Site Search

Midland University to Host Nebraska Court of Appeals on September 15th

Nebraska Courts of Appeals Judges at Midland University

As part of Constitution Day, Midland University will serve as host to the Nebraska Court of Appeals on Thursday, September 15th. There will be morning and afternoon sessions which will take place in Kimmel Theatre. The court session will celebrate ten years of the Court of Appeals College Campus Initiative, which has allowed a variety of college campuses across the state to host the event.

“We are excited to serve as a host to the Nebraska Court of Appeals,” Midland University President Jody Horner said. “We hosted the Court of Appeals in 2015, and it is a great honor to be chosen again. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage our students and local high school students in witnessing a live session of the judicial process.”

Several cases will be held during the various sessions, with the morning portion beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the afternoon session taking place at 1:30 p.m. Chief Judge Mike Pirtle, a 1975 Midland graduate, will preside over the morning panel, with Judge Francie Riedmann presiding in the afternoon. Each panel will consist of three judges.

The Court of Appeals will hear three or four cases each session, followed by a question and answer session for students. Midland University students, as well as government and social studies classes from area high schools, will be in attendance. All students are given detailed descriptions of each case to assist in understanding the legal arguments. All argument sessions, whether held in the Court of Appeals Courtroom or outside the State Capitol, are open to the public. 

The Nebraska Court of Appeals is the state’s second-highest court and reviews appeals from state trial court decisions. A Nebraska Court of Appeals decision is final unless the Nebraska Supreme Court grants further review. The six judges on the Court of Appeals handle approximately 800 appeals annually.

Pirtle was on campus seven years ago when the Court of Appeals first visited Midland. He believes bringing these cases to campus allows students to be enlightened and informed on how the judicial system works. “The reason we started this in 2012 is that we thought it was important to educate students, and the community, about what we do,” he said. “A lot of people don’t understand the judicial branch, and this will give them a chance to see us in action and ask questions about what we do.”

The Nebraska Court of Appeals is in place to hear arguments on various cases, including criminal cases, general court cases, and domestic relations cases. “Any case that has gone to trial court, and if one or more parties involved are not happy with the results, can ask us to take a look at it,” Pirtle said. “These are real-life cases we deal with and can often include difficult subjects, such as divorce, child custody, criminal cases, or termination of parental rights. We try to offer students a variety of cases we see on a daily basis.”

After 33 years as a trial attorney, Pirtle became a Judge of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, 2nd Judicial District, in 2011. In 2020, he was appointed as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. Pirtle said he has enjoyed working both sides of the bench in his career, with each offering different challenges. “As a lawyer, you’re advocating for one side, and you work to represent that client to the best of your ability,” he said. “As a judge, you’re more like a referee in that you have to stay neutral. In appellate court, it’s important you get along with the other judges. You might not always agree, but you have to work through your differences in a professional manner. We also have a lot of cases to work through, so you have a combination of getting things done in a timely manner but making sure they are done correctly.”

Pirtle is looking forward to the opportunity to return to his alma mater and help educate students on an important process of the judicial system. “I’m very proud of Midland, and being here brings back a lot of good memories,” he said. “I think all judges have an affinity to their undergrad colleges, so it’s fun when you have the chance to come back and be a part of that.”

“We have always been received warmly at the colleges we go to, and I’m looking forward to our day at Midland. I hope the students enjoy it as well.”

To learn more about the Nebraska Court of Appeals, visit

Facebook icon Twitter icon
Back to All Posts

Related Posts

View post
View post
View post
View post
View post
View post
I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.