Members
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Commissioner Steve Radack
Commissioners Court Representative
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Commissioner Steve Radack
Commissioners Court Representative
Steve Radack has devoted over forty years to serving the community. After eleven years with the Houston Police Department, he was elected to the position of Harris County Constable – Precinct Five in 1984. In 1988, he was elected to the first of eight terms as Harris County Commissioner – Precinct Three.

During his over twenty-nine years as County Commissioner, Steve has made it a priority to develop, maintain, and enhance quality parks and trails, facilities, and services for the residents of Precinct Three and Harris County.

Steve is married to Sherry Radack, Chief Justice of the First Court of Appeals. Steve and Sherry are the proud parents of four sons and five grandchildren. They attend St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church.
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Kelvin Banks
Director, Pretrial Services
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Kelvin Banks
Director, Pretrial Services
Kelvin was appointed as the Director of Pretrial Services for Harris County on Oct. 1, 2016. He leads his staff to adhere to local, state and national pretrial standards.

The mission of Pretrial Services is to provide accurate and timely information to assist the Judicial Officers in Harris County with making informed pretrial release decisions and to monitor defendants released on bond to promote compliance with court orders, court appearances, and to support public safety.

Kelvin was previously the Director of Pretrial Services for The Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan in Detroit (Wayne County) from July of 2013 until September of 2016. He was also employed by the Third Circuit Court as a Clinical Probation Officer. He worked in this capacity from 2000 until 2013. His responsibilities were to supervise adjudicated defendants in the County of Wayne. He has also been employed as a Probation Officer at the Twenty-Ninth Circuit Court of Michigan (Gratiot County).

In the fall of 2018, Kelvin will begin a Doctorate of Social Work program at the University of Southern California. In May of 2012, Kelvin completed a Masters in Social Work at Wayne State
University. He received a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management & Leadership from the University of Phoenix in July of 2005. He also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University in December of 1999.

Kelvin was inducted into the Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice Wall of Fame in 2015 for his distinguished-efforts in the field.
Kelvin has been married to Paulette A. Banks since 1996. They have six beautiful daughters. They enjoy spending quality time together as a family.
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Henry Gonzales
Executive Director, Juvenile Probation
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Henry Gonzales
Executive Director, Juvenile Probation
Henry has been with Harris County for more than 30 years. He started his career here with Pre-Trial Services and began his tenure with Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) as a diversion officer in the intake division. He eventually moved to the field services division of the department as a field officer, gang liaison and resource-training officer. As administrator in this division, he managed a specialized unit that included enhanced supervision programs such as a community-based Special Needs/Mental Health Diversionary Program, aftercare and gang and sex offender supervision units. Henry is engaged in the communities he works in and has served on various boards and advisory committees, including the school board of a local charter school. Henry used this experience in his role as the Deputy Director of the department’s Education Services Division, which is responsible for the department’s Excel Academy Charter School campuses and the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program. In 2010, Henry became the Assistant Executive Director of HCJPD. He was appointed Executive Director in 2018.
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Alex Bunin
Chief Public Defender
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Alex Bunin
Chief Public Defender
Alex Bunin is the Chief Public Defender for Harris County, Texas, an office he established in 2010. Previously, he was the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York. In 1999, he was appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to establish Federal Public Defender offices in the Districts of Northern New York and Vermont and he was twice reappointed to additional four-year terms. In 1995, before relocating to New York, he established and managed the federal defender organization in the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile. From 1993 to 1995, he was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont. From 1986 to 1993, he was in private practice in Houston, Texas. He earned Board Certification in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In over 30 years as a criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Bunin has tried many cases, including federal capital murder and complex white collar fraud. He received the Champion of Public Defense Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Thurgood Marshall Award for capital litigation from the New York City Bar Association and the Torch of Liberty Award from the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. He was an Adjunct Professor at Albany Law School of Union University from 2003-10. He sits on the Advisory Board of THE CHAMPION magazine and the CRIMINAL JUSTICE MAGAZINE of the American Bar Association. He served on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Board of Directors (2012-15), Executive Committee (2013-14), and committees on Federal Rules, Forensic Sciences, and Fourth Amendment Advocacy. He is Vice-Chair of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Public Defender Committee and a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. As well as having written law review articles on federal sentencing and the death penalty, he is co-author of O’CONNOR’S FEDERAL CRIMINAL RULES & CODES (Jones McClure 2016).
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Marilyn Burgess
District Clerk
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Marilyn Burgess
District Clerk
Marilyn Burgess is the Harris County District Clerk. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over thirty years of experience bringing fiscal responsibility and exceptional organizational skills to public and private organizations. She ran on a platform dedicated to modernizing the jury system by going all electronic, increasing juror diversity, reforming the bail system, and decreasing waste and inefficiencies in the District Clerk’s office to ensure a living wage for the hardworking professionals that staff it.

Marilyn graduated from Louisiana State University with an accounting degree that launched a successful career in business, which has included serving as the president of the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Financial Officer at a family-owned local company. It was during her work as the Executive Director of the Texas Parent Teachers Association (PTA) that she found her true calling: fighting and advocating for causes that better the lives of teachers, working- and middle-class families, single mothers, and children.

As District Clerk, Marilyn oversees a budget of $36 million and a staff of approximately 600 individuals, a responsibility to her constituents she takes seriously. Marilyn now brings her seasoned, measured, smart leadership to the District Clerk’s office, where she will work to fulfil her campaign promises to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, increase community participation, and fairly compensate the employees.


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Ed Gonzalez
Sheriff
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Ed Gonzalez
Sheriff
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a lifelong Houstonian, was elected on November 8, 2016 as the Sheriff of Harris County. On January 1, 2017, Gonzalez became the 30th Sheriff of Harris County, Texas.

Sheriff Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and went on to serve 18 years in the Houston Police Department. Sheriff Gonzalez started out as a civilian employee and became a police officer, rising through the ranks to Sergeant. He served on the elite hostage negotiation team and was assigned to the Homicide Division as an investigator.

After retiring from the Houston Police Department in 2009, Sheriff Gonzalez served three terms on the Houston City Council representing District H. He was elected by his peers in 2010 to serve as Vice Mayor Pro-Tem and was appointed Mayor Pro-Tem in 2012 by Mayor Annise Parker.

Sheriff Gonzalez chaired the council’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee. Sheriff Gonzalez resorted to the core of his law enforcement background and experience to improve public safety and neighborhood protection – breaking new ground with initiatives to protect vulnerable seniors from elder abuse, expand the fight against human trafficking, reduce the public safety risks of stray animals, protect cyclists and pedestrians on city streets and protect online buyers and sellers from predators.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is the largest Sheriff Office in the State of Texas, and the third largest nationwide. Sheriff Gonzalez leads upwards of 5,000 employees to protect the County’s 4.5 million residents within the 1,700 square miles of Harris County
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Judge Shannon Baldwin
Administrative Judge, Statutory County Courts
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Judge Shannon Baldwin
Administrative Judge, Statutory County Courts
In November 2018, Judge Shannon Baldwin was elected to serve as judge for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 4 and took the bench on January 1, 2019. She was selected as the Administrative Judge for the Statutory County Courts.

Judge Baldwin joined the U.S. Army Reserves on September 23, 1987. When she graduated from college, she was commissioned as an officer, 2nd Lieutenant. Judge Baldwin earned her Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement and Police Science at Sam Houston State University. She received her law degree Cum Laude from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Judge Baldwin has practiced law for over 22 years. She is licensed in Georgia and Texas. She practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia for four years before returning to Texas. She is a former prosecutor and opened her law practice in Texas in 2003. She has tried cases before a jury from traffic violations up to capital murder.

Judge Baldwin is an active member of several professional organizations and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Judge Baldwin is a wife and a foster mother.

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Judge Lincoln Goodwin
Presiding Judge, Justice of the Peace Courts
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Judge Lincoln Goodwin
Presiding Judge, Justice of the Peace Courts
Judge Goodwin earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor University in 1994 before earning his law degree at the Texas Tech University School of Law in 1998. He was admitted to the Texas State Bar in 1998. While at Texas Tech, he served as President of the Student Bar Association and as a member of both the Law School Honor Council and the Texas Tech University Disciplinary Committee. Judge Goodwin also founded the Susan Fortney Award for Ethics, an annual award presented to the Texas Tech law student who most exemplifies the honor and integrity required of the legal profession.

Following Law school, Judge Goodwin served for two years as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings in the Northern District of Texas. After completing his clerkship, he returned to his hometown of Houston where he handled litigation matters for several Fortune 500 companies at a large national law firm. He then worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston. After leaving the District Attorney’s Office, Judge Goodwin was a senior attorney with the Lanier Law Firm representing clients in a variety of civil litigation matters.

Originally from Laramie, Wyoming, Judge Goodwin has lived in Texas since 1982. He lives in Precinct 4 with his wife and is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He serves as a deacon at Houston’s First Baptist Church. Judge Goodwin runs a marathon every year and has completed an Ironman Triathlon.

Judge Lincoln Goodwin was unanimously appointed by Commissioners Court to serve as the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 1 on December 16, 2014. Precinct 4, Place 1 is one of the largest Justice of the Peace Courts in the State of Texas with annual case filings of over 100,000.

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Dr. Teresa May
Director, Community Supervision and Corrections
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Dr. Teresa May
Director, Community Supervision and Corrections
Dr. May was appointed Director of the Harris County CSCD in 2013. She has over twenty years of experience in criminal justice and currently oversees the 3rd largest Community Supervision Department in the country.

She has worked extensively in the development, operation, and implementation of a number of evidence-based treatment programs and two comprehensive assessment centers for criminal justice involved individuals. In collaboration with Dr. Brian Lovins, Dr. May led the statewide initiative to adopt, validate, and implement the Texas Community Supervision Risk Assessment tool currently used across the State of Texas.

Dr. May serves on numerous local and state committees and provides testimony regarding policy and funding issues related to criminal justice programs to the Texas State Legislature.

Dr. May received her Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University (SMU) and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Texas. Prior to serving in administrative roles, Dr. May provided forensic assessment and treatment services for the Court system and taught personality, forensic, and behavioral action of drug classes as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University.
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Kim Ogg
District Attorney
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Kim Ogg
District Attorney
Kim Ogg is the Harris County District Attorney. She is a native Houstonian licensed by the State Bar of Texas in 1987 and recognized as a specialist in Criminal Law by the Board of Legal Specialization since 1992. Upon taking office, she promised a new era of criminal justice by insuring a just process for the victim, the accused, and the community in every case. She has focused her prosecutors on public safety by prioritizing disposition of crimes against people and property.

Kim's legal career began in 1987 as a line prosecutor for the Harris County D.A. While serving as a Chief Felony Prosecutor, she was appointed Houston’s first Anti-Gang Task Force Director in 1994. From 1999 - 2006, Kim served as the Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston. In 2006, Kim transitioned to private legal practice and became the managing partner of her own law firm.

Kim now brings her strong track record of public service and thirty years of criminal justice experience to the position of Harris County D.A. During the first six months of her Administration, she has successfully advanced major drug policy and bail reform, diversified the leadership of the District Attorney's Office and effected legislative reform on behalf of crime victims.
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Vince Ryan
County Attorney
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Vince Ryan
County Attorney
Vince Ryan was elected to a four-year term as the Harris County Attorney on November 4, 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He is no stranger to the office, having served as an Assistant Harris County Attorney and First Assistant for former County Attorney Mike Driscoll from 1981 to 1987.

In 1987, Vince, with the support and help of many grassroots activists, scored an upset to win a seat on the Houston City Council for District C. He was reelected to two more terms.

Vince was appointed by the President, and later unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve on the Board of the Panama Canal Commission. This bi-national board oversaw the Canal and its historic transition to Panama on December 31, 1999.

Following his service on the Panama Canal Commission, Vince was associated with several prominent Houston law firms and continued his community involvement. In the last decade, he has served on various boards and is a founding board member of the Houston Tampico Sister City Association and the Houston Democratic Lawyers Association.

Born in Houston, Vince was raised by loving parents who instilled within him and his three siblings a sense of service to others.

As the Vietnam war raged, a 19-year-old Vince joined ROTC at the University of Houston and upon graduation became an active duty officer in the United States Army, first serving in Europe and then volunteering for service in Vietnam. He was returned to active duty for Operation Just Cause, which ousted the dictator of Panama, in 1990.

After his service in Vietnam, Vince left active duty and attended the University of Houston Law School. Soon he became active in the Neartown Association. While practicing law, Vince attended Rice University and received a Master's Degree.
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Judge Robert Schaffer
Administrative Judge, District Courts
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Judge Robert Schaffer
Administrative Judge, District Courts
Judge Robert Schaffer has been Judge of the 152nd Civil District Court since January 1, 2009, after being elected to the position in November 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Prior to assuming the bench Judge Schaffer practiced law in Houston for 24 years and served as a mediator in civil disputes for 16 years.

In October of 2013, he was elected by the Harris County District Court judges to complete his predecessor’s term as Local Administrative Judge for the Harris County District Courts. He was subsequently elected by his colleagues to full two-year terms in December 2013, December 2015 and December 2017. Prior to his election as Local Administrative Judge, he served as the Administrative Judge for the Civil Trial division from 2012 to 2013. In 2010 he served by special assignment as a Justice on the 14th Court of Appeals. The State Multidistrict Litigation Panel selected him to serve as the pretrial judge for the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Multidistrict Litigation in 2010 and for the General Motors Ignition Switch Multidistrict Litigation in 2014. In 2014 Judge Schaffer was selected as the Trial Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists and as the Distinguished Alumnus at South Texas College of Law Houston. He has served as a member of the Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee since 2013.

Judge Schaffer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona in 1974. Following his graduation from college he worked in local and state government in Austin before attending law school at South Texas College of Law Houston. He received his law degree in 1984 and began his legal career as an associate with a small Houston law firm before opening his own law office in 1990 as a sole practitioner. Soon after he opened his law office, he expanded his practice to include mediation services in civil disputes. He continued in that practice until he became a judge in 2009.

Judge Schaffer has been married to Jo Ann Weiss Schaffer (also a local attorney) for 30 years and they have three children: Michael who is 27 years old and Shelly and Alex who are 20 years old.
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Judge Michelle Moore
Juvenile District Court Representative
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Judge Michelle Moore
Juvenile District Court Representative
In November of 2018, Michelle Moore was elected 314th District Court Judge and took office on January 1, 2019. She was also selected as the Administrative Judge of the juvenile courts. The 314th Court hears cases of juvenile delinquency, child welfare, immigration, and adoption. In addition, the 314th has a specialty drug court. The purpose in which is to identify juveniles who have a dependency on drugs and/or alcohol. With the input of mental health professionals, the juvenile probation department, attorneys, parent advocates, and rehabilitation programs, the court then builds a customized substance abuse rehabilitation program that is tailored to fit the juvenile’s individual needs and circumstances.

Judge Moore earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Prairie View A&M University in 2001. Following her graduation from college she worked in the Harris County jail as a jailer before attending law school at University of Houston Law Center. She received her law degree in 2006 and began her legal career in Cameron County located in Brownsville, Texas. She worked in the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. She then moved to Dallas and worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office before returning home to work at Harris County Attorney’s Office as an Assistant County Attorney in the Child Protection Division. Judge Moore was Chief of the 315th court team from 2012 until her last day with the HCAO in 2018. She continued in that practice until she became a judge in 2019.

Judge Moore is a mother to three beautiful children and has a love for fitness and home improvement projects.

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Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Commissioners Court Representative
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Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Commissioners Court Representative
Commissioner Rodney Ellis was born and raised in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood and attended the Texas public school system from grade school through law school. Although he is an attorney, his passion is public service.

On Nov. 8, 2016, he was elected Harris County Commissioner for Precinct One, which serves approximately 1.1 million people. Previously, he represented a Houston district in the Texas Senate for more than 25 years, earning widespread praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, budget issues, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, criminal justice, and workforce development.

Commissioner Ellis believes the role of government is to ensure that all people have the opportunity and ability to build a better future for themselves. As Harris County Commissioner, he is dedicated to providing quality and accessible services and programs that will enhance the lives of people in Precinct One and fighting for reforms that will benefit all Harris County residents.

During his career in public service, Commissioner Ellis has worked hard to ensure that children have equal access to a quality education, regardless of where they reside. He also has spearheaded legislation to provide employees with a safe workplace, access to affordable health care and a living wage. In criminal justice, he has fought for reforms that guarantee equal treatment for everyone under the law. It’s his cardinal belief that guilt and innocence must never be dependent on one’s income, gender, race or ethnicity.

Before joining the Texas Senate in 1990, Commissioner Ellis served three terms on the Houston City Council and as chief of staff to the late U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University, a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Commissioner Ellis also studied at Xavier University in New Orleans and the London School of Economics.

Commissioner Ellis is married to Licia Green-Ellis and has four children.
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Mayor Sylvester Turner
Mayor, City of Houston
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Mayor Sylvester Turner
Mayor, City of Houston
Elected in December 2015, Sylvester Turner is serving his first four-year term as Houston’s 62nd mayor. Since taking office, Mayor Turner eliminated a $160 million budget shortfall in record time; led the city’s remarkable rebound from Hurricane Harvey; championed historic pension reform; cheered on the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros; hosted a successful Super Bowl LI; expanded municipal investments in renewable energy and led the winning bid to host the World Petroleum Congress in 2020.

As the head of the energy capital of the world and the most diverse city in the nation, Mayor Turner has brought a performance-driven approach to the job, creating more responsive, streamlined and efficient delivery of city services while shoring up Houston’s financial future. Thanks to his leadership, the Texas Legislature and local voters approved the pension reform package that reduces the city’s liability by billions of dollars and provided a “fix” that had eluded the city for 17 years.

One of the mayor’s signature initiatives is Complete Communities, which aims to improve the quality of life for residents in all neighborhoods. The mayor’s other priorities include filling more than 90,000 potholes on city streets, implementing a six-point holistic plan for addressing homelessness, reducing flooding and improving drainage.

Mayor Turner’s civic leadership has been nationally recognized through his service as a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Transportation and Communications Standing Committee, vice chair of the National Climate Action Agenda, member of the C40 and Global Covenant for Mayor’s for Climate and Energy and an advisory board member of the African American Mayors Association. He is also the recipient of the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honor. Turner has been featured in publications and news outlets such as 60 Minutes, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FOX News, Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, Cuba Today Magazine, Ebony, New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

Prior to his election as mayor, Turner served for 27 years in the Texas House as the representative for District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. He was appointed to several Budget Conference Committees to help balance the state’s budget and served on the Legislative Budget Board.

Mayor Turner is a life-long resident of Houston and lives in the Acres Homes community where he grew up with eight siblings. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and earned a law degree from Harvard University. He began his law practice at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. and later founded the Barnes & Turner Law Firm.

Mayor Turner is the proud father of First Daughter Ashley Turner, who is continuing the family tradition of public service in the healthcare field.
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Judge Maria T. Jackson
Administrative Judge, Criminal Division of District Courts
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Judge Maria T. Jackson
Administrative Judge, Criminal Division of District Courts
Judge Maria T. Jackson has been the presiding Judge of the 339th State District Court in Houston, Harris County, Texas since the election of 2008. She presides over serious felony offenses that run the gamut of low level drug offenses to capital murder. In 2018, Judge Jackson was elected as Administrative Judge of the Felony Courts. She is also a member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. She has presided over 100 jury trials and several have been featured on The First 48 Hour national television show. She has appeared on many Houston radio and media outlets like Red, White and Blue Political Show, Magic 102, KCOH, and The Prison Show on FM 90.1. Judge Jackson has taken the lead in implementing sweeping changes for DWI probationers in her court. These changes are so notable that the Harris County Probation Department has followed Judge Jackson’s lead in implementing them county wide.
Education
B.A. Political Science
The University of Texas at Arlington
Doctor of Jurisprudence
Texas A&M School of Law formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law
Professional Experience
In 2009, The United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, the District Attorneys of Alabama, and the National Judicial College collectively selected Judge Jackson as one of twenty-four judges from across the country to receive training at the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI). Judge Jackson has served by appointment of the Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson as the presiding Judge in Cameron County, Texas. She served as volunteer Judge for The Harris County Star Drug Court 3. In 2003-2008, Judge Jackson was appointed by the Mayor and City Council as a Fulltime Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston. During her tenure as a Municipal Court Judge, she also served as a trainer and instructor for the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. She was a Municipal Bond Attorney and a certified Mediator.
Awards and Recognition
Judge Jackson’s passion for public service has not gone unnoticed. Her service to the community has led a number of organizations to recognize her. Judge Jackson was named “Best Criminal Court Judge of 2011” by the Houston Press, making her the first African American woman to be given this honor. D-Mars.com Business Journal awarded Judge Jackson the People’s Choice Award for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Judge Jackson was named one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Women of Houston.” In 2015, Judge Jackson was recognized again for her judicial service to the community by the Lebanon Times magazine. She was a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black Heritage Honoree, a Houston Bar Association-CLE distinguished member, and recognized by Houston’s Influential 40 Under 40. The Houston Sun honored Judge Jackson the “Women of Power and Purpose” award in 2013. In addition to breaking the barriers for minority women in the legal profession, Judge Jackson broke barriers for Houston Municipal judges by being the first judge to be acknowledged by the Mayor’s Spotlight City of Houston employee newspaper. In addition to her accomplishments at the state level, Judge Jackson has been recognized as a “Woman of Now” hall of fame honoree by the U.S. House of Representatives, 18th Congressional.
Professional Activities and Memberships
Judge Jackson’s devotion does not stop at public service. She is also a devoted member to her profession and her alma mater Texas A&M University School of Law formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Judge Jackson serves on the Board of District Judges, where she chairs the Security Committee and serves on the Administration of Justice and the Legislative Committee. She serves on the Mental Health Task Force Board. She is currently a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas State Bar College, Garland R. Walker American Inns of Court, American Bar Association, Houston Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, and the Mexican American Bar Association. She serves on the Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards Committee. She is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation. She previously served as past Co-Chair on the Speakers Bureau Committee for the Houston Bar Association and on the Board of Directors for Texas A&M University School of Law.
Community Involvement
When Judge Jackson is not pursuing her passion for the law, she serves her community by volunteering as a mentor for at-risk youth, high school students, law students and young lawyers. She is a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She is an active member of the Houston Chapter of Links, Inc., where she served as Chair on the Services to Youth program. She is a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party. She is a member of the Lakewood Church. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

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Judge Darrell Jordan
Presiding Judge, County Criminal Courts at Law
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Judge Darrell Jordan
Presiding Judge, County Criminal Courts at Law
In November 2016, Judge Darrell Jordan was elected to serve as judge for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 16. He was elected by his peers in January 2019 to serve as the Presiding Judge of the County Criminal Courts.

Judge Jordan earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Missouri Columbia. He received his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. He is also a Major in the Texas Army National Guard assigned to the 36th Sustainment Brigade as the Command Judge Advocate.
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Chris Tritico
Defense Attorney
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Chris Tritico
Defense Attorney
Christopher L. Tritico, a native of Houston, Texas, received his Bachelors Degree at Sam Houston State University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence at South Texas College of Law.

Mr. Tritico is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and the Tenth Circuits, and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, President 2012 and The Houston Bar Association. Mr. Tritico was named one of Texas Super Lawyers 2003 - 2017 by Texas Monthly Magazine. Mr. Tritico was named one of the Top Lawyers for the People by H Texas Magazine in 2005-2017. Named one of Texas Top rated lawyers 2012 and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, 2012 - 2017. In 2014 his name was placed on the Wall of Honor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sam Houston State University and given the Reflections of Hope Award by the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Senior Fellow, American Leadership Forum, Class XXXIII.

A criminal defense his entire career, Mr. Tritico handles cases in both state and federal courts; ranging from environmental law to capital murder. Representing notable athletes such as Moses Malone, former Houston Rocket, Gary Sheffield, All-Star third baseman for the Florida Marlins and Julio Lugo, former Houston Astro. In 1997 Mr. Tritico was one of the trial lawyers representing Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Since 1988, Mr. Tritico has represented the interest of professional educators he is General Counsel for the Houston Federation of Teachers, AFT-Lone Star, Cy Fair AFT, Spring Branch AFT and North East Houston AFT. Mr. Tritico has represented teachers’ interest in both criminal district court and civil district court in Harris County, Texas.

Mr. Tritico began his career as an associate of famed attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes. After leaving Mr. Haynes’ office in 1994, Mr. Tritico started his present firm Tritico Rainey, P. L.L.C. in 2011. A regular speaker, Mr. Tritico has presented workshops in areas such as administrative rights for teachers and on criminal law. In 1988, Mr. Tritico authored an article entitled “Investigative Techniques Every Lawyer Should Know.” In 1997 he authored “Teacher Contracts and the Hearing Process: The Road to Victory” The Houston Lawyer, March/April 1997, Vol. 34, No.5 and in 2008 he authored “Collision Course: When Criminal Law and School Law Meet” Voice for the Defense, October 2008, Vol 37, No. 8

Mr. Tritico has appeared on Megyn Kelly Today, Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Night Line, CBS Evening News, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, 20/20, CNN, Fox News Channel, Court TV and others both nationally and internationally. In 2018 The Oxygen Channel premiered “In Defense Of”. Mr. Tritico was Assistant Producer of the series and featured in the premier episode. Mr. Tritico is the host of Fox26Law on Fox, 26, KRIV and the legal analyst for Fox 26 and New Radio 740 KTRH in Houston.
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Wayne Young
Director, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD
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Wayne Young
Director, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD
Wayne Young currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (The Harris Center), the state-designated Local Mental Health Authority and Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority for Harris County. As the CEO of the largest behavioral and developmental disability care center in Texas, Mr. Young oversees the planning and delivery of behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services to over 88,000 people per year and manages an annual budget of over $270 million.

Prior to joining The Harris Center, Mr. Young served as the Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health and Administrator of Trinity Springs Pavilion and Trinity Springs North for JPS Health Network in Ft. Worth, Texas. He also previously served as the regional executive director of a managed behavioral healthcare organization and held other leadership positions within the behavioral health and insurance industries.

Mr. Young currently serves as the chair of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Behavioral Health Advisory Council, and has served in leadership roles in various professional organizations such as the American Hospital Association and the Texas Hospital Association. In addition, Mr. Young has served on numerous boards, including those of the Institute for Behavioral Health Improvement and Mental Health America of Tarrant County.

Mr. Young received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies as well as a Master of Education in Community Counseling from Texas Tech University. Subsequently, he completed a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from the University of Dallas. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

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Terrance Koontz
Right2Justice Lead Organizer, Texas Organizing Project
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Terrance Koontz
Right2Justice Lead Organizer, Texas Organizing Project
Terrance “TK” Koontz currently serves as the lead organizer on the Right 2 Justice Campaign with the Texas Organizing Project. He has been engaging communities of color throughout the city of Houston for over a decade.

His path to organizing began after he was arrested in 2010. While in the Harris County Jail, he witnessed the mistreatment of black and brown people, and realized that the criminal justice system was essentially about class and racial oppression.

His passion for criminal justice reform is rooted in his experiences while growing up in communities that were plagued with crime, poverty and over policing. He got heavily involved in the criminal justice reform movement in 2015 when Sandra Bland died in the Waller County Jail.

Recently Terrance led a field team that increased the voter turnout for voters of color in Fort Bend County by engaging them on criminal justice reform, which led to the election of the first African American district attorney in Fort Bend’s history.

Terrance hopes to play a major role in creating second-chance opportunities, specifically as it relates to housing because as a person who is directly impacted by having a criminal record, he understands the challenges of re-establishing your life after a negative encounter with the criminal justice system.

Terrance has become a highly influential advocate for change in Houston and surrounding areas. He has committed his life to criminal justice reform, social change and community service.
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Gracie Armijo
Right2Justice Organizer, Texas Organizing Project
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Gracie Armijo
Right2Justice Organizer, Texas Organizing Project
My name is Gracie Armijo. I currently serve as a community organizer on the Right 2 Justice campaign with Texas Organizing Project. I have been engaging communities of color throughout the city of Houston for more than two years and helping shape leaders who will join the fight to end mass incarceration.

I was born and raised in the East End (Second Ward), a neighborhood of people of color that was over-policed, and people there rarely got the justice they deserved.

My passion for criminal justice reform is rooted in my experiences with a system that seemed designed to crush people like me.

I lost my father in 1980, when he was caught in the crossfire between police and a suspected murderer. A police officer was also fatally shot. I’ll never forget how everyone who responded to the scene ignored my father as he lay dying, and instead focused on the dead police officer.

A decade later, I lost my brother and my oldest son in an accident. They were being pursued by the police.

A few years after, I was mired in my grief and struggling to make ends meet. I was a single mother of two working minimum wage jobs.

I miscalculated my bank account funds and checks bounced. And as I attempted to make things right, I was arrested.

I now have a record that impacts me because I took a plea and did not understand what that entailed.

But despite of everything I’ve experienced, I feel blessed that I get to fight everyday to change the system, and make justice accessible to everyone!
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Stephen L. Williams
Director, City of Houston Health Department
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Stephen L. Williams
Director, City of Houston Health Department
Stephen serves as the Director for the Houston Health Department (HHD), a full service public health department with 1300+ employees serving the 2.3 million residents of Houston while also overseeing a $166 million budget.
Stephen is actively involved in Public Health issues at the local, state and national levels. Under Stephen’s leadership, HHD has become more visible and the citizens of Houston have been afforded a better quality of life. He has spear-headed the implementation and institution of several programs in HHD such as See to Succeed, Assessment, Intervention and Mobilization (AIM), Project Saving Smiles and pioneering the Affordable Care Act outreach and enrollment efforts through the Enroll Gulf Coast collaborative. The collaborative allowed stakeholders across the Gulf Coast to work together as partners with a common strategy and organization to provide outreach and enrollment to the region’s estimated 1.4 million uninsured while also gaining national attention and White House support.
Stephen received his Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University New York, Masters of Education from the Auburn University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Social Work from Huntingdon College. He is an Alumnus of the American Leadership Forum, Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter/Medical Community Class, and is a graduate of the National Urban Fellowship Program and Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
Stephen L. Williams chairs the Texas Department of State Health Services Public Health Funding and Policy Committee (Senate Bill 969), is the past Board President of the Coalition of the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, and a former Chair of the Harris County System of Hope. He is an Adjunct Professor at the UT School of Public Health and serves on the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health External Advisory Board, Texas Agri-Life Extension Services Urban Advisory Board and Texas Health Improvement Network Advisory Board Council.
He is a member of the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), Texas Association of City and County Health Officials (TACCHO), American Public Health Association (APHA), Rotary Club of Houston and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA).
Prior to serving as the Health Director in Houston, Stephen also served as Administrator of Public Health and Deputy Director of Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department and Executive Manager Travis County Health Human Services and Veterans Services.
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Matthew Simpson
Deputy Political Director, ACLU Texas
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Matthew Simpson
Deputy Political Director, ACLU Texas
Matt Simpson has served as a senior policy strategist at the ACLU of Texas since 2008. He advocates for civil rights and civil liberties at the state legislature and assists with local campaigns related to criminal justice reform, such as prison and jail policy, law enforcement information sharing, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Matt holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon and a B.A. in political science from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
During Texas’ 83rd Legislature in 2013, Matt worked with legislators and coalition partners to end the ticketing of students for minor misbehavior, to increase accountability for police officers stationed in schools, and to push for smart-on-crime reforms that increase rehabilitative services and reduce the need to incarcerate individuals for long periods of time. In particular, the ACLU of Texas along with key partners helped pass a review of the use of the psychologically damaging and recidivism-inducing practice of housing individuals in solitary confinement.
Through his work in the Texas legislature, Matt has fought to stop the passage of Arizona-style, anti-immigrant legislation, helped outlaw the dangerous and unnecessary practice of shackling incarcerated women during delivery and childbirth, and helped ensure the continuation of smart criminal justice policies. Outside his in-session advocacy, Matt has worked with local activists and the Austin City Council to develop city policies regulating the newly created Austin Regional Information Center, a law enforcement intelligence-sharing hub; those policies have provided a model statewide.

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Judge Lina Hidalgo
County Judge
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Judge Lina Hidalgo
County Judge
Judge Lina Hidalgo was raised in an immigrant family. She knows first-hand the sacrifices hard-working Texans make every day to build a better life for their families. Judge Hidalgo was born in Colombia during the drug war. Her parents had two goals: to keep their children safe and to help them get a good education. Judge Hidalgo grew up in Peru and Mexico, before job opportunities brought her parents to the United States in 2005. She is a proud product of our public schools and, as her parents dreamed, she went on to a top university. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science the same year she became a U.S. citizen.
Since arriving in Texas, Judge Hidalgo has been committed to giving back.
She has dedicated hundreds of hours to our county’s most vulnerable communities — working at the Texas Civil Rights Project, to serving as a Spanish-English medical interpreter at the Texas Medical Center, and supporting immigrants in search of lost loved ones. While pursuing a joint degree in law and public policy at NYU and Harvard, Judge Hidalgo researched criminal justice policies and coordinated with advocacy groups and governments to push for reform.
Wherever she has been, Judge Hidalgo has seized opportunities to serve the immigrant and incarcerated communities. In Southeast Asia, she worked to promote transparency and accountability by supporting journalists, bloggers and artists. At Stanford, she helped create and fund a program to bring Stanford students to public policy positions.
Judge Hidalgo was elected on November the 6, 2018 and sworn in as Harris County Judge on January 1, 2019.
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Commissioner Adrian Garcia
Commissioners Court Representative
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Commissioner Adrian Garcia
Commissioners Court Representative
Born and raised in the Northside, Precinct 2 has always been
home to Commissioner Adrian Garcia. His 35-year career in
public service began as a Houston Police Officer. In 1994, he
was appointed by Mayor Lee Brown as Director of the Mayor’s
Anti-Gang Office, and in 2003, was elected to Houston City
Council. During his tenure, he served as Chair on two City
Council committees — the Public Safety and Homeland Security
Committee and the Minority/Women Business Enterprise
Committee. With the support of his peers, Mayor Bill White
confirmed him as Mayor Pro-Tem. In 2008, Commissioner
Garcia continued his service by being elected as the Harris
County Sheriff — the largest sheriff's office in Texas and the 3rd
largest in the United States. On November 6th, 2018, he was
elected Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 2, which
serves more than 1.1 million people. Commissioner Garcia is
committed to working every day to make Precinct 2 and all of
Harris County a place where everyone who wants a job can get
a job, where everyone can afford to rent or own a home, and
where our kids and seniors can walk to church, park or school
without fear of crime.
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Dr. Umair A. Shah
Executive Director, Harris County Public Health Services
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Dr. Umair A. Shah
Executive Director, Harris County Public Health Services
Since 2013, Dr. Umair A. Shah has served as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) – the nationally accredited county public health agency for the nation’s 3rd largest county with 4.7 million people.
Dr. Shah earned his B.A. (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University; his M.D. from the University of Toledo Health Science Center; and completed an Internal Medicine Residency, Primary Care/General Medicine Fellowship, and M.P.H. (management), at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization headquarters in Switzerland.
Upon completing training, Dr. Shah began a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. He started his formal public health journey as Chief Medical Officer at Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous national awards including recognition as Local Health Department of the Year from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2016.
Dr. Shah currently holds numerous leadership positions with respected entities like the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Trust for America’s Health; Network for Public Health Law; and Texas Medical Association. He previously served as president of NACCHO (and its Texas affiliate) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments.
Over his career, Dr. Shah has been a clinician, an innovator, an educator, and a leader in health.
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Asst. Chief. David Dixon
Representative of the Harris County Mayors' and Councils' Association
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Asst. Chief. David Dixon
Representative of the Harris County Mayors' and Councils' Association
David Dixon has been a Texas peace officer for over 30 years and holds a Master Peace Officer license. As an Assistant Chief with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Command, he served as the Commander of the Special Operations Bureau, which includes the reserve components of Criminal Warrants, Fugitive Warrants, Child Predator Apprehension, Aviation, Hostage Negotiation, Investigations and the Special Response Teams. As a police officer, he has worked in a wide variety of capacities in law enforcement including patrol, detention, vice, narcotics, criminal warrants, special response team, dignitary protection and community relations. Mr. Dixon is also nationally certified as an ALERRT Active Shooter Instructor and has helped to train numerous officers and agencies in active shooter protocols. He has served as a chaplain for both the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, taking part in many crisis situations and officiating numerous funerals for officers killed in the line of duty. In October of 2015, he joined the police department of the City of Spring Valley, where he resides, in the role of Assistant Chief and Police Commissioner. Mr. Dixon directed the effort to restructure the department with new policies, procedures and training protocols. In 2016, he helped to lead the team in the design of the new Spring Valley Police Station. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Texas Police Chiefs Association, the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association, the National Tactical Officers Association, and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He is also a graduate of the International Campus Law Enforcement Association’s Executive Development Institute. In addition, David served for 10 years on the executive planning committee for the funerals of President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. He is the recipient of four lifesaving awards as well as four departmental merit awards.

In addition to his work in law enforcement, Mr. Dixon has served on the staff of Second Baptist Church in Houston for over 36 years. He authored and implemented the Emergency Preparedness Protocol for Second Baptist and works as a leader in crisis management, dealing with security issues and emergency preparation for churches and schools. He led major disaster-relief efforts following Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Katrina, including Operation Compassion, a citywide endeavor comprised of over 40,000 volunteers of all faiths. In September of 2017, he served as Executive Director of Houston Strong, a relief effort comprised of over 35,000 volunteers from across Harris County in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Having been involved in this field for over 30 years, he is a nationally recognized security expert for houses of worship. He has helped hundreds of churches and schools across the country to establish their security programs and speaks at numerous conferences dealing with church security. David supervises all aspects of security for Second Baptist Church and School, where he provides direction for over 100 law enforcement officers and security personnel that protect church members at all six locations and students at the private Christian school located on the main campus.

Mr. Dixon attended Texas A&M University and graduated with honors from the University of Houston Downtown with a degree in Criminal Justice. He has taken post-graduate courses in Sports Administration and Education at the University of Houston. David has been married for 36 years to Kristen, a language arts educator and graduate of Vanderbilt University. They have four married children and four grandchildren

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Art Acevedo
Chief of Police, Houston Police Department
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Art Acevedo
Chief of Police, Houston Police Department
Art Acevedo is currently the Chief of Police for the Houston Police Department (HPD) in Texas and was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner. He was sworn into office on November 30, 2016, and leads a department of 5,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 1,000 civilian support personnel in the fourth largest city in the United States that has 640 square miles and an annual general fund budget of $873 million.
Chief Acevedo firmly believes that good, two-way communication is vital for a successful community and steadily works to strengthen the bond between the community and its police department. As a proponent of community policing, Chief Acevedo refers to the proven practice as “Relational Policing,” which is an opportunity to forge a relationship with each and every person a department member comes in contact with. He also subscribes to law enforcement being a data driven, intelligence led process that is well-suited to the policing profession in the 21st Century.
As the first Hispanic to lead HPD, Chief Acevedo brings a unique understanding to the concerns of the diverse communities in Houston. Born in Cuba, he was four years old when he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1968. Acevedo subsequently grew up in California and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne in California.
Acevedo began his law enforcement career with the California Highway Patrol in 1986 as a field patrol officer in East Los Angeles. Ultimately, he rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. Prior to his nomination and appointment to lead the Houston Police Department, Chief Acevedo served nine years as the Chief of Police for the Austin, Texas Police Department from 2007 – 2016.
Chief Acevedo has held various leadership positions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and is currently the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He is married to Tanya Born Acevedo and is the father of Melissa, Matthew, and Jake.
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Constable Phil Sandlin
Constable's Office Representative
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Constable Phil Sandlin
Constable's Office Representative
Phil Sandlin was born June 26, 1968 in Houston, Texas to Bill and Shirley Sandlin. Phil was raised in southeast Houston attending school in the Pasadena Independent School District. Growing up, Phil was very active in Future Farmers of America raising livestock to show in the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo. After graduating from Dobie High School in 1987, Phil attended San Jacinto College majoring in Criminal Justice. In 1990, he accepted a job with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as a civilian jailer. In 1991, Phil graduated from the Sheriff’s Academy as a certified peace officer and was assigned to the Detention Bureau. He left the Sheriff’s Office in 1992 and accepted a job with the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office as a patrol deputy. Over the years, he rose through the ranks at Precinct 8, being promoted to Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain. In February 2005, Phil was appointed to the rank of Chief Deputy of Precinct 8 where he oversaw the day to day operations of the agency. On June 1, 2011 he was appointed Constable by Commissioner’s Court before winning the 2012 election decidedly to keep the position. On November 8, 2016 he was re-elected to his second term as Constable.
Over the course of his 28 year career in law enforcement, Constable Sandlin has been proud to serve the citizens of this community and volunteers much of his time to area civic groups and organizations. He and his family are members of South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena. He and his wife Nerissa, who is an In-Flight Supervisor for Southwest Airlines, reside in Deer Park and have two sons, Blake 20 and Clayton 6.
Phil is a member of the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He is a master mason and member of the Deer Park Masonic Lodge #1362. Phil has been a member of the Space Center Rotary Club since 2006 and is the Chairman of the Excellence in Public Service Committee. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.

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Michael C. Nichols
Interim President/CEO, Coalition for the Homeless
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Michael C. Nichols
Interim President/CEO, Coalition for the Homeless
Michael C. Nichols was appointed by the Board of Directors on January 29, 2019 to serve as the Interim President/Chief Executive Officer for the Coalition for the Homeless. This appointment is key to the Coalition’s strategic planning initiative and leading the agency to be an even more visible leader in advocacy and public education on homelessness and related issues, as well as supporting those partner agencies working together as a part of the The Way Home.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in History from Brown University and his Juris Doctorate from Emory University, Michael practiced law and served two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives before joining Sysco Corporation. After retirement, he joined Grocer’s Supply Company as Chief Operating Officer. Michael also served as Interim CEO of the Houston Parks Board.
Michael has been an active participant in business and civic activities in Houston for more than three decades. He has been married to Marcia Couch Nichols for 42 years and has four children and three grandchildren.
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Kathryn Griffin Townsend
Victim Rights Expert
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Kathryn Griffin Townsend
Victim Rights Expert
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Frances E. Valdez
Immigration Expert
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Frances E. Valdez
Immigration Expert
Frances Valdez has represented immigrants and advocating for just policy alternatives for immigrants entangled in the criminal justice system since 2005. Frances is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, where she began her career as a clinical fellow with the UT Immigration Clinic. Frances continued representing immigrants in removal proceedings and in front of the Department of Homeland Security in private practice at FValdezLaw PC. She simultaneously worked with community organizations where she sought to broaden access to legal services to low income immigrants. At BakerRipley, Frances worked extensively to develop best practices for providing individuals with naturalization and DACA assistance through free, group processing workshops. Frances provided legal supervision for United We Dream’s national DACA work and managed policy, advocacy and civic engagement work in Houston. Frances currently serves as the Executive Director for Houston in Action, a collective impact organization with a mission to reduce systemic barriers to civic engagement.
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Sandra Guerra Thompson
Director, Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center
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Sandra Guerra Thompson
Director, Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center
Sandra Guerra Thompson is the Newell H. Blakely Professor in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. A graduate of Yale Law School, she practiced law as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney's Office.

In 2009, Governor Rick Perry appointed her as the representative of the Texas public law schools on the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions. She also chaired criminal justice committees for the transition teams of Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016 and District Attorney Kim Ogg in 2017.

Mayor Annise Parker appointed her in 2012 to the inaugural Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science Center. She has served as Vice Chair of the Board since 2015. Her book is Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions with Independent Forensic Laboratories (Carolina Academic Press 2015) chronicles the establishment of the Houston Forensic Science Center and the challenges facing the forensic science field.

Professor Thompson is an elected member of the American Law Institute. In 2000, she served as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She is the recipient of the University of Houston's Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award in 2015, as well as the Teaching Excellence Award in 2003 and the Ethel Baker Faculty Award in 2000.

In 1996, she became the first Latina tenured law professor in the State of Texas. Hispanic Business magazine featured her as one of the top 25 Women of Vision in 2009. In 2014, her alma mater, J.W. Nixon High School honored her as a "Mustang Legend."

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Leonard Kincaid
Director, Houston Sobering Center
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Leonard Kincaid
Director, Houston Sobering Center
As co-founder and executive director, Leonard Kincaid oversees the strategic vision and day-to-day management of Houston Recovery Center, a nonprofit that offers an innovative solution to the costly problem of public intoxication. His experience in the field of addiction and mental health spans more than 30 years.
Prior to Houston Recovery Center, Leonard spent 23 years at The Council on Recovery in both clinical work and program administration. He worked in a variety of leadership roles including Director of Operations, Deputy Director, Executive Vice President, Chief Operation Officer, and Chief Government Relations Officer.
Leonard has a successful history of promoting positive social change by developing and working with community-based initiatives. Most recently, he developed Houston Recovery Initiative, a recovery-oriented system of care coalition. Its objective is to increase resources needed to support people with substance use disorders. Leonard also co-founded and chaired the Coalition for Substance Abuse Services representing 60 treatment provider organizations in Houston.
Much of Leonard’s work focuses on addressing the impact of HIV on African American communities. Leonard developed the Initiative for Positive Change, a coalition of several community-based chemical dependency treatment organizations serving at-risk or HIV positive African American adults and youth. He also worked with the Center for Disease Control HIV Prevention Community Planning Group (CPG) for city of Houston, and the National Black Alcoholism and Addiction Council HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.
Educated in Texas and Mississippi, Leonard has a Master’s in Business Administration, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. During his career, Leonard has served on several boards and advisory boards focusing on mental health and addiction including Network of Behavioral Health Providers, Association of Substance Abuse Providers, and the Local Mental Health Authority of Harris County.