Retired Chief Judge Burnell J. Carter of the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeals will serve as commencement speaker at Southeastern Louisiana University’s graduation ceremonies Saturday.
The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. Approximately 1,250 students will receive bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.
Carter had served on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals since 1982 and served as chief judge from 1999 to his retirement. He has also served as justice ad hoc for the state Supreme Court in 1982 and 1995 and justice ad hoc for the 4th Circuit in 1989.
A resident of Greensburg, he graduated from LSU, where he was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He graduated first in his class at LSU Law School in 1958, where he served as associate editor of the Louisiana Law Review, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and received the School of Law Honors Award and the Criminal Law Award. He was named to the Paul M. Hebert Law Center Hall of Fame in 1987.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Carter served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps on both active and reserve duty and achieved the rank of captain. He is a member of the Reserve Officers Association and the Military Order of World Wars.
Shortly after his graduation from law school, he began his legal career as a practicing general attorney in Greensburg. He served as a law clerk for Judge Robert Ellis, of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, served on the Board of Aldermen and as mayor for the town of Greensburg.
Carter served as a judge on the 21st Judicial District Court, having been appointed to fill a vacant seat in 1974. He was elected to the position in 1975 and 1978 and then served as chief judge from 1979-1981, when he joined the Court of Appeals.
A member of numerous professional associations, he has served as president and vice president of the 21st Judicial District Bar Association, the American Judicature Society, the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges and the American Judges Association. He is a judicial fellow of the Louisiana Bar Association and served as a member of the Judicial Division Committee on Ethics and Professionalism for the American Bar Association.
His civic involvement includes serving as past commander of the American Legion Post 187, as a member of the board for the Capital Area Agency on Aging, and on the Southeastern Louisiana University Development Foundation Board.