After 30 years on the bench, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge A. Franklin Burgess Jr., is retiring, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission announced today.
Burgess said today that he hadn't decided what he’d do after retiring, but that he did plan to apply for senior status as a judge. "I feel fortunate to have had a chance to do this job," he said. His retirement, which comes at the end of his second 15-year term, will be effective August 3.
Burgess' retirement was expected; in testimony before the D.C. Council earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, the nominations commission chair, said they were anticipating that he would step down this year. The commission is accepting applications (PDF) from local lawyers interested in filling Burgess' seat through April 5. Applicants have to be an active member of the D.C. Bar, a bona fide D.C. resident, and must have been actively practicing or teaching law for the past five years.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Burgess to Superior Court in 1983. He currently manages a criminal division docket, and in the past served as presiding and deputy presiding judge of the criminal division and also the probate and tax division.
When he came up for reappointment in 1998, the local body that evaluates judicial performance found that Burgess was considered a "judge's judge," who other judges turned to for advice. According to the evaluation, he was uniformly praised by members of the bar and the commission unanimously voted to reappoint him.
Before joining the bench, Burgess spent six years with the D.C. Public Defender Service, including as chief of the appellate division. Before working as a public defender, he was an associate at Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge.
His retirement will open a fourth judicial vacancy in Superior Court. The seven-person nominations commission will send three applicants to the White House for consideration, and the White House's nominee will before the U.S. Senate for confirmation proceedings.
Besides Sullivan, the commission members include: William Lucy, a vice president of the AFL-CIO; Natalie Ludaway of Leftwich & Ludaway; Woody Peterson of Dickstein Shapiro; Venable's Karl Racine; the Rev. Morris Shearin Sr.; and Grace Speights of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.