Corpus Christi Mayor Pro-Tem Lucy Rubio told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that Judge Young Min Burkett has been placed on a 90-day leave of absence after it was discovered that the judge is not an American citizen. Rubio said that officials never asked Burkett during the qualification process whether she holds U.S. citizenship. She also claimed that Burket supposedly did not seek to deceive or misrepresent her status. Burkett’s nationality is unclear.
Burkett as judge has issued rulings from the bench. City attorneys have decided that her determinations are valid and lawful.
According to City Councilman Rudy Garza Jr., there was no question on the forms required to apply for the judgeship. The documents did, however, have a question as to whether the applicant was eligible for legal employment in the state. He said that Burkett is a permanent resident and eligible for lawful employment, he added. According to the Caller-Times, Burkett has been a lawful permanent resident since 2007.
However, according to a city ordinance, American citizenship is a requirement to be a municipal court judge. Garza, however, holds that it was the city that was in error, not Burkett and that she was not insincere or do anything dishonest.
“The error was a city error and we don’t feel Judge Burkett was insincere or did anything in her application or interview that led to any dishonesty on her part,” Garza said.
Burkett did not return phone calls Wednesday requesting comment. Her husband, Nathan Burkett, sent a message to the Caller-Times late Wednesday.
Husband Nathan Burkett wrote to the Caller-Times and noted that the job posting for which his wife applied only specified the ability to work in the country. He claimed that the judge never misrepresented her citizenship.
Mayor pro-tem Rubio, following a closed-door session on Tuesday, said that Burkett can use the 90 days’ leave to apply for American citizenship.