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Legislative Research Committee

The Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have a strong interest in studying the organization and practices of the Texas Judicial Branch related to behavioral and mental health needs of individuals before the courts. On October 1, 2019, the two highest Courts in the state ordered the creation of the Legislative Research Committee (LRC), to make relevant recommendations to the Texas Judicial Council. The current JCMH Legislative Research Committee now represents two task forces appointed in 2019. One task force was chaired by Justice Bill Boyce and the other was led by Judge Brent Carr. The work of the two task forces was submitted to the Texas Judicial Council and unanimously approved to be included in the Texas Judicial Council’s Criminal Justice Committee’s 2020 Report and Recommendations to the Legislature. In the 2021 regular legislative session, 10 of the 16 JCMH proposals were entered into law; in the 2023 regular session, 6 of 12 JCMH proposals were entered into law. 

  • Hon. Bill Boyce, Chair
    Partner, Alexander Dubose Jefferson
    Justice, 14th Court of Appeals (Fmr.)
  • Hon. Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt
    Judge, 449th District Court, Hidalgo County
  • Dr. Virginia Brown
    Assistant Professor, Dept. of Population Health, Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin
  • Sonja Burns
    Mental Health Advocate
  • Hon. Nelda Cacciotti
    Assistant Criminal District Attorney – Mental Health, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office
  • Hon. Brent Carr
    JCMH Jurist-in-Residence
    Judge, Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 9 (Ret.)
  • Alycia Castillo
    Director of Policy and Advocacy, Texas Center for Justice & Equity
  • Hon. Danny Dominguez
    Judge, Justice of the Peace Pct. 2, Webb County
  • Hon. Camile DuBose
    Judge, 38th District Court, Uvalde County
  • Sergeant Shawn Edwards
    Training Coordinator, Crisis Intervention Unit #920, Burleson County Sheriff's Office
  • Dr. Melissa Eshelman
    Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Dell Medical School
  • Hon. Drue Farmer
    Board Chair, StarCare Lubbock
  • Alyse Ferguson
    Of Counsel, Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian
  • Sara Gonzalez
    Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, Texas Hospital Association
  • Dr. Robert Greenberg
    Emergency Medicine Physician, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center
  • Dr. Courtney Harvey
    Chief of Government Relations, Texas Council of Community Centers
  • Hon. Guy Herman
    Judge, Travis County Probate Court No. 1
  • Sen. Joan Huffman
    Texas State Senator
  • Trina Ita
    Associate Commissioner, Medical & Social Services Division, Behavioral Health Services, HHSC
  • Hon. Dave Jahn
    Judge, Denton County Probate Court No. 1
  • Lee Johnson
    Chief Executive Officer, Texas Council of Community Centers, Inc.
  • Windy Johnson
    Program Manager, Texas Conference of Urban Counties
  • Louise Joy
    Attorney, Joy & Young, LLP
  • Dr. Andrew Keller
    President and CEO, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
  • Hon. Evelyn Keyes
    (Ret.) Justice, 1st Court of Appeals
  • Ashley Kintzer
    Manager of Regionalization and County Grants, Texas Juvenile Justice Department
  • Megan LaVoie
    Administrative Director for the Texas Office of Court Administration
  • Chief Mike Lee
    Chief Deputy, Harris County Sheriff’s Office
  • Scott LePor
    Medical Director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department
  • Hon. Pam Liston
    Senior Attorney, Messer Fort, PLLC
  • Chris Lopez
    Assistant General Counsel, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Matthew Lovitt
    Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Forensic Coordination, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Mike Lozito
    Judicial Services Director, Bexar County
  • Hon. Stacey Mathews
    Judge, 277th District Court, Williamson County
  • Beth Mitchell
    Litigation Coordinator, Disability Rights Texas
  • Rep. Joe Moody
    Texas House of Representatives
  • Hon. Roxanne Nelson
    Judge, Burnet County Justice Court, Pct. 1
  • Denise Oncken
    Bureau Chief, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Mental Health Bureau
  • Angela Ott
    Policy Fellow, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
  • Hon. Larry Phillips
    Judge, 59th District Court, Grayson County
  • Hon. Robin Ramsay
    Judge, Denton County Magistrate Court
  • Janis Reinken
    Former Chief Clerk, House Committee on Corrections
  • Prof. Brian Shannon
    Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, Texas Tech University School of Law
  • Melissa Shearer
    Director, Travis County Mental Health Public Defender's Office
  • Dr. Jennie Simpson
    Forensic Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Hon. John Specia, Jr.
    JCMH Jurist-in-Residence
    Judge, 255th District Court (Ret.)
  • Hon. Polly Jackson Spencer
    Judge, Bexar County Probate Court, No. 1 (Ret.)
  • Hon. Charles Stephens
    Judge, Comal County Court at Law, No. 2
  • Hon. Ryan Kellus Turner
    Executive Director, Texas Municipal Courts Education Center
  • Julie Wayman
    Mental and Behavioral Health Manager, Interagency Liaison, Texas Education Agency
  • Hon. Cynthia Wheless
    Judge, 417th District Court, Collin County
  • Hon. Deborah Wigington
    Judge, Comal County Court at Law #3
  • Steve Wohleb
    Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Texas Hospital Association

Updated January 2024