Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday appointed Palm Beach County Judge Charles
Burton to the Circuit Court bench, elevating a magistrate whose face was beamed
into millions of households when he oversaw the county's recount during the
disputed 2000 presidential election.
Burton, 47, who lives west of Boca Raton, is most widely known for his role
as chairman of the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board during the recount, but
associates described him as a mild-mannered jurist with a sense of humor.
"He has good character to be able to handle that pressure [during the recount],"
Palm Beach County Chief Judge Kathleen Kroll said. "I think he's that kind
of guy. … We look forward to his good intellect and demeanor serving on
the circuit bench."
Burton moves into a new spot on the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, one of 55 judicial
positions created statewide during the 2005 legislative session, Bush spokeswoman
Deena Reppen said. Burton will assume his new position Nov. 1, Kroll said.
Burton spent 11 years as a prosecutor in State Attorney Barry Krischer's office,
leaving for a five-year stint as a civil attorney before returning as a prosecutor
and eventually heading up the Crimes Against Children unit. He has been a county
judge since May 2000.
The new appointment means Burton will shift from handling misdemeanors or minor
civil cases to handling felony criminal cases or larger lawsuits.
Burton, who could not be reached for comment by phone on Wednesday, has an
undergraduate degree from Suffolk University and got his law degree from Nova
Southeastern Law School in 1984.