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Island County > Superior Court > Superior Court Judges


Christon Skinner was elected as judge for the Island County Superior Court, Pos. 1, in November of 2020. His term began on January 11, 2021, following Judge Alan R. Hancock who served 32 years as Island County Superior Court judge before his retirement. Prior to his election, Judge Skinner was an attorney in private practice in Oak Harbor, Washington for 41 years, emphasizing trial practice and litigation in both civil and criminal cases. After graduating from Willamette University College of Law in 1979, Judge Skinner was employed by the Oak Harbor law firm of Zylstra, Beeksma & Waller and became a partner in that firm in 1985. In 1996, Judge Skinner opened the Law Office of Christon C. Skinner, P.S. and was the owner of that firm until December 31, 2020. In addition to the Oak Harbor office, the firm maintained a second law office in Friday Harbor, Washington from 2008 through 2016.

Judge Skinner attended Pacific Lutheran University as an undergraduate and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in both economics and political science in 1976.


Carolyn Cliff was elected as a superior court judge for Island County in November 2020. Previously, she served for two decades as a superior court judge pro tem.  She had also served as Island County's Superior Court Commissioner, Langley's Municipal Court Judge, and a judge pro tem for the Island County District Court. During many of those same years, Judge Cliff also had a successful private law practice in Langley.

For more than 30 years, Judge Cliff has lived, worked, and volunteered her time in Island County. She is a former trustee of the Arise Charitable Trust (helping local women achieve their full potential), the Foundation of Senior Services of Island County, and her community's water board. She graduated with High Honors from the University of Washington Law School, as a member of the editorial board of the University of Washington Law Review, the Order of the Coif (based on excellence in academic work), and the Order of the Barristers (based on excellence in oral advocacy). 

Judge Cliff is married to Butch Donaldson, a retired Navy nurse. After serving two tours at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor and working for many years at Whidbey Health, Butch now enjoys using his nursing skills as a volunteer.