Nebraska Court of Appeals College Campus Initiative


Elizabeth Hjelm, Photo Editor

Wayne State College hosted the Nebraska Court of Appeals College Campus Initiative Thursday, September 16.

According to the State of Nebraska Judicial Branch website, the Nebraska Court of Appeals has traveled across Nebraska in an attempt to bring the judicial branch to students throughout the state, since 2012. The Court of Appeals consists of six judges, including the chief judge, who serves a 2-year renewable term. The six judges are split into two panels.

At the WSC sessions, six different cases were heard in the Kanter Student Center. At 9:30 a.m., the first session began hearing three separate cases. The judges for the first panel were, Chief Judge Michael Pirtle, Judge Frankie Moore, and Judge Lawrence Welch Jr. Following a break for lunch, the second session began hearing cases at 1:30 p.m., with a new panel of judges. The second panel consisted of Judge Riko Bishop, Judge Francie Riedmann.

Students from WSC and surrounding community high schools were in attendance for both sessions. Following the court proceedings, students were given the opportunity to ask the panel of judges questions. Questions ranged from original college majors to life advice.

The judges answered every question thrown their way and emphasized the importance of the following advice:

While in college, take classes that give experience in a little bit of everything.

“Try to get a broad experience of courses in college; get exposed to as many different areas as you can … get a general education where you’re exposed to as many areas as you can be,” Judge Pirtle said.

Say thank you! Although it was not explicitly stated as advice to students, it was clear that good etiquette had a lasting impact on Judge Pirtle, Judge Welch, and Judge Moore. All three judges reflected on how meaningful it is to receive a ‘thank you.’ Judge Moore joked in her years practicing law, clients would send ‘thank you’ flowers, but her husband, a fellow attorney, never got any.

Be willing and open to change. “Your plans change, and your passions change,” Judge Moore said. Whether students are conflicted over which major to choose or what their path is in life, change is bound to happen. Judge Moore said that she hadn’t even considered law school throughout her first years at college.

Judge Welch added, “Life is a journey.”

The Court of Appeals will be traveling to Midland University in September of 2022.