Judge Burke assumes new position

Judge Burke assumes new position
March 19
00:00 2015
(Above: Photo by Erin Mizelle- The Honorable Logan Todd Burke)

The Honorable Logan Todd Burke has a new position downtown.

The judge is adjusting to his new role as the 21st Judicial District of the Fifth Division senior resident superior court judge for Forsyth County.

“The job comes with more administrative responsibilities,” Burke said. He is managing a staff of four that consists of trial court clerks and trial court coordinators.

“It’s been good service to the state of North Carolina and immediately to the counties that I serve,” he said.

Superior Court judges are attorneys who are elected for each district in non-partisan elections for eight-year terms. Burke was re-elected in 2012.

Regular Superior Court judges must reside in the district in which they are elected, but rotate from one district to another within their division.

The senior resident superior court judge has the most seniority of the superior court judges in the district and is responsible for carrying out various administrative duties, such as approving personnel hirings.

He has jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases.

Burke also holds court in Guilford, Stokes, Surry, Rockingham, Wilkes, Yadkin, Ashe, Alleghany, Randolph and Montgomery counties.

Even with all the work Burke puts in at his new job, he couldn’t imagine it any other way.

“It’s been a pleasant experience. Of course, it’s the kind of job where 50 percent of the people are going to be happy with you and 50 percent of the people are going to be upset with you because you can’t make decisions to please everyone,” he said. “I try to be respectful and courteous as I can and not make things personal with litigants or parties in both cases.”

Lawyer Frederick Adams agrees that Burke is fair in his practices.

“I’ve appeared in front of him many times. I think it is a well-deserved appointment. Judge Burke’s works and service to his community speaks for itself,” Adams said. “Of all the times I’ve appeared in front of Judge Burke, I felt that he took the time that was necessary to make sure that my client had a fair opportunity to be heard, which is all that you can really ask for when you have a client appearing in court.”

The life-long Winston-Salem resident, and son of former North Carolina Rep. Logan Burke and Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian H. Burke, graduated from East Forsyth High School.

Burke is a 1983 graduate from Morehouse College and received his Juris Doctor degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1986.

After graduation, Burke became a prosecutor in Kinston before returning to his hometown, where he opened up his own practice, the Law Firm of Friende & Burke.

In December 1994, Gov. James B. Hunt appointed Burke to the Superior Court bench, making him the youngest serving resident superior court judge in the state at the time.

He was also the first African-American male to be named to the senior resident position  and the first black male prosecutor in Forsyth county.

Burke gained national attention after hearing a case in Wilkesboro where a drunk driver killed another driver in an accident. As a result of a guilty plea, the woman was ordered to wear a sign that stated she was a convicted drunk driver and as a result someone lost their life. The sign was to be worn for an hour once a month outside of the courthouse for a year.

She was also to maintain a memorial site at the scene of the accident, go for alcohol treatment, serve six months in jail and serve  on probation.

He appeared on Nancy Grace’s “Pros and Cons” TV show, Fox national news, and a TV show hosted by John Walsh, who is known for “America’s Most Wanted” and other TV outlets.

While he comes from a long familial legacy of service to the community, he wants to forge his own path.

“I had an opportunity to observe my parents in leadership roles all my life as a child,” he said.

“I bring with me their experiences and how I’ve observed them interact with and serve the community.”

Burke said that he hopes to be remembered as someone who made fair decisions.

“I just hope that it would be that I was a person of integrity and I abided by the rule of law while I upheld my oath to do so,” he said of his legacy.

Adams said that he has known Burke for a number of years and would consider him a friend.

“He’s active in the Winston-Salem Bar Association. He is very helpful to young attorneys  by giving them advice and mentoring them,” Adams said.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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