OKANOGAN – After 19 years on the bench, Judge Jack Burchard has announced that it is time to retire and he will not be seeking a sixth term.
His fifth term will not be up for another 11 months so he will still be hearing cases for the rest of the year. In making his announcement (see his guest editorial next week), the judge list many of the accomplishments that have been made over the years. These include the Drug Court, which was started without the benefit of a federal grant used by many of the larger counties to start theirs. He also points to the Dispute Resolution Center which has provided education to divorcing parents that helps keep their children out of the middle of disputes. There is also the Court Appointed Child Advocates that handle cases os suspected child abuse and neglect.
During his remaining time on the Superior Court, Judge Burchard’s caseload will be shared with Judge Chris Culp who was appointed to the bench by Governor Christine Gregoire as the county’s second Superior Court Judge. Burchard said at Culp’s swearing in last December that a second judge in the Superior Court was something that has been needed for many years. With his retirement, both positions will be up for election in the next general election.
Burchard ran for judge after longtime Okanogan County Superior Court Judge James Thomas retired from the bench. Prior to being elected to the Superior Court, Burchard served as Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney for six years and before that was a public defender.
Burchard lives in Okanogan with his wife Peg and they have five children Chris, Jay, Anna, Tim and Mary.