I have been a public defender with the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office since 1987. I was a DUI Unit supervisor from 1998 to 2001 and a manager from 2001 to 2014. As DUI Unit supervisor, I was invited to participate in a national DUI Court conference where I saw judges, prosecutors, police officers, public defenders, and probation officers working together to develop guidelines that would help probationers break the cycle in the criminal justice system and to lead productive lives. As manager, I worked with the court and the probation department in developing Mental Health Court and Veterans Court.
I served as Arizona Association of Drug Court Professionals (AADCP) president, past president, and now board member. When I began my term as a president, I was invited to attend the national conference. Again, I was impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of the participants in finding solutions for people who were suffering from alcohol or drug addiction or mental illness. I met with Karen Barnes and John Morris to map out the state conference.
Our plans were delayed by the Great Recession. Eventually, with a handshake, AADCP worked with ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy to put on a one day conference in downtown Phoenix. I reached out to people who were passionate about problem-solving courts to join the planning committee. Every year this committee has developed an outstanding conference that is now based in Prescott and grown to a three day conference.