Warren County

Katie Joyce officially installed as Warren County's newest judge

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 12/7/23

Katie Joyce was sworn in as a new associate judge of Missouri's 12th judicial circuit at the courthouse in Warrenton. She will also serve Audrain and Montgomery counties.

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Warren County

Katie Joyce officially installed as Warren County's newest judge


Katie Joyce is now officially the newest judge in Warren County.

Joyce, 33, was installed during a ceremony Dec. 4 at the Warren County Courthouse that featured several sitting and former judges, including recently-appointed Missouri Supreme Court Justice Kelly Broniec.

She will officially take up the gavel on Dec. 11. In the meantime, she will be taking time to ensure everything is wrapped up as she closes her Joyce Law practice in Warrenton.

“The state did confirm that I could take a few days just to make sure my files were wrapped up, handed out to clients, etc,” she said. 

“So I’m officially done representing clients.”

She did not yet know what her first case would be, or where in the 12th judicial circuit it might occur.

The 12th circuit covers Warren, Montgomery and Audrain counties.

“It’s very possible it could be in one of our other counties in the circuit,” she said. “My very first court appearance as an attorney ever was in Audrain County, actually. So if it happened to be that way, that would be neat to have my first case as a judge in Audrain as well. But we’ll see how the schedule falls to see where I’ll have my first official case.”

But before Joyce could worry about hearing her first case, the court took a moment to celebrate her as she ascended to the bench.

Supreme Court Justice Broniec joined Warren County Presiding Judge Jason Lamb, former Warren County judge and current Appeals Court Judge Michael Wright, senior judges Keith Sutherland and Tom Frawley, associate Warren County Judge Richard Scheibe, and Montgomery County Judge Nathan Carroz.

The seven judges sat in the front of the Division 1 courtroom in their robes as Broniec addressed the large crowd of assembled family, friends, and Joyce law staff who had come to support Katie Joyce during her installation.

“Katie always had a great ability to advocate for her client and to do an excellent job, but to do so in a manner that was gracious while tenacious,” Broniec said as she addressed the crowd at the beginning of the ceremony. “She was able to really effectively represent her clients. In today’s day and age, we don’t always have the luxury of seeing attorneys that treat each other respectfully while also still advocating strongly for their clients, and Katie was always able to do that.”

Broniec continued to praise Joyce throughout her remarks for her work in juvenile court and as the guardian ad litem.

“I’m very excited for you on this day, and I know that you’re going to bring all of those wonderful qualities and gratefulness that you possess as a lawyer to the bench,” Broniec said. “And so I’m really proud of you.” 

Having Broniec in attendance was not a sure thing, Joyce said in an interview after the ceremony.

“I was incredibly happy that Judge Broniec was able to make time in her busy schedule to be here,” Joyce said after the ceremony. “I thoroughly enjoyed appearing in front of her when she was here as a Montgomery County Associate judge, especially with the juvenile dockets. So it was really wonderful to see her again.”

Lamb also made remarks before Joyce took her oath and donned her black robe.

“Your life’s going to change,” Lamb said. “You’re going to cease to be an advocate and you’re going to become a neutral whose obligation is to the constitution and the administration of justice. And you’re going to do a great job with that because you’ve shown the qualities so far. … The governor has made a decision to place great trust in you on behalf of the citizens of Warren County, and on behalf of myself and the other judges up here, we’re excited to see the good things that you’re going to do.”

Following Lamb’s remarks, Joyce was called to the front of the courtroom where senior Judge Sutherland administered the oath of office.

It was a special moment for the new judge, and not just because it marked her first moments as her honor.

“I have known him my entire life,” Joyce said. “He was actually present at the hospital the day that I was born. … They’ve always been a wonderful support for my family and for me, and so I was very, very happy he was able to swear me in today.”

She then received her judge’s robe from her father, retired Warrenton attorney Tim Joyce.

The courtroom was then filled with loud applause as those present paid tribute to the new judge.

“I cannot say enough about all of the support I have always had from my family in this community, and I absolutely appreciate each and every one of you being here today,” Joyce said at the conclusion of the ceremony. “And I’m looking forward to everything to come in the future, as well. … And so thank you again, and ceremony adjourned.”

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

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