Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Family Court Commissioner Kristine Allen Kerr as a new Circuit Judge for the 21st Circuit, which encompasses all of St. Louis County. She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable James R. Hartenbach.
Kerr has served as a Family Court Commissioner for the Juvenile Division of the St. Louis County Family Court since 2004. In that position, she has been responsible for hearing cases involving juveniles who are alleged to be in need of care because they have been abused or neglected, or are alleged to have committed acts which would be criminal offenses if performed by an adult.
Prior to being named as a Family Court Commissioner, Kerr was a trial attorney with the public defender offices in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for 16 years. During that time, she served as the first assistant public defender for the St. Louis City public defender's office for more than 10 years. Before becoming a public defender, she worked as an attorney in private practice in St. Louis.
"Commissioner Kerr brings to the bench many years of courtroom experience, both as a judicial officer in hearing cases and as an attorney in trying cases," Gov. Nixon said. "I am pleased to name her as the newest Circuit Judge for St. Louis County, and am confident in her ability to continue capably serving the people of this county in her new position."
Kerr has been recognized professionally with the President's Award from the Woman Lawyer's Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in 2011, and with the Distinguished Fellow Award from the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in 2003. She has been active in community organizations, including her church and the Girl Scouts. Kerr obtained her law degree from Boston University and her undergraduate degree from Brown University.
Kerr was one of three applicants submitted to the Governor for consideration by the 21st Circuit Judicial Commission under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.