Local News

Burchard Announces Retirement

By Judge Jack Burchard
Feb 08, 2012

Judge Jack Burchard has announced that he will not seek re-election for a sixth term.

Here is the his letter to the voters:


It has been a great honor to serve as Superior Court Judge for the last nineteen years and as Prosecuting Attorney for six years before that. I now have just 11 months remaining in my fifth term on the Bench. I have decided not to seek re-election for a sixth term.

I have many thoughts and words to share with all of you. But one word covers most of what is worth saying. That word is: "Thanks." You have treated me with respect and kindness beyond what I have earned. You have been patient with my shortcomings.

Among Washington's 39 Counties, Okanogan shines bright. We are the smallest county in Washington with a Drug Court. We are the only County I have heard of that started a Drug Court without the benefit of a Federal Implementation Grant. Our Drug Court holds offenders accountable and provides treatment and supervision resources to break the cycle of drug abuse and crime that poison so many lives. This program is supported by local sales tax and other taxpayer dollars. Thank you for making Drug Court possible in the Okanogan. Thanks to the Drug Court Team, especially Frank Rogers, Steve Brown, Karl Sloan, Felicia Chandler, Mike Lynch, Dan Boyle, Nancy Barnes and Roger Bauer.

Through generous and talented volunteers we provide education to divorcing parents so they learn to keep their children out of the middle of their disputes. The Dispute Resolution Center also provides mediation services that allow parties to sit down with each other and resolve their disputes informally, without going to Court. Thank you to those volunteers, especially Katy Davis, Cheryl Hill, Candis Cochran and Rene Ewalt.

In cases of suspected child abuse and neglect we have the benefit of many volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). Thank you for your generous dedication to the welfare of children. Thank you to Peggy Sullivan, Bobbi Gottfriedson and Tim Hargraves for organizing the effort. First time minor offenders appear before Community Accountability Boards to resolve their cases. These volunteers help steer young people away from court and jail. Thanks to all of you.

We enjoy one of the top Juvenile Court Departments in the State. Our great staff has developed many innovative programs to provide accountability and change for young offenders. Thank you to our administrative team, transportation officers, corrections officers, probation officers and chemical dependency counselors. Special thanks go to Mark Atkinson for bringing the Aggression Replacement Training program (ART) to Okanogan County. This intensive 10 week course gives young offenders tools to address anger, aggression and other self-defeating behaviors. We are now the first county to extend ART to include drug and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention. Many of the kids who need these services live far away. Our transportation program allows young offenders from Coulee Dam to Oroville and Winthrop to receive supervision and services. Thanks to Dennis Rabidou and the whole staff for solving the transportation challenge.

Just a few years ago some proposed closing our Juvenile Detention Center and sending our kids to a regional Detention Center near Medical Lake. The public, news media and officials rallied to our support. Thank you.

In family law cases (divorce, separation, custody and child support) most of you come to court without lawyers. Our Family Law Facilitator helps guide you through the complicated legal process so that issues are promptly and fairly resolved. Our Facilitator helps parents and the Court find custody and child support arrangements that serve the best interests of the children. Thank you for paying the bill for this program through your taxes and user fees. Thanks to Susan Speiker and all the facilitators who preceded her.

Effective December 1, 2011, the Governor appointed a second Superior Court Judge. Now, after all these years, there are two of us. A two Judge Superior Court will better serve the people's needs. Thanks to Administrative Director Nan Kallunki and Commissioners Jim DeTro, Bud Hover and Andy Lampe for making this happen.

Thanks to the Law Enforcement Officers who have consistently brought me plenty of work, insuring that my days were not filled with boredom. Thanks to all who helped with my campaigns. Thanks to Mike Marshall, Louis Millard, Fred Horner and John Dick.

Our old courthouse does not provide direct access to the jail. Prisoners were hauled to court through the public hallway in long chains. The County Administration, Sheriff, Jail Administrator Noah Stewart, the Courts and Renee Townsley solved this big problem. We built a courtroom in the jail. Thanks.

I have enjoyed the privilege of working with some of the finest and most capable people on the planet. Heartfelt thanks to my Court Administrator Al Rendon and my Assistant and Bailiff Mary Horner. There are no two finer public servants in the world. Thanks to the Judicial Officers who have served with me and provided guidance and support for many years: Judge Dave Edwards, Judge Chris Culp, Commissioner Rick Weber and Commissioner Gretchen Wallace. Thanks to the Judges from Chelan and Douglas County who have assisted us with Okanogan County Cases: John Bridges, Lesley Allan, Chip Small and John Hotchkiss.

Most importantly, thank you to my wonderful wife Peg and our children Chris, Jay, Anna, Tim and Mary. The pursuit of my dream has been hard on all of you. Our lives will soon be less public. Hurrah!

I am very grateful but humbled to realize my retirement benefits will exceed those available to most of the people paying for them. Thank you.

Of course there are many deserving thanks that I have left off this list. Thanks to all of you too. You know who you are.

From this partial inventory you can see that I have been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined or earned. In the near future I hope to spend time with many of the people, organizations and groups across the County. Perhaps we can discuss what we've learned from each other over the years. Let me know if you want to organize a get-together. Right now the court bell is ringing, reminding me to get back to work. I haven't retired yet.

Yours truly,

Jack Burchard, Judge

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