A third generation Oregonian, Steve was born and raised in Portland. He graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School, majoring in mechanical drafting and engineering. While working full-time, he attended Portland State University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in History. He later graduated from Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law with honors (now known as Lewis and Clark Law School), and has practiced in civil, administrative, and criminal law since 2000.
Steve’s primary legal work has focused on civil litigation in a broad range of subjects, including contract, tort, shareholder disputes, intellectual property, and real estate, in state and Federal courts. When he is not passionately advocating for his clients, Steve spends time with his family, which includes his wife of 28 years, Darcy, a USA Today Bestselling author, and their two teenage children. He is an active parent and volunteer, having coached multiple soccer teams, volunteered for Art Literacy in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, served on the board of directors at MITCH Charter School and of the Friends of the Refuge for the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge, and more. He believes in teaching his children the importance of being involved in their community and helping others, particularly those who aren’t able to help themselves. Steve also enjoys playing guitar, astronomy, astrophotography, and woodworking. He loves music and is an enthusiastic fan of the Dave Matthews Band.
It is Steve’s view that, as a judge, it is important to treat everyone with respect, regardless of their background or circumstances. From attorneys and advocates, to civil litigants and criminal defendants, every person deserves basic human dignity. The judiciary must be professional, tolerant, and compassionate.
Steve understands the role of the court is to provide for the administration of justice and protect the constitutional rights of all parties, whether criminal victims and defendants, civil litigants, or families working through dissolution and custody disputes. Our courts are a cornerstone of our constitutional system of government, and Steve takes his oath to uphold the constitution very seriously. He is honored to participate in one of the foundations of our democracy as a professional and an officer of the court.
Steve has experience in criminal law as an attorney and as a former reserve police officer with the City of Hillsboro. His brother, Scott Burke, is a decorated Beaverton Police officer, and Steve accompanies him on patrol ride alongs from time to time to maintain his understanding of law enforcement in the trenches. Steve will bring a unique understanding of the inside of the criminal justice system to the bench.
In the civil realm, Steve has represented victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, sex crimes, and police officers injured in the line of duty by criminals. He brings justice to his clients, holding defendants accountable for their actions. He has represented countless homeowners and contractors in construction defect claims, as well as wrongfully terminated employees and victims of sexual harassment. As of 2019, civil cases, family law case, and probate matters constituted approximately 70% of the Washington County Circuit Court’s docket, which demonstrates how valuable having an attorney like Steve is to the bench. He is not just another former prosecutor or criminal defense attorney; he has experience practicing as an attorney in all the areas of law a judge will encounter. Steve has been the lead attorney on more than 450 filed cases in Oregon courts, 54 court trials, and countless arbitrations to date, in addition to having represented over 1000 clients in legal matters outside the courts over the past 20 years. He has handled dozens of cases in Washington, and recently concluded a case in Illinois involving a dispute over a $10,000,000 insurance policy and subsequent trust.
Steve is also proud to volunteer as a (pro tem) judge for the Beaverton Youth Peer Court. This court is designed to provide youths the opportunity to participate in the criminal justice system as advocates for others in a safe, supportive environment, as well as to offer a cause and effect system for juvenile defendants that provides them the tools they need as at-risk children to understand and accept responsibility for their actions. The program has an excellent record in the rehabilitation of at-risk juvinilles that get caught up in the criminal justice system. For more information, go to https://beavertonpolice.org/239/Youth-Peer-Court