Two cases that have been handed to the Iowa Court of Appeals will be heard at the Washington Area Performing Arts Center on Thursday, April 4, beginning at 1:20 p.m.
Iowa Court of Appeals Judge Michael Mullins, a Washington resident, said he is excited for the process to come to Washington because it will offer an educational opportunity the public does not normally receive.
“The public generally does not have an opportunity to gain an understanding of what goes on in appellate court or in appellate court arguments,” he said. “You don’t see appeals court cases argued on television or in movies ... We just think the transparency is good for the people (and) it’s important the public has the right to vote on whether we judges on the appellate courts are retained and I think they know very little about us or what we do.”
Judge Mullins explained that any district case has the opportunity to appeal the decision if they choose, once the verdict is reached. The appeal then goes to the Iowa Supreme Court and about 90 percent of the cases are then passed on to appellate judges to hear the case. He said apellate judges hear about 1,200 cases a year.
He said there are typically nine appellate judges, but Iowa currently has two vacancies, and three of them will hear the case. These cases are generally heard in Des Moines at the capitol building but can be heard at other venues. Judge Mullins said these particular cases are being heard in Washington because he requested the opportunity because he feels it is important the public has an opportunity to experience the system if they choose.
“This is just an opportunity to provide some public education and an opportunity to provide a civics education,” he said.
Iowa Court of Appeals Judges Michael Mullins, Gayle Nelson Vogel (Chief Judge), Anuradha Vaitheswaran and Richard Doyle will hear arguments in the first case, State v. Brown, at 1:20 p.m. The second case, Whitlow v. McConnaha, will be heard by Iowa Court of Appeals Judges Michael Mullins, Amanda Potterfield and Mary Tabor at 2:25 p.m.
Judge Mullins encourages the public to attend the cases and get a front-row seat to how the judicial system works.
“This is live, this is real, this is not a mock-hearing or practice,” he said. “This is all very real and the public is invited so we are wanting the public to know about it, come experience it, if they would like to.”
The Iowa Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Thursday, April 4, beginning at 1:20 p.m. at Washington High School.