Job: Owner and supervising attorney, Burkart Law Offices since 1986.
Education: B.A., Xavier University, graduated magna cum laude and distinguished military graduate, 1982; J.D., St. Louis University School of Law, 1985
Previous offices: Admitted to Illinois Bar, 1985; Missouri Bar and Federal District Court of Southern Illinois, 1986; U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, 2009. Member, Illinois Bar Association, and the Attorney's Title Guaranty Fund Inc. Former member of the Madison County Bar Association and treasurer from 1988-89. National Association of Bar-Related Title Insurers. Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, Signal Corps, 1982 to 1995, honorably discharged as a captain. Special public defender for Madison County, 1987-1991. Hamel Township attorney, 1986 to 1997. Village attorney for Hamel, 1987 to 2011. Basketball coach at St. Boniface from 1999 through 2003 and Athletic Director from 2006 through 2008. Assisted in the formation of the South Springfield Catholic Athletic Conference.
Qualifications: 26 years of litigating cases throughout Southern Illinois to protect people, their property and their rights. I have experience trying both civil and criminal cases, as well as appealing errant trial court rulings. More specifically, I have inventoried 23 major civil cases on my law office and campaign websites as a sampling of my work. I was Madison County's special public defender for four years, handling cases from child neglect to attempted murder. I have corrected many errors of sitting judges. Eleven appellate cases on Westlaw and many other unreported cases. I know the courts, how they work, and how they should work. I will bring integrity, discipline, experience and unbiased judgment to the bench. I pray that I will always remain humble enough to recognize that I do not know it all.
Top issues: The influence of money in judicial campaigns enslaves the judiciary to one side or the other of the trial lawyers versus tort reformers conflict. I have pledged not to accept money from either trial lawyers or tort reformers. I do not accept large campaign contributions as a fact of life. Despite clear constitutional limits on disturbing vested pension rights, Gov. Quinn recently signed a law that divests state retirees' vested rights to health insurance. Gov. Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continue to push for gun control. When the Religious Freedom & Civil Unions Act passed, Gov. Quinn terminated all contracts for adoption and foster child services with Catholic Charities. A circuit judge is the first line of defense to uphold our state and federal constitutions. We cannot afford a circuit judge who will simply rubber stamp legislation from the Democratic party. Associate judges are elected by the circuit judges. Of the 13 associates, only two are Republican. All nine circuit judges are Democrats. It has been that way for more than seven decades. I believe a candidate for associate judge should be selected based upon character and experience, not the political party they belong to.