Hon. Michael Burton
21st Judicial Circuit Court
Michael D. Burton was appointed circuit judge on Feb. 16, 2004, by Gov. Bob Holden. He was appointed an associate circuit judge by Gov. Mel Carnahan on Apr. 19, 1999.
He received his B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame in 1982, and his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 1985.
From 1985 until 1989, Judge Burton was an assistant public defender for the Special Public Defender's Office, serving St. Louis and St. Louis County. He practiced law from 1989-1999 with the law firm of Margulis, Grant, Burton & Margulis, P.C. He was a guardian ad litem for the St. Louis County Family Court from 1995 to 1999.
The St. Louis County judges elected Judge Burton to be the Circuit's Presiding Judge in March 2020 and again in October 2020.
From 2008-2012, Judge Burton served as the St. Louis County Family Court Administrative Judge. He chaired the St. Louis County Domestic and Family Violence Council from 2008 to 2012 and from 2015 to 2020. In 2016, Judge Burton became the Circuit's first full-time alternative treatment court judge, presiding over the Drug, DWI, Veteran and Mental Health courts. From 2016 to 2020, he chaired the Missouri Supreme Court's Commission on Battling Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence.
Judge Burton is involved in numerous community and volunteer activities. In 1991, he and his wife started Join Hands, ESL, an organization that offers various programs to youth from East St. Louis, IL housing projects. Judge Burton has been the president and founder of the organization's Boys Club since 1991. He volunteered as a truancy court judge for the Ferguson-Florissant School District from 2000 to 2008. He is past president and co-founder of the Alumni Association for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and served on its board of directors from 2003 to 2008. He was a parish council member and chairman of the St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church from 1998 to 2001 and was a mentor for the St. Louis Association for Retarded Citizens from 1991-2008.
In 2018, the American Bar Association gave Judge Burton its Judith Kaye Award for Judicial Excellence (which recognizes one judge in the country who embodies the New York State's former chief judge's commitment to victims of domestic and sexual violence).
In 2013, Judge Burton received the Spirit of Justice Award from the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; the Champion for Change Award from A Woman's Place, and the Community Superhero Award from Voices for Children/Court Appointed Special Advocates. In 2011, he received Washington University School of Law's Distinguished Young Alumnus Award and the first Ellen Cowell Leadership Award from the Missouri Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Judge Burton also received the Special Recognition Award from Legal Advocates for Abused Women (2009); Children's Advocacy Award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (2007); St. Louis University School of Law's Clarence Darrow Award for Public Service (2006); the Legacy Award (2005) from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri; and the Missouri Bar's Tom Cochran Community Service Award (2004).
Judge Burton has been an adjunct professor of law at Washington University School of Law since 1997 (teaching Evidence and Trial Advocacy), and at St. Louis University Law School since 1992 (teaching Trial Advocacy and Pre-Trial Practice). He has been a judicial instructor at the Missouri Judicial College since 2000, and an adjunct judicial instructor at the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges since 2008.
Judge Burton is a member of Mary Queen of Peace and St. Vincent DePaul Parishes. He belongs to the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the St. Louis County Bar Association.