Fifth Court of Appeals
Chief Justice Robert D. Burns, III was elected to the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas November 6, 2018 and sworn into office January 1, 2019. Chief Justice Burns grew up in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1986 and earned his juris doctor from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1990. Chief Justice Burns began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Dallas and, within six years, tried over 150 jury trials to verdict, including numerous capital murder cases. After ten years in private practice, Chief Justice Burns was elected to the Criminal District Court No. 1, where he served the citizens of Dallas County for twelve years before being elected Chief Justice of the Fifth Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Burns is board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and served two terms on its Advisory Board.
Chief Justice Burns’ public service has included six years presiding over Dallas County’s DIVERT court (treatment court for first-time felony drug offenders), three terms on the Dallas County Juvenile Board, four years as the Local Administrative District Judge for Dallas County, three years on the Dallas County Criminal Justice Advisory Board. Prior to taking the bench, he also served as an officer for the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the criminal law section of the Dallas Bar Association. Chief Justice Burns has been admitted to practice in the federal courts in the Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of Texas, the District of Idaho, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.