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Clinton County Courts

Since 1952, Clinton County has comprised the entire twenty-fifth judicial district of Pennsylvania. Prior to 1952, it shared its judicial districts with two or more other counties. In 1839, when Clinton County was formed, it was part of the fourth judicial district along with five other counties. Over the next fifteen years, a number of reorganizations of Pennsylvania judicial districts took place reflecting the changes in county lines and the creation of new counties that were taking place in the mid-nineteenth century in Pennsylvania. The following reflects the different judicial districts in which Clinton County has existed since 1839 together with other counties that were a part of that district.

   From 1839 to 1842 Clinton County was part of the fourth judicial district with Centre, Clearfield, Bedford, Mifflin, and Huntingdon Counties. From 1842 to 1851 Clinton County was part of the fourth judicial district with Centre and Clearfield Counties. From 1851 to 1853 Clinton County was part of the eighth judicial district with Centre, Lycoming and Northumberland Counties. From 1853 to 1883 Clinton County was part of the twenty fifth judicial district with Centre and Clearfield Counties. From 1883 to 1952 Clinton County was part of the twenty fifth judicial district with Cameron and Elk Counties. From 1952 to present Clinton County is the twenty fifth judicial district by itself.

   The first session of court held in Clinton County was presided over by Judge Thomas Burnside on December 16, 1839. It was held in Lock Haven at Barker's Tavern, a two story frame building on Water Street above the canal. At that time Judge Burnside was assisted by two associates, John Fleming and George Crawford. Three years later in 1842, the first courthouse for Clinton County was build in Lock Haven on the site of the present Robb School on East Church Street. This building soon proved to be inadequate in size, and a new courthouse was erected at a cost of $93,000. That building is still in use today. President Judge Charles A. Mayer presided at the dedication of this new court house on February 8, 1869.

   The County's first two president judges, Thomas Burnside and George W. Woodward, were later elevated to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with Judge Woodward attaining the status of Chief Justice.

As a result of these numerous judicial district reorganizations, Clinton County was to see nine different judges in the first thirty years of the County's existence; in contrast the County saw only seven judges over the next one hundred years. The longest term of the President Judge belongs to Charles A. Mayer, who served more than thirty seven years from January 1869 until his death on May 18, 1906.

The following is a chronological listing of the different judges who have served Clinton County since 1839.

From 1839 to 1841 the President Judge was Thomas Burnside from Bellefonte.
From 1841 to 1851 the President Judge was George W. Woodward from Wilkes-Barre.
From 1851 to 1851 the President Judge was James T. Hale from parts unknown.
From 1851 to 1852 the President Judge was James Pollock form Milton.
From 1852 to 1853 the President Judge was Alexander Jordan from Milton.
From 1853 to 1856 the President Judge was James Burnside from Bellefonte.
From 1856 to 1859 the President Judge was James Gamble from Jersey Shore.
From 1859 to 1868 the President Judge was Samuel Linn from Bellefonte.
From 1868 to 1869 the President Judge was Joseph Benson McEnally from Clearfield.
From 1869 to 1906 the President Judge was Charles A. Mayer from Lock Haven
From 1906 to 1907 the President Judge was B. W. Green from Emporium.
From 1907 to 1917 the President Judge was Harry Alvin Hall from Ridgeway.
From 1917 to 1921 the President Judge was Robert McCormick from Lock Haven.
From 1921 to 1939 the President Judge was E. H. Baird from Ridgeway.
From 1939 to 1952 the President Judge was Henry Hipple from Lock Haven.
From 1952 to 1974 the President Judge was Abraham H. Lipez from Lock Haven.
From 1974 to 1992 the President Judge was Carson V. Brown from Lock Haven.
From 1992 to 1994 the Judge was Richard N. Saxton, Jr. from Lock Haven.
From 1994 to 2008 the President Judge was Richard N. Saxton, Jr. from Lock Haven.
From 1994 to 2008 the Judge was J. Michael Williamson from Lock Haven.
From 2008 to 2013 the President Judge was J. Michael Williamson from Lock Haven.
From 2008 to 2013 the Judge is Craig P. Miller from Lock Haven.
From 2013 to Present the President Judge is Craig P. Miller from Lock Haven.
From 2014 to Present the Judge is Michael F. Salisbury from Beech Creek/Blanchard.

Historical Notes Compiled by the Honorable Carson V. Brown


Judicial Biographies

J. Michael Williamson (Senior Judge)

Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1942; the son of John G. and Elizabeth Lubrecht Williamson both lifetime residents of Clinton County.

Education: The Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania - 1960; Yale University (B.A. 1964); University of Virginia Law School (L.L. 1967).

Professional Career: Senior Partner in the firm of Williamson, Coploff, Hanna & Ryan, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. District Attorney of Clinton County 1973 to 1979. Solicitor for Clinton County Solid Waste Authority, Susque-View Home and numerous boroughs, townships and municipal authorities.

Elected Judge, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, January 1994.

Judge Williamson's Staff:

Secretary: Carol Miller (570) 893-4014 (570) 893-4126 Fax


Craig P. Miller (President Judge)

Born in Renovo, Pennsylvania on August 8, 1958; admitted to the Bar 1983, Pennsylvania and U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Education:  Lock Haven University (B.A. 1980); Dickinson School of Law (J.D. 1983).

Professional Career:  Law Clerk to the Honorable Carson V. Brown, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County 1983 to 1985; Assistant District Attorney, Clinton County 1985; Public Defender, Clinton County 1985 to 2008; and member of the Clinton County Bar Association (President - 2004 to 2005) and Pennsylvania Bar Association; and past member of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association

Elected Judge, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, January 2008.

Judge Miller's Staff:

Secretary:  Lisa R. Tasselli (570) 893-4013, (570) 893-4126 (fax)

Court Reporter: Jason Williamson (570) 893-4128


Michael F. Salisbury (Judge)

Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania on February, 19, 1957; admitted to the Bar 1982, Pennsylvania and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Education:  Lock Haven High School 1975; Juniata College (B.A. 1979); Delaware Law School of Widener University (J.D. 1982).

Professional Career:  General practice of law 1982-2008; forms of Lee H. Roberts; Rosamilia and O'Connor; Rosamilia, O'Connor and Salisbury; McKnight, O'Connor and Salisbury; O'Conner and Salisbury; part-time Public Defender for Clinton County; part-time Assistant District Attorney for Clinton County; and full-time Clinton County District Attorney 2008 through 2014.

Elected Judge, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, January 2014.

Judge Salisbury's Staff:

Secretary:  Ginger Pizzuto (570) 893-4598, (570) 893-4145 (fax)

Court Reporter: Maureen Pritchard (570) 893-4015


Richard N. Saxton, Jr. (Senior Judge)

Born in Renovo, Pennsylvania on December 2, 1937; admitted to the Bar 1966, Pennsylvania and U. S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Education: Lock Haven University (B.S. 1962); Dickinson School of Law (J.D. 1966).

Professional Career: Public Defender, Clinton County 1968 to 1972; Assistant Public Defender, Clinton County 1977, 1988 to 1991. District Attorney, Clinton County 1972 to 1973; and Assistant District Attorney 1985 to 1988. Member of Clinton County Bar Association (President from 1977 to 1979) and Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Elected Judge, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, January, 1992.


Carson V. Brown (Senior Judge)

Born in Manns Choice, Bedford County, Pennsylvania on May 29, 1938; the son of Victor L. and Sara K. Merringer Brown.

Education: Lock Haven University (B.S. 1963); Dickinson School of Law (J.D. 1966); National College of State Judiciary (University of Nevada) 1973.

Professional Organizations: Clinton County, Pennsylvania, American Bar Association; Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges; National Conference of State Judges; Pennsylvania Council of Juvenile Court Judges, American Judicature Society.

Professional Career: Elected Judge, Court of Common Pleas, January 1974, retained for second term 1984; Retired January 1994.


Court Administrator and Assistant Staff:

Court Administrator: Miles D. Kessinger III 
Assistant Court Administrator:  Judy Coder