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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Superior Court

Mission Statement

To serve the public through the prompt resolution of civil and criminal cases in a manner that ensures access and fair treatment.

Vision Statement

Thurston County Superior Court is a Court where all can safely and easily access the court, its programs and services, and have an opportunity to be heard. Through well-trained judicial officers and court staff, the Court uses innovative techniques and manages public resources responsibly. The Court seeks community input to ensure public confidence in the judiciary and to reflect the diverse community needs.

​Welcome to Thurston County Superior Court

Thurston County Superior Court is a state trial court of general jurisdiction situated in Thurston County, Washington. This court has state-wide jurisdiction and hears major criminal matters (felonies), civil cases including cases involving real property, domestic relations matters, appeals from lower courts (Thurston County District and Municipal Courts), and appeals from state administrative agencies.

Family & Juvenile Court is a department of Superior Court and hears juvenile offender matters as well as adoptions, child dependency cases, family law, civil domestic violence and other protection order cases, probates and guardianships. Family & Juvenile Court also operates a juvenile detention facility. Thurston County was the first county in Washington State to co-locate all family and juvenile operations in a single facility, separate from other Superior Court operations.

Thurston County's Superior Court has nine full-time elected judges who sit on all matters and four Superior Court Commissioners who sit primarily in Family & Juvenile Court and domestic violence cases.

Juvenile Court

ITA Court (Involuntary Treatment Act)

Information about Courts Expectations of Law Enforcement Officers Present at the Courthouse to make an Arrest

Superior Court Judges at Main Campus:

Judge Carol Murphy

Judge Carol Murphy was elected to the Thurston County Superior Court bench and began her first term in 2009.  She is currently serving her fourth term as Superior Court Judge.  Her experience on the bench includes two years as Criminal Presiding Judge, three years as Drug Court Presiding Judge, and four years as Presiding Judge for the Thurston County Superior Court.  In her current trial judge rotation, Judge Murphy presides over civil and felony criminal trials and civil motions and administrative appeals.  

Before her election, she practiced in Olympia with the Attorney General's Office for more than 17 years. Judge Murphy's legal career included many Superior Court and U.S. District Court trials and appeals at every level in state and federal courts.  Judge Murphy is actively involved in her community, serving leadership roles in legal and service organizations, and presenting legal educational programs to various classes and groups.  She currently serves on the statewide Civic Learning Council.

Judicial Assistant, Stephanie Foster: or 360-786-5577


Judge Mary Sue Wilson

Judge Mary Sue Wilson was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Thurston County Superior Court and began serving as a superior court judge in October 2014. Judge Wilson presently serves as a trial judge at the court's main campus.  In this assignment, she presides over civil and criminal jury and bench trials, hears civil motions, and presides over a variety of criminal and civil calendars.

Judge Wilson served at Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court from January 2018 until January 2021, including serving as Chief Judge from July 2019 through January 2021. While at Family and Juvenile Court, Judge Wilson presided over family law, juvenile, and dependency trials and presided over the weekly juvenile offender pretrial calendar. She participated in the court's Dependency Transformation project, which developed new court processes aimed at, among other goals, enhancing the court's trauma-informed practices.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Wilson served the people of the State of Washington for over two decades as an assistant attorney general.  In this capacity she represented state agencies and state officials in state and federal trial and appeals courts on a range of statutory, constitutional, and environmental matters.  She also served as chief counsel to three Washington State Department of Ecology directors and as a member of three Attorney's General leadership teams. 

Judge Wilson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1989.  Following graduation, she served as a judicial clerk to former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Robert Brachtenbach.

A native Washingtonian, Judge Wilson has resided in Thurston County for more than thirty years. Judge Wilson currently serves as a board member of the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center. She previously served on the local childcare and school boards, in leadership and youth ministry at her church, as a Judicial Liaison for the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services, and on the Washington Women Lawyers Capitol Chapter board.

Judicial Assistant, Dawn Ward: or 360-786-5563



Judge John C. Skinder

Judge John C. Skinder was elected to the Thurston County Superior Court in 2016.  He began his first term in 2017 and served as a trial judge; in which he presided over criminal and civil jury trials, bench trials, and motion and hearing calendars.  He also heard appeals from administrative agencies.

Judge Skinder currently serves as the Presiding Judge of Thurston County Superior Court.  He also serves as the Chief Criminal Judge and presides over Thurston County's DUI/Drug Court. 

Before his election to the bench, Judge Skinder served the people of the State of Washington as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Thurston County (2000-2016) and as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Lewis County (1997-2000).  He is a former President of the Thurston County Bar Association.

Judge Skinder graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 1996 and graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1992.

Judge Skinder and his wife Angela are actively involved in the community. 

Judicial Assistant, Cecelia Morales: or 360-709-3052


Judge Chris Lanese

Judge Chris Lanese was elected to the Thurston County Superior Court in 2016. Starting in January 2021, Judge Lanese began serving as a Family and Juvenile Court Judge. Previously, he served as a trial judge; in which he presided over criminal and civil jury trials, bench trials, and motion and hearing calendars. He also heard appeals from administrative agencies.

Prior to his election, Judge Lanese served the people of the State of Washington as a Managing Assistant Attorney General, representing clients in complex lawsuits ranging from jury trials in Superior Court to appeals before the Washington Supreme Court. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Judge Lanese worked in private practice, representing clients in intellectual property and business litigation. He has served on the Attorney General Office’s Ethics, Opinions, and Electronic Discovery Committees and the Washington State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics, Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee, and Amicus Committee.

Judge Lanese is active in his community and has served on the boards of the Family Support Center of South Sound, South Sound YMCA, Eastside Cooperative Preschool, Lincoln Elementary School Community Council, Thurston County Bar Association, and Government Lawyers Bar Association. Prior to his election, he engaged in extensive pro bono work representing clients in family law and civil rights matters.

Judge Lanese graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.
Judge Lanese and his wife live in Olympia with their four children.

Judicial Assistant, Stephanie Foster: or 360-786-5577

Judge Sharonda D. Amamilo

Elected in 2020, Judge Amamilo exemplifies unwavering dedication to safeguarding the constitutional rights of every citizen. With a rich tapestry of experiences and a background marked by diversity, she brings an impartial perspective to deliver empathetic justice, particularly to litigants grappling with traumatic backgrounds. Prior to her judicial tenure, she played a pivotal role in catalyzing systemic change during her 12-year tenure at the Thurston County Public Defense office, co-leading transformative initiatives from 2007 to 2019. 

Her educational journey is a testament to her commitment to excellence—earning a bachelor's degree in Adult Education from Southern Illinois University-McChord, AFB ('95), a Master of Business Administration from Saint Martin’s College ('97) in Lacey, WA, and a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law ('03). Furthermore, her distinguished service as a retired Chief Warrant Officer with the U.S. Army Reserves adds a unique layer to her illustrious career.

Judge Amamilo's personality, characterized as an Advocate (INFJ), underscores her innate qualities of relator, learner, connectedness, strategic thinking, and achievement. These strengths shape her approach to delivering justice with a compassionate touch.

Beyond the courtroom, Judge Amamilo actively contributes to addressing systemic challenges in the legal realm. Her involvement in various statewide commissions and workgroups, such as the WA State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, the Joint Legislative Task Force on Jail Standards, the Alternatives to Incarceration Task Force, the Family Well-Being Community Collaborative, and the National Judicial Network: Forum on Human Trafficking and Immigration in State Courts, highlights her commitment to effecting positive change.

Moreover, her community engagement extends to her role as a member of the American Legion Post 94-Lacey, demonstrating her dedication to supporting local veterans. In essence, Judge Amamilo is a true "Servant-Leader-Problem-Solver," embodying the values of justice, service, and leadership in every facet of her impactful career.

Judicial Assistant for Main Campus Matters, Dawn Ward: or 360-786-5563

Judicial Assistant for Family and Juvenile Court Matters, Jacquelin (Jacky) Butcher: or 360-709-3205


Judge Allyson Zipp

Judge Allyson Zipp was appointed to the Thurston County Superior Court bench by Governor Jay Inslee and began serving as a Superior Court Judge in December 2021. Judge Zipp currently serves as a trial judge at the court's main campus. In this assignment, she presides over civil and criminal jury and bench trials, civil and criminal calendars, and administrative appeals.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Zipp practiced law on behalf of the people of the State of Washington at the Attorney General's Office.  There, she represented state agencies, officials, and employees in state and federal trial and appeals courts on a range of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory matters. Her positions included serving as Managing Assistant Attorney General with the Torts Division, Deputy Solicitor General with the Solicitor General's Office, and Assistant Attorney General with the Ecology Division.

Judge Zipp graduated from the University of Washington School of Law. Following graduation, she served as a judicial law clerk to former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst. Prior to her legal career, Judge Zipp had a private sector career as a technology project manager and business analyst. Before that, she worked in laboratories, hospitals, restaurants, and other jobs. Judge Zipp and her wife of twenty-one years live in Thurston County.

Judicial Assistant, Kristine Maine: or 360-786-5557


Judge Anne Egeler

Judge Anne Egeler was appointed to the Thurston County Superior Court bench by Governor Jay Inslee and began serving in January 2023. She currently presides over civil and criminal jury and bench trials and hears civil motions.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Egeler served the people of the State of Washington as a deputy prosecuting attorney for three years. In addition, for nearly 3 decades, Judge Egeler practiced law at the Attorney General's Office. She represented the State in a variety of cases, including actions to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, environmental issues, taxation, education, ballot and voting issues, and criminal law. Judge Egeler's legal career included superior court trials and appeals at every level of the state and federal courts. Judge Egeler also taught appellate advocacy at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Judge Egeler raised her family in Thurston County and is an active member of the community. She volunteered in the public schools and is a past board member of the Olympia Education Foundation. Judge Egeler received the Legacy Award for her many years of service with Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services. She is an active member (and past board member) of the Capital Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers. In recognition of her community involvement, Judge Egeler received the "Local Hero" award from the Washington State Bar Association. 

Judicial Assistant, Kristine Maine: or 360-786-5557


Superior Court Judges at Family & Juvenile Court:

Judge Christine Schaller

Judge Christine Schaller was elected to the Thurston County Superior Court in 2012 and began her service in January 2013. From July 2015 through July 2017, she served as the Chief Judge at Family and Juvenile Court (FJC). She served as Presiding Judge for the Court in 2018 and 2019 and was previously the Drug Court Judge and hearing criminal matters.  She is currently the Chief Judge at Family and Juvenile Court hearing family law matters.

Immediately prior to her election, Judge Schaller served for almost eight years as an FJC Court Commissioner for Thurston County Superior Court. While Court Commissioner, she presided over all types of cases heard at FJC. In 2009, then Commissioner Schaller was named “Jurist of the Year” by the Washington State Bar Association, Family Law Section.

At the start of her legal career in the fall of 1996, Judge Schaller was an associate attorney at the Olympia law firm Foster, Foster and Schaller. Her practice areas focused on family and juvenile law, criminal defense and estate planning and probate. She was a partner with the firm from June 2000 until she was appointed as Court Commissioner in February 2005.

Judicial Assistant, Yvonne Pier: or 360-709-3247


Judge Indu Thomas

Judge Thomas was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Thurston County Superior Court and began serving as a Superior Court Judge on November 1, 2021. Judge Thomas previously served as a trial judge, presiding over civil and criminal jury trials and a variety of pre-trial criminal and civil calendars.  Her current rotation is hearing family law matters and as the Family Recovery and Safe Babies Court Judge.

Prior to her appointment Judge Thomas served as a Superior Court Commissioner from April 2007 – October 2021. In that role she presided over pretrial family law matters; protection order proceedings; juvenile offender matters; youth at risk and truancy cases and involuntary treatment cases on a rotational basis.

As an attorney Judge Thomas served as non-partisan staff counsel to the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. Her areas of responsibility included mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice, public assistance, and child welfare. Judge Thomas served more than 8 years of her career in the courtroom as a litigator. Between 1999 and 2006, Judge Thomas served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Washington State Attorney General's Office and represented the Department of Social and Health Services. Prior to relocating to Thurston County, she served as a public defender with Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons in King County. Judge Thomas completed her undergraduate work in 1991 at Case Western Reserve University. She taught school for a few years in Houston, Texas before heading back to Ohio to complete her education. She graduated from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law in 1996.

Judge Thomas has lived and worked in Thurston County since 1999. She is actively involved in the community having served on several community boards and through many leadership, music, and education ministries at her church. During her time as a judicial officer, she has served on four Superior Court Judges Association Committees: Ethics, Education, Family and Juvenile Law and Therapeutic Courts.  She is currently a member of the Hon. Robert J. Bryan Inn of Court a society for the furtherance of ethics and civility in the law.  Judge Thomas had the privilege of serving as a Dean of the State Judicial College from 2019-2021. 

Judicial Assistant, Sandy Smith: or 360-709-3202


Superior Court Commissioners:

Nathan Kortokrax was appointed as a Court Commissioner to Thurston County Superior Court in May 2017. He currently presides over domestic violence hearings, family law settlement conferences, and dependency settlement conferences at Thurston County Family & Juvenile Court. He also hears criminal matters at Superior Court.

Commissioner Kortokrax is a graduate of the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. Upon moving to Washington in 2006, he practiced law at a small firm in Clark County. He moved to Thurston County in 2008 and worked for local firms where his practice focused primarily on dependency, family law, and Guardian Ad Litem work. Beginning in 2012, he started serving as a pro tem judicial officer for Thurston County. Immediately prior to being appointed to the Thurston County bench, he served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Torts division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

Judicial Assistant, Jacquelin (Jacky) Butcher: or 360-709-3205

Megan Rue was appointed as a Court Commissioner for the Thurston County Superior Court on October 30, 2023.  She currently presides over family and juvenile matters as well as Involuntary Treatment Act Court.

Commissioner Rue previously worked as an Associate Attorney at Morgan Hill, PC, for almost 14 years, initially practicing mostly bankruptcy and within a few years, turning the focus of her practice to primarily family law. She received her Bachelors in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College (2003) and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho College of Law (2009). 

Judicial Assistant: Jacquelin (Jacky) Butcher: or 360-709-3205

Commissioner Rebekah Zinn

Court Commissioner Rebekah Zinn

Rebekah Zinn was appointed as a Court Commissioner for the Thurston County Superior Court in 2019. Before her appointment, she was a staff attorney for the court for nearly a decade, where she primarily supported the trial judges with civil litigation, including complex litigation and cases of significant public importance. For eight years, she also served as a part-time court commissioner.

Previously, Commissioner Zinn was a staff attorney for Division Two of the Washington State Court of Appeals and clerked for the Honorable Christine Quinn-Brintnall. Commissioner Zinn graduated magna cum laude from Seattle University Law School in 2006. She received a B.A. with an English and Philosophy double major, cum laude, from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Commissioner Zinn has devoted her legal career to increasing meaningful access to courts through plain talk and through equitable and accessible court procedures. She is honored to have served as the Chair of the Washington State Pattern Forms Committee for eight years. She is also a graduate of Leadership Thurston County.  Commissioner Zinn regularly teaches the legal community about writing, protection orders, and autism and disability justice. 

In her free time, she enjoys reading voraciously, spoiling her chocolate lab, and indoor rowing. Originally from New Mexico, she has called Olympia home since 2001.

Judicial Assistant, Jacquelin (Jacky) Butcher: or 360-709-3205