In a press release issued today, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Joseph F. Burke to the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor. Judgeships on a district court are ordinarily chosen in non-partisan elections. The governor’s appointment fills the vacancy left by Julie Creal, who resigned last year citing health reasons.
At least three other candidates applied for the post: local attorney Tom Bourque, assistant Washtenaw County prosecutor Eric Gutenberg, and district court magistrate Colleen Currie all confirmed that they had met the Dec. 9, 2011 application deadline.
According to the press release from Snyder’s office, Burke “… began his legal career as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Washtenaw County in 1982. He then went into private practice in 1986 as a partner at Burke & Rennell, PC. In 1993, he returned to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office as the chief assistant prosecuting attorney, where he has remained until present.”
To retain the now-appointed position, Burke will need to run for re-election in November of 2012. Incumbent judges are rarely opposed, because one of the advantages of incumbency is that the title of “judge” is printed on the ballot next to the incumbent’s name.