Judge Collins Seeks Reelection Despite Looming Retirement

Circuit Judge Robert Collins Jr. is running for reelection despite facing mandatory retirement in two years, citing concerns about multiple new judges on the bench. A public forum will be held on April 19 for voters to hear from Collins and his opponent, as well as candidates for the open Position 5 seat.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Judge Collins Seeks Reelection Despite Looming Retirement

Judge Collins Seeks Reelection Despite Looming Retirement

Circuit Judge Robert Collins Jr. is running for reelection to Position 1 in Oregon's 6th Judicial District, which covers Umatilla and Morrow counties, even though he faces mandatory retirement in just two years at the age of 75. Collins believes now is not the right time for voters to elect more than one new judge to the bench, with four candidates already vying for the open Position 5 seat.

Why this matters: The outcome of this election will have a lasting impact on the composition of the court, shaping the judicial landscape in northeastern Oregon for years to come. Furthermore, the decision could influence the administration of justice in the region, affecting the lives of countless individuals and communities.

In a statement, Judge Collins said, "Now is not the time for voters in Umatilla and Morrow counties to elect more than one new judge to the bench." His opponent in the Position 1 race is Thomas Creasing, who currently serves as the municipal judge for Irrigon.

The Position 5 seat is being vacated by the retiring Judge Dan Hill. Governor Tina Kotek appointed Judge Joanna Marikos to fill the position in 2023, and she is now running to keep the seat. Marikos faces challenges from three other candidates: John Ballard, Jameson Hayes, and Jill Weygandt.

To give voters a chance to hear from the candidates, the local Bar Association is hosting a public forum this Friday, April 19, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. This will be the first in a series of forums planned by the Bar Association, with subsequent events to be held in other communities like Boardman before ballots are mailed out on May 1 for the May 21 primary election.

The 6th Judicial District encompasses a large swath of northeastern Oregon, including the cities of Pendleton, Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield, Heppner, Boardman, and Echo. Judges in the district hear a wide range of civil and criminal cases. The outcome of these judicial elections will shape the composition of the court for years to come, even with Judge Collins' impending retirement.

Key Takeaways

  • Judge Robert Collins Jr. runs for reelection despite facing mandatory retirement in 2 years.
  • Collins cites concern about electing multiple new judges, with 4 candidates vying for Position 5.
  • The election outcome will shape the court's composition and impact justice in northeastern Oregon.
  • A public forum will be held on April 19 for voters to question circuit court judge candidates.
  • The 6th Judicial District covers Umatilla and Morrow counties, with judges hearing civil and criminal cases.