Skip to main content

2022 JCMH Summit

This year's Summit was a resounding success with over 1,300 total attendees! Thanks very much to all who joined us in person or online and to the many contributors who made it possible. We hope to see you all in 2023! 

To request continuing education credit for the 2022 Judicial Summit on Mental Health, please complete the Session Recordings Continuing Education Credits Form after viewing the session recordings. You will be emailed a certificate of attendance for the requested sessions. 


This year, we introduced the Whole Body, Whole Mind, Whole Texas Challenge. We encouraged every county in Texas to have at least one representative from their county attend the 2022 Summit. We had registrants from 187 out of Texas's 254 counties, plus registrants from 18 states. 

Welcome from the High Courts:

Hon. Jane Bland, Justice, The Supreme Court of Texas, JCMH Chair

Hon. Jesse F. McClure, III, Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, JCMH Deputy Liaison, on behalf of Hon. Barbara Hervey, Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, JCMH Chair

Mental health care across the United States is plagued by insufficient and inequitable access to effective resources and treatments. To fill these gaps, the Meadows Institute is focusing on behavioral health parity and the integration of behavioral and physical health treatment. To kick off the Summit, Dr. Andy Keller will share the targeted efforts of the Meadows Institute at the national, state, and local levels to improve access to mental health services.

Presented by: 

Andy Keller, Ph.D., President, CEO, and Linda Perryman Evans Presidential Chair, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Join this nation- and state-wide discussion of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Courts. Learn about two Texas AOT Courts and how each program can be adapted to the LMHA’s existing structure while still promoting healing and protecting the client’s due process rights. Lastly, explore the pathways that exist to take a case from the criminal justice system into an AOT court.

Presented by: 

Daniela Chisolm, J.D., AOT Policy Advisor, Treatment Advocacy Center, Attorney ad Litem, El Paso County

Hon. Oscar Kazen, Judge, Probate Court No. 1, Bexar County

Hon. Milton L. Mack, Jr., State Court Administrator Emeritus, Michigan Supreme Court

Prof. Brian Shannon, J.D., Horn Distinguished Professor, Texas Tech University School of Law

Graduating from Judge Kazen’s AOT court changed Eric’s life forever. His time in court helped him to stabilize and recover from bipolar disorder; afterward, he earned a master’s degree in social work and now advocates nationally for others with serious mental illness.

Presented by: 

Eric Smith, MSW, Mental Health Advocate

Become a part of a riveting discussion with Board-certified physician, Dr. Scott LePor, who found life-changing personal and professional success through Trust-Based Relational Intervention, which heals the brains of children with a history of complex developmental trauma.

Presented by: 

Scott LePor, D.O., Medical Director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department

Did you know that the children’s Pixar Movie, Cars, uses the word “crazy” eight times? Mental health slang to describe non-mental health issues is so ingrained into our culture and entertainment that it is no surprise that the stigma of mental health continues. Join Chief Public Defender Joe Stephens as he gives a poignant presentation on the prevalence of stigma and the consequences that follow.

Presented by: 

Joe Stephens, J.D., Chief Public Defender, Concho Valley Public Defender’s Office

Learn how to effectively use pretrial services, personal bonds, bond conditions, and risk assessments to connect justice-involved
individuals to services and address Mental Health and IDD concerns early in their case. 

Presented by: 

Aaron Johnson, Director, Personal Bond, Magistrate Court and Collections, Galveston County

Learn about the right-to-counsel laws in Texas and why the benefits of early assignment of counsel makes a difference in mental health and IDD cases. Discuss how representing a person with mental illness is different from a typical case, and learn how to bring, and pay for, a mental health defender program in your community.

Presented by: 

Kathleen Casey-Gamez, J.D., Senior Policy Analyst, Texas Indigent Defense Commission

Jim Bethke, J.D., Director, Bexar County Managed Assigned Counsel Office

Gain vital knowledge to tackle some of the most complicated criminal- to civil-law questions, including when and how to use court-ordered medications; what to do when a defendant is incompetent but unrestorable; and when and how to use forensic- and civil-commitment laws.

Moderated by:

Kama Harris, J.D., Staff Attorney, Judicial Commission on Mental Health


Hon. Nelda Cacciotti, Judicial Staff Counsel, Mental Health Magistrate, Tarrant County

Chris Lopez, J.D., Assistant General Counsel, Texas HHSC

To reduce the extensive inpatient competency restoration waitlist, HHSC launched the Jail In-Reach Learning Collaborative (JIRLC) to support collaborative and active waitlist monitoring. In this presentation, you will learn about the JIRLC, lessons learned and outcomes from the first cohort, opportunities to engage future cohorts, and have access to new tools developed to support JIRLC participants.


Jennie Simpson, Ph.D., State Forensic Director, Texas HHSC

Felix Torres, M.D., M.B.A., DFAPA, CCHP-MH, Chief of Forensic Medicine, Texas HHSC

The Eliminate the Wait initiative was announced at last year’s Summit; join us as we explore what is in store for year two. This panel will highlight newly launched creative solutions to the inpatient competency restoration crisis including ideas specifically for rural communities.


Kristi Taylor, J.D., Executive Director, Judicial Commission on Mental Health


Catherine Bialick, MPAff, Senior Advisor, Office of State Forensic Director, Texas HHSC

Colleen Davis, J.D., First Assistant, Burnet County Attorney’s Office

Adrienne Kennedy, M.A., Past NAMI President; NAMI Board Member

To meet the growing demands for the peer specialist workforce, Via Hope has expanded high-quality professional training programs in Texas with certified Reentry Peer Specialist and Registered Apprenticeship Program. Join us in this session to learn more about the benefits of this training and curriculum, which was recently approved by the National Mental Health of America.

Presented by: 

Sandra Smith, Ph.D., Peer Programs Manager and Consultant, Via Hope

Come learn about a new innovative practice--an Individualized-Disposition Docket--which admits individuals who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, charged with a nonviolent criminal offense, found incompetent and unrestorable, and have been civilly committed to the State Supported Living Centers.

Presented by:

Staci Biggar, J.D., Biggar Law Firm, L.L.C., Houston, Texas

Hon. Mark Kent Ellis, Co-Presiding Judge for Mental Health/IDD docket

Nicole Hawk, LMSW, Continuity of Services Coordinator, Texas HHSC

Erica Robinson-Winsor, J.D., Harris County Assistant District Attorney, Mental Health Division

What is Outpatient Competency Restoration (OCR) and Jail Based
Competency Restoration (JBCR)? What benefit can these programs provide to my county? This panel will share the challenges and successes of multiple OCR and JBCR programs from three Texas local mental health authorities.

Presented by: 

Jonathan Lemuel, Director of Forensic Services, Bluebonnet Trails Community Services

Michele Oncken, J.D., Division Chief, Mental Health and Child Fatality Division, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Krystin Holmes, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, NCC, Program Manager, Jail Based Competency Restoration Program and Competency Restoration Assessment Unit

After being told as a child that she was in TYC because she had no soul, Jennifer’s mental health concerns went unsupported for 27 years as she cycled through the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. While stigma set this course in motion, person-centered practices, peer support, and trauma-informed approaches helped Jennifer build resilience and change the trajectory of her life. 

Presented by:

Jennifer Toon, Mental Health Peer Policy Fellow, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities

Tune in for an important update on the groundbreaking work of Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium and how it is changing the landscape of children’s mental health in Texas.

Presented by: 

Luanne Southern, MSW, Executive Director, Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, University of Texas System

FAPE, 504, IEP, ARD, BIP, FIE, IDEA: What are these acronyms and why are they relevant in the courtroom? Join this panel for a discussion on identification procedures and access to services that schools are required to provide for students, available community services and resources, and why they are relevant in a juvenile, family, or CPS court proceeding.

Presented by:

Sarah Beebe, J.D., Supervising Attorney, Disability Rights Texas

Angelita Hunter, Court Supervisor, City of McKinney Municipal Court

Kristin McGuire, M.P.A., Senior Director, Special Education Programs and Policy, Texas Education Agency

Josette Saxton, MSSW, Director of MH Policy, Texans Care for Children

This community-based program serves youth who have been charged with misdemeanor offenses that involve some disruption in the family unit. The FIRST approach focuses on both the juvenile and the family to help address the root causes by equipping the whole family with the coping and communication skills necessary to avoid future criminal justice involvement.

Presented by:

Wayne Young, M.B.A., LPC, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

Arianna Mellinger, Youth Peer Support Specialist, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

Henry Gonzales, M.C.J., Executive Director, Harris County Juvenile Probation Department

John Jordan, J.D., Juvenile Division Chief, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Young children, especially those in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, often need help to build the resilience that they need to overcome obstacles and adversities that they will encounter throughout their lives. These children need to increase their strength to manage the challenges that they will face as adolescents and adults. By starting early with young children, parents, providers, and community supports can work to build the resilience of our most vulnerable youth.

Presented by:

Connie Almeida, Ph. D., Director, Department of Behavioral Health Services, Fort Bend County

Join the discussion of best practices for collaborative efforts between defense and prosecution of children who are referred to juvenile court, as well as strategies for using evidence of mental health and IDD in juvenile delinquency cases and trials.

Presented by:

Kameron Johnson, J.D., Chief Juvenile Public Defender, Travis County Public Defender’s Office

Riley Shaw, J.D., Criminal Division Deputy Chief, Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office

The Handle with Care Program assists law enforcement officers in proactively identifying students who have witnessed potentially traumatic events that may lead to academic, behavioral, or school attendance-related issues in order to connect the student and family with appropriate interventions.

Presented by:

Marisa Nowitz, MSW, LCSW-S, Senior Director of School & Community Engagement, The Trauma and Grief Center at The Hackett Center for Mental Health

A.J. Williams, Lieutenant, Traffic Investigations Unit, Handle with Care Coordinator, Fort Worth Police Department

Thomas Dromgoole, Team Lead, Full Stack Development, Education Service Center, Region 11

Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to poor health outcomes, substance use, problematic behaviors, and other poor outcomes. Panelists will share how, by incorporating trauma-informed practices into their juvenile courts and juvenile probation departments, they promoted healing, decreased recidivism, and minimized the use of out-of-home placements.


Molly Davis, J.D., Staff Attorney, Judicial Commission on Mental Health


Hon. Stacey Mathews, Judge, 277th District Court, Williamson County

Matt Smith, MPC, LPC-S, JPO, Assistant Executive Director, Williamson County Juvenile Services

Greg Sumpter, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Grayson County Juvenile Services

Discover what judges need to know when ruling on decision-making supports for people with IDD. The panel will share educational
resources, examine critical legal considerations and processes, and promote person-centered practices.


Clair Benitez, M.A., Director of Disability Services Coordination, Texas HHSC


Kent Allen, Manager, IDD Services Training and Curriculum Development Unit, Texas HHSC

Cicely Reid, J.D., M.B.A., Senior Staff Attorney, Pro-Bono Coordinator, Disability Rights Texas

Teresa “TK” Reynolds, Regional Operations Manager, Office of Guardianship, Texas HHSC

This informative presentation will examine the unique needs of justice-involved individuals from youth to adulthood. It includes family-centered practices that drive family dynamics resulting in judicial involvement and how these practices have a profound effect on the trajectory of a person’s life.


De'Borah Jones, M.A., Vice-President, On Point Reentry Consortium


Mary Moran, Master Instructor Reentry Workforce Development Specialist, President, On Point Reentry Consortium

Frankie Torres, Treasurer, On Point Reentry Consortium

Mental Health Courts are collaborative, problem-solving courts that can change lives. This panel features three seasoned mental health court judges who started adult and juvenile mental health courts and dockets on shoestring budgets. Bring your most basic questions or your most difficult issues!

Presented by:

Hon. Elizabeth Leonard, Judge, 238th District Court, Midland County

Hon. Cyndi Wheless, Judge, 417th District Court, Collin County

Hon. Camile DuBose, Judge, 38th District Court, Uvalde & Real Counties

Attorney Terry Bentley Hill will share how substance-use disorders and mental illness changed her life and led her to devote her career to representing defendants experiencing mental health challenges and helping end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Presented by:

Terry Bentley Hill, J.D., Attorney and Counselor at Law, The Law Office of Terry Bentley Hill

Enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and hear updates from the Office of Court Administration’s Administrative Director as she describes what OCA is doing to comply with Senate Bill 6 and help Texas counties achieve the intended goals of the statute.

Presented by:

Megan LaVoie, J.D., Executive Director, Texas Office of Court Administration, Texas Judicial Council

Judge John Specia will close out the Summit with themes from the past three days and sage advice from a Senior District Judge and the JCMH Jurist-in-Residence.

Hon. John J. Specia, Jurist-in-Residence, Judicial Commission on Mental Health