Judge John L. Collins was appointed Circuit Judge in September 1992 and elected to the position 5 times. He has served as a pro tem Judge on the Court of Appeals, for several other counties and for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. He served as president of the Oregon Circuit Judges Association in 2000.
Judge Collins has served as Chair of the Oregon Judicial Education committee and several other Judicial Department working groups. He served on the State Commission on Public Safety in 2013. He is a graduate of the National Judicial Leadership Institute.
From 1998 through 2015, Judge Collins served as Presiding Judge for Yamhill County. In August 2005 Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr. presented the Chief Justice's Juvenile Court Champion Award to Judge Collins, in recognition and appreciation for leadership in raising the profile and priority of child abuse and neglect cases in Oregon, and for his participation in the Juvenile Court Improvement Project. He received a National Leadership Award presented by the Attorney General of the United States in 2001. He was awarded the Yamhill County Bar Association’s Bob Payne Award for Public Service in 2010.
Judge Collins, in 1998, started what is now one of the oldest Drug Courts in Oregon. He has been supportive of other “problem solving courts” and evidence-based sentencing practices that enhance public safety, promote accountability and foster just and timely outcomes in criminal cases. He led improvements in domestic relations mediation, jury service, CASA program, family law, case flow management, collections and other areas. He has chaired the local Evidence-Based Decision Making Policy Board, a collaborative effort of criminal justice leaders and behavioral health agencies. He has promoted improved pretrial justice practices and recidivism reduction through smarter sentencing practices.
Before election to his judicial position Judge Collins was the District Attorney for Yamhill County, serving from January 1976 until September 1992. He was president of the Oregon District Attorney's Association in 1983. He served on the Board of Directors for the National District Attorney's Association from 1985 to 1992. As a DA, he was an instructor for the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, the National College of District
Attorneys and the Oregon Department of Justice Institute. In the 1980s he was Chair of the local Henderson House Board of Directors which provides shelter and counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and in 1981 received the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for public service. Prior to being DA, he served for a brief period as a defense attorney with the Metropolitan Public Defenders office in Portland. Prior to that he served as director of community corrections for Polk, Yamhill and Marion counties when those organizations were a mid-Willamette Valley consortium.
Judge Collins received his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University, his Doctor of Jurisprudence law degree from Willamette University and a Masters of Law degree in Criminal Justice from New York University.