‘Today is a good day’
Joe McCarville is sworn in as newest district associate judge
Friends, family and colleagues of Joe McCarville filled a Webster County courtroom Thursday afternoon to watch as the longtime attorney was sworn in as the newest district associate court judge in the 2nd Judicial District.
McCarville’s investiture ceremony was held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Webster County Courthouse.
McCarville said he was proud to be appointed a judge. In a speech to all those present, which included his siblings, in-laws, children, and members of the Webster County Bar Association, as well as current and former judges from both Webster County and across the state, McCarville said he was honored.
“Today is a good day,” he said.
He spoke about his late parents and how they taught him and his siblings important life skills.
“Mom and Dad were hard-working people that taught us to work hard,” he said. “And they taught us that a life with integrity and hard work all lead to good things. I think today is a testament to that.”
McCarville has been an attorney for 28 years, all of them in Webster County. He has been an assistant Webster County attorney and private practice attorney. The last 17 years of his career were spent working in the Fort Dodge office of the State Public Defender, including the last year as the office’s supervisor.
“That means a lot to me that people have noticed, over the years, that I work hard and I know the law and get things done,” he said.
Webster County Magistrate Judge William Habhab, who is an attorney, talked about how McCarville’s work in the public defender’s office may be his most important work.
“Seventeen years dealing with the most serious criminal offenses on the books, dealing with the toughest clients, criminal defendants who have a lot to lose,” Habhab said. “A lot at stake. And their lifeline is Joe.”
Habhab said working as a defense attorney can be challenging, as sometimes attorneys can’t do much when it comes to defending a client against the facts of the case.
“As a defense attorney, you have to deal with the facts and you have to deal with the law,” Habhab said. “You have to apply those facts to the law, and that’s where, I think, Joe’s strength will come in. In his knowledge of the law, his faithfulness to the law, what it is that’s expected of him as a judge in applying the facts before him to the law as it is today.”
He said McCarville’s faithfulness to the law is an important asset.
“It’s the faithfulness to the law that is most important, because he is going to have to make those tough decisions and he’s been the one that’s been advocating the last 17 years for those tough positions in front of judges, asking them to understand what it is that he’s trying to get forth to them,” Habhab said.
McCarville’s eldest child, Emily McCarville, 24, addressed her father.
“I just wanted to say that we’re really proud of you, Dad,” she said. “You’ve worked really hard and … yeah, I love you.”
Katie McCarville, 21, added her thoughts.
“I just wanted to say I’m very happy for you, Dad,” she said. “And I’m also very proud to have you as my dad, and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”
Joe McCarville’s youngest child, Michael McCarville, 19, employed a bit of humor.
“My dad has been judging my life for about 20 years now,” Michael McCarville said. “I think it’s about time he gets a job where he’ll judge somebody else’s life.”
Chief Justice Mark Cady, of the Iowa Supreme Court, swore in McCarville.
Cady, who is also from Fort Dodge, said the addition of another judge from Webster County speaks to the ability of the local attorneys.
“This just follows a long line of jurists from this community,” Cady said. “I think Fort Dodge should be proud of the strength and longevity of its judges.”
McCarville’s area as a district associate court judge includes Greene, Carroll, Calhoun, Sac and Pocahontas counties.