. The court regularly hears cases in St. Louis, Hannibal, Cape Girardeau and other locations in the Eastern District.

Odenwald explained that the cases to be heard are appeals from previously held trials in local circuit courts. The three judge panel will hear from attorneys, who will argue whether the trial court made any errors of law, which would require the case to be retried, or the trial court’s judgment to be reversed, he said. The judges will read the parties written arguments prior to the court session, and may ask the attorneys questions relating to their case, Odenwald added.

After the court session, Judges Sherri Sullivan, Gary Gaertner Jr. and Robert M. Clayton III will participate in a question and answer session with audience members and students regarding courts, the role of judges and the judicial system.

A three-judge panel consisting of Sullivan, Gaertner Jr. and Clayton III will hear arguments in five cases. The first docket will convene at 1:30 p.m. The second docket will convene at 2:30 p.m. Sullivan will preside over the proceedings at Southeast.

Sullivan was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1999. She previously served as a Circuit Judge and assistant prosecuting attorney. Gaertner was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2009. He previously served as a Circuit Judge, assistant U.S. Attorney and assistant prosecuting attorney. Clayton was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2011. He previously served as a member of the Public Service Commission and state representative, and also practiced law in Hannibal.

In addition to Cape Girardeau, over the past 10 years the Court has held sessions in Hannibal, Canton, Troy, Farmington, Jackson, St. Charles, Montgomery City, Ste. Genevieve, Bowling Green, New London, Shelbyville, Palmyra, Perryville and Hillsboro.

To receive a copy of the Southern Division docket, contact the Clerk’s office at (314) 539-4300 or visit the Court’s website at www.courts.mo.gov, select Court of Appeals from the “Know Your Courts” drop down menu, further select “Eastern District” and then “Eastern District Cases Docketed.”