Arizona’s First Black Chief Judge

Chief Judge Raner C. Collins became the first African-American federal judge to lead the federal court in Arizona earlier this month.  He succeeds Judge Roslyn O. Silver, who was the first woman named chief judge of the Arizona federal courts.

He heads one of the busiest federal courts in the country because the number of illegal immigration and drug smuggling cases filed in Arizona, due to its location along the border with Mexico.

The court is currently authorized to have 13 judgeships but six are vacant.  Last week the President nominated four people to fill the six openings.

Chief Judge Collins is one of two African-Americans on the Arizona court.  The other is Judge Glenda Edmonds.

Collins began his career in the Pima County Attorney’s Office has a law clerk and trial attorney from 1975 to 1081 and as county attorney from 1983 to 1985.  He served as a magistrate in the Tucson City Court from 1981 to 1983 and a judge in the Pima County Superior Court from 1985 to 1998.

Collins was born in Malvern, Arkansas and received his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law and his undergraduate degree from ArkansasPolytechnicCollege.


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