Judge Curtis L. Collier has been selected to receive the prestigious 2015 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Sixth Circuit. The award will be presented May 14, at the Sixth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference in Detroit by Chief Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. and Judge Pamela L. Reeves. Collier is the only the second judge from Tennessee, the second African American and the second District judge to receive the award.
A native of Arkansas, Collier earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Tennessee State University in 1971, where he was an Air Force ROTC scholarship recipient. Collier received his J.D. in 1974 from Duke University.
Collier is a Senior U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and was nominated to the post by President William J. Clinton in 1995. Previously, Collier served as Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Chattanooga Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district.
Collier spent the early part of his career in the office of the U.S. Attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana, eventually rising to become Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Chief of the General Crimes Unit. He was an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Tulane University Law School. He also has taught at the Department of Justice National Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina and at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
He served active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Department, fulfilling various roles at postings in Georgia, the Philippines, and California. Collier litigated approximately 30 cases before Courts-Martial or administrative boards.
Collier is a member of the Justices Ray L. Brock Jr. and Robert E. Cooper American Inn of Court, as well as his respective local, state and national bar associations. He serves on the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Federal Judicial Center’s District Judge Education Advisory Committee.
The American Inns of Court Professionalism Awards are awarded in participating federal circuits, to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice display sterling character, unquestioned integrity, and dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law. The award is presented at the circuit’s judicial conference and recipients will be recognized in October at the 2015 American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States.