TOPEKA—District Judge J. Dexter Burdette will retire September 30 after serving more than 30 years on the bench in the 29th Judicial District.
Burdette, a Wyandotte County native, was appointed to fill a vacancy in the district court and was sworn in June 7, 1988. He subsequently won a contested election to retain his position and has been re-elected since. Judges in the 29th Judicial District, composed of Wyandotte County, are directly elected by voters.
He was a juvenile court judge for two years and then a judge in the court's limited actions division. Since 1993, he has presided over cases in the criminal division.
Burdette graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1967, from Washburn University in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in political science, and from Washburn University School of Law in 1977. While attending Washburn, Burdette worked in Topeka at St. Vincent’s Children’s Home for emotionally and physically abused children as a child care counselor and recreation director.
After graduation from law school, he was an assistant district attorney in Wyandotte County, where he specialized in prosecuting serious felony crimes. From 1985 until he was appointed judge, he was an assistant city attorney for Kansas City, Kansas, where he focused on civil litigation.
He has been a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Wyandotte County Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, American Bar Association, Kansas Inn of Court, Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, and Kansas District Judges Association.
He served on the Kansas Department of Corrections Advisory Group on Female Offenders. He is a graduate of the National Judicial College. He has been active in many organizations, including NAACP, YMCA, Project Turn-Around, and Wyandotte County Mental Health Association, and served on the parish council of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Burdette is married and has four children and four grandchildren.