Community

Public ceremony will be held later for Superior Court Judge Donald Eaton

From left, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock administers the oath of office to San Juan County Superior Court Judge Donald E. Eaton, March 19. The private ceremony was held in Eaton
From left, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock administers the oath of office to San Juan County Superior Court Judge Donald E. Eaton, March 19. The private ceremony was held in Eaton's chambers. A public ceremony will be held at a later date.
— image credit: Office of Judge Donald E. Eaton

San Juan County Superior Court Judge Donald E. Eaton was sworn in as San Juan County's second-ever Superior Court judge on March 19, in a private ceremony conducted in Eaton’s chambers by Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock.

A public ceremony will be held at a later date.

Eaton's first day in office was March 22. However, it was not his first time on the bench. He served as San Juan County Superior Court commissioner for 26 years, including handling the Juvenile Court calendar for many years. "I am very comfortable being on the bench," Eaton said in a press release.

Eaton was one of four applicants for the appointment to the bench following the death of Judge John O. Linde in December. In response to receiving the highest rating of the four candidates by a San Juan County Bar Association poll in February, Eaton said, "I was honored to have received the approval of my colleagues and feel that my many years of practice in a wide range of legal subjects contributed to their confidence in my ability to handle the many different types of cases that come before a Superior Court judge in our county."

Eaton had three weeks from the time he was told that he had been appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to transition out of his long-time law practice in Friday Harbor, not an easy task given the large number of files that existed after more than 30 years in practice. The transition from busy attorney to busy judge is one that few attorneys experience in their careers.

"I enjoyed my practice as an attorney and am excited to have the opportunity to spend the remainder of my professional career in service as a judge in this community, which means so much to me and my family," Eaton said.

Two of his children, Deja and Kyle, grew up in Friday Harbor and his wife, Shyrl, who served as his legal assistant for more than 30 years, will devote her energy and organizational skills to volunteer projects in the community, something she has long wanted to do.

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