2018 Speakers

Julie Marie Baldwin​

Associate Director of Research, Justice Programs Office, American University

Julie Marie Baldwin, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of Research at the Justice Programs Office, American University.  Dr. Baldwin is a leading expert on veterans treatment courts (VTCs) with extensive experience conducting multi-site evaluations and national surveys, fostering strong researcher-practitioner partnerships, and working with VTCs, legislatures, researchers, and agencies.  She is a Principal Investigator on a 3-year multisite evaluation of VTCs funded by the National Institute of Justice and the co-founder and co-president of the Veterans Treatment Court Research Consortium.  Prior to her doctoral program, she was a court analyst for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division and a paralegal and FOIL administrator for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Appeals Bureau.  She holds a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of Florida, an M.A. in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Criminal Law & Procedure from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida. 

Sean Bear

(Meskwaki Tribal Nation), Co-Director, National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Sean, BA, CADC, is a member of the Meskwaki tribe in Tama, Iowa, being an Army veteran of over 9 years of service and served with the 82nd Airborne Division. He has worked as an Administrator/Counselor in EAP, a counselor in adolescent behavioral programs, substance abuse, and in-home family therapy. It has been very rewarding to work with individuals and groups in the areas of Substance abuse, Behavioral, and person/family/social issues. He has had experience in building holistic, Native American based curriculum, and implementation with substance abuse clientele. He graduated from Buena Vista University with a double major in psychology and human services, as well as two years of Graduate school with Drake University’s mental health program.  It is his goal to continue on and receive his Master’s degree. His passion is the life-long education of Spirituality, particularly in Native American Spirituality.

Precious Benally

(Diné), Program Manager, Tribal Justice Exchange; Senior Associate, Treatment Court Programs, Center for Court Innovation

Precious Benally is a Program Manager with the Tribal Justice Exchange and Treatment Court Programs at the Center for Court Innovation. She provides training and technical assistance for drug treatment courts and tribal justice systems across the country. This includes assisting with community needs assessments and comprehensive strategic planning projects, authoring publications, and providing support for tribal justice program development. She has presented on topics ranging from opioid abuse in Indian Country, the implementation of teleservices for drug courts in rural jurisdictions and incorporating restorative justice practices in treatment court programs. Her areas of interest include international indigenous law and policy, healing to wellness courts, peacemaking and restorative justice practices, teleservices, and developing technology-based training and information-sharing platforms. Ms. Benally obtained her law degree from Columbia Law School, where she focused on international indigenous law and policy, peacemaking, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Ms. Benally is a citizen of the Diné Nation from Northern New Mexico.

Russ Bermejo

Senior Program Associate, Center for Children and Family Futures, Inc.

Russ Bermejo, MSW, currently serves as a Senior Program Associate with the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare at Center for Children and Family Futures (CCFF).  In this capacity, he facilitates technical assistance regarding child welfare and substance use disorder related issues for multiple projects.  He has managed the Family Drug Court Learning Academy since 2010 and currently serves as a Change Leader Associate for the State-wide Systems Improvement Program (SSIP) supporting state leaders with the development and successful implementation of their statewide plan to increase the scale of FTCs and/or infuse FTC practices into larger systems.  Mr. Bermejo also served as the Performance Management Liaison providing support to six FTCs awarded by the Children Affected by Methamphetamine (CAM) federal grant program (2010-2014).  Mr. Bermejo has 12 years of experience in public child welfare practice, including nearly 10 years as a Senior Social Worker with Orange County Children and Family Services.  Mr. Bermejo’s casework primarily focused on family reunification, family maintenance, or permanency planning.  Mr. Bermejo has extensive experience in working with children and families involved in the juvenile dependency court system.  Prior to joining CCFF, Mr. Bermejo served in the Philippines as an Aftercare Fellow for International Justice Mission, where he worked on numerous aftercare projects focused on rescue and protection, reintegration economic self-sufficiency, and community stakeholder training.  Mr. Bermejo earned a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters in Social Work, from California State University, San Bernardino.

Vivian B. Brown

Consultant, Integrated and Trauma-Informed Services

Dr. Vivian Brown, Ph.D., is founder and former CEO of PROTOTYPES, Centers for Innovation in Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, a multi-facility, multi-service non-profit agency with services located throughout Southern California, and has more than 40 years of experience developing innovative, community-based services for co-occurring disorders, including: community mental health centers; health programs; substance abuse services; trauma-informed and trauma-specific services; domestic violence services; HIV/AIDS services. She is now providing consultation on integrated and trauma-informed services to organizations around the country, including state and local agencies and family drug treatment court systems.

Anna Rangel Clough

(Muscogee Creek and Yuchi), Assistant Director, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center

Anna Clough J.D.,  is the Assistant Director of the OJJDP Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center. As a licensed attorney she has served Tribal Nations and citizens in the areas of Family, Domestic, Criminal and Civil Law. As a practitioner serving Tribal families, she has seen the direct impact of the legal system and its impact on the lives of Tribal youth. As part of the OJJDP Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center she has had the opportunity to work with developing Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts as well as various intervention and prevention programs throughout the country. She recently completed a supportive planning handbook to support Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Court Development. 

Rhonda Decontie

(Algonquin & Penobscot), Cultural Advisor/Clerk, Penobscot Nation Tribal Court

Rhonda Decontie (Algonquin & Penobscot) has served the Penobscot Nation’s Judicial System since 2011 and was promoted to the Clerk of the Court in 2014. That same year she was selected from more than 300 tribal courts by the National American Indian Court Judges Association to receive its National Outstanding Court Support Award. Under her leadership, the Tribal Court has been nationally recognized as a leader in the handling of child protective proceedings and for its culturally aligned Healing to Wellness Court. Her parents are Faye Decontie (Penobscot) and the late Frank Decontie (Algonquin). She was raised both on Indian Island and in the Kitigan Zibi Reserve in Quebec. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mental Health from the University of Maine at Augusta. Her parents raised her to believe that she owed a responsibility to the community to return after she graduated from college to serve her people. She considers her work for her people in the Nation’s Judicial System the greatest achievement of her life. She is committed to ensuring that the Court provides a just, compassionate, culturally aligned problem-solving approach for those it serves. Rhonda was recently featured on VICE for her efforts of including Penobscot traditions and Anishinaabe teachings into the Wellness Court. She recognized that there was a strong need for community engagement and cultural awareness. Through her leadership the Healing to Wellness Court has now set an expectation that participants will have opportunities to engage in community and cultural events.

Anthony Dekker

Physician, Northern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System; Medical Director, East Community Based Outpatient Clinics

Tony Dekker, DO, FACOFP, FAOAAM, is currently a member of the Primary Care Service Line at the Northern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System in Prescott, Arizona.  He is the medical director of the East Community Based Outpatient Clinics (Anthem, Cottonwood and Flagstaff) and the Rural Clinics (Page, Holbrook, Tuba City, Polacca, Chinle and Kayenta).  He provides primary care and telemedicine services to veterans in mid and northern Arizona areas.  He is also active in the evaluation and treatment of veterans with chronic pain and addiction disorders. From 2010 to 2015, Tony was the director of the Department of Addiction Medicine at the Ft Belvoir Community Hospital which is one of the replacement hospitals for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  He directed the four divisions in Addiction Medicine dedicated to the comprehensive evaluation and treatment for substance abuse and dependence disorders in the military.  Dr Dekker is expert in substance dependence and co-occurring disorders in Veterans and the Active Duty Service Member (ADSM) population and with military dependents, and retirees.  He served on the Provider Wellness and Chronic Pain Committees at Fort Belvoir and is a member of the Joint Board of Directors for the Joint Task Force (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Fort Belvoir Community Hospital/ National Intrepid Center of Excellence) on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). After serving the Indian Health Service from 1998 to 2010 in Arizona he was honored to be a member of the Joint Task Force Medical Team that specializes  in the care of Wounded Warriors.  Previously he was the Acting Director of the Office of Health Programs at the Phoenix Area Office supervising 15 health departments in Nevada, Utah and Arizona. He was also the Associate Director of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and the Director, Ambulatory Care and Community Health.  He served as the Director of Medical Education for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. Born and raised in Western Michigan he graduated from Hope College in Holland Michigan.  He completed his Osteopathic education at Michigan State University in 1978.  He completed his internship and family medicine residency at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and an Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine fellowship at Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago.  As a Public Health Service Scholar he served Chicago’s South Side for fourteen years.  He was Professor and Chair of Family Medicine at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (Children’s Mercy Hospital) during his four years in Kansas City. Dr. Dekker is board certified in Family Practice and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, and Addiction Medicine.  He is a Fellow in numerous professional societies.  As a member of the healthcare team at the Northern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Health Care System (NAVAHCS),  he is dedicated to the Mission of providing the highest quality care to veterans and active duty military and their dependents.  His areas of expertise include addiction medicine, chronic pain syndromes, infomatics, high risk youth, domestic violence and behavioral health.   He has been the Chief Clinical Consultant in Addiction Medicine and Chronic Pain for the Indian Health Service, US Public Health Service and has served on several national panels addressing substance abuse in America.  He served on the American Hospital Association Board on Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Issues.  Current faculty appointments include clinical professorships at George Washington University (Washington DC) and the Andrew Taylor Still University (Mesa, AZ).

Mark Dyea

(Pueblo of Laguna), Senior Consultant, National Drug Court Institute

Mark is a Pueblo of Laguna Tribal member and a Disabled Veteran. Mark worked for the Pueblo of Laguna’s Probation & Parole Services for 10 ½ years (2004-2015), the last four years as the Program Manager. During his time with Probation & Parole Services he planned, developed and implemented the Pueblo’s Community Wellness Court. He served as the Co-Coordinator for the Wellness Court from 2007 to 2014. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of New Mexico in 2003. As an undergraduate he researched the effects of alcohol on Tribal communities through the UNM Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions under the mentorship of Dr. Philip May. Mark us currently working on completing his Master’s in Public Administration. He serves as a Senior Consultant for the National Drug Court Institute.

During his time working as a Treatment Court professional he has served as Probation Officer, Coordinator, Case Manager, and Trainer. Since 2011, he has worked as a consultant for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Tribal Law & Policy Institute, Fox Valley Technical College, and the American Probation and Parole Association.

James Eberspacher

Division Director, National Center for DWI Courts, National Association of Drug Court Professionals

James Eberspacher is the director for the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC). NCDC is a division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) providing training and technical assistance to DWI court professionals. Jim’s background in treatment court models includes experience at the state and local levels. For seven years, he was the state drug court coordinator for the State of Minnesota, providing oversight in forming treatment court policy and strategic planning, state standards, funding, assisting in research, and providing training and technical assistance to treatment court teams. Jim also served as the coordinator on three treatment court teams – DWI court, hybrid drug/DWI court and family dependency treatment court – in rural Minnesota. Prior to his involvement in the treatment court field, Jim was a probation officer in community supervision and a juvenile institution. Overall, Jim has 19 years of combined experience in treatment courts, corrections, policy development, and training/technical assistance.

Evan Elkin

Executive Director, Reclaiming Futures

Evan Elkin, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Reclaiming Futures and a nationally respected innovator and leader in the field of juvenile justice reform, adolescent and family mental health and substance abuse treatment and youth development. Originally trained as a psychologist at New York University and researcher at the New York Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University’s Department of Child Psychiatry, his work for the past two decades has been at the intersection of public health and social justice focusing on the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Evan has worked extensively in tribal and non-tribal youth justice settings, schools and in child welfare settings helping to advance public health, equity and social justice through innovation and the development of evidence based practices.

Jocelyn Fabry

(Sault Ste. Marie), Chief Judge, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Judge Fabry serves as the Chief Judge for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, of which she is also an enrolled member. Among her other duties as Chief Judge, Judge Fabry presides over the Gwaiak Miicon healing-to wellness court, the Domestic Violence Court, and Family Preservation Court (family healing-to-wellness court) that she led the development of. Judge Fabry is a 2001 graduate of Michigan State University and a 2004 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law.  After graduation, Judge Fabry served as a law clerk to the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Court, then returned home to serve as a prosecuting attorney for her Tribe.  Judge Fabry was appointed to the Tribal Court bench in 2010. Judge Fabry serves on various committees and advisory boards, including the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals (Treasurer) and Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum (Co-Chair), and has led her Tribe’s efforts to establish a Tribal Action Plan – a long-term strategic plan to combat substance abuse.

Adelle Fontanet

Program Manager, Tribal Justice Exchange; Senior Associate, Research Practice Strategies, Center for Court Innovation

Adelle Fontanet is a Program Manager with the Center’s Tribal Justice Exchange. She provides on-site and long-distance training and technical assistance to tribes seeking to develop or enhance their justice systems around the country. She has lead justice system needs assessments and strategic planning projects with 17 tribes, including child welfare focused needs assessments and healing to wellness court assessments. Ms. Fontanet also played a central role in the development of the Tribal Access to Justice Innovation website, which was designed to promote the sharing of information about innovative tribal justice programs across the country. Prior to working with the Tribal Justice Exchange, she participated in a fellowship with the Center where she worked with Bronx Community Solutions to provide alternatives to incarceration to low-level misdemeanor adult and youth offenders in Bronx Criminal Court. Ms. Fontanet is a licensed attorney, having graduated from Columbia Law School, where she participated in the school’s peacemaking clinic and visited the Chickasaw Nation to learn about peacemaking. Ms. Fontanet frequently gives presentations at tribal justice conferences and was centrally involved in the planning and implementation of the Red Hook Peacemaking Program.

Zephi Francis

Research Specialist, Justice Programs Office, American University

Zephi is a Research Specialist at American University’s Justice Programs Office (JPO).  His research interests include racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, alternatives to mass incarceration, drug and alcohol use, and implementing evidence-based practices.  At JPO, Zephi is part of the National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC) – an initiative charged with providing treatment court professionals with resources to enable their programs to operate as effectively as possible.  He also manages NDCRC’s Annual Drug Court Surveys, which collect information on drug courts’ counts, operations, and target populations.  Zephi previously worked as a Research Associate at George Mason University (GMU).  While at GMU, he conducted research on prisoner re-entry.

Maria Galvan

Police Officer, Patrol Division, Pueblo of Laguna Law Enforcement Program

Maria Galvan has been in the law enforcement for 10 years. She started her career with the New Mexico State Police and has been with the Pueblo of Laguna’s Police Department for 8 years. She has been actively involved with the Pueblo of Laguna’s Healing to Wellness court for six years.

Carrie Garrow 

(Akwesasne Mohawk), Chief Judge, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Court

Carrie Garrow, J.D., M.P.A., is currently the Chief Judge of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Court. Hon. Garrow formerly served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Syracuse University College of Law and Syracuse University’s Native Studies Minor. She received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, her law degree from Stanford Law School, and a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a consultant with Tribal Law and Policy Institute and has co-authored Tribal Criminal Law and Procedure with Sarah Deer, in addition to writing several articles on tribal law and governance.  She has served as a tribal justice consultant for several non-profit organizations, including the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, and the Native Nations Institute. Hon. Garrow is currently on the board of the National American Indian Court Judges Association and the Native American Humane Society Advisory Board.

Jessica Harjo

 (San Carlos Apache), Operations Director, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

Jessica Harjo, M.B.A., serves as TLPI's Operations Director and has been with TLPI since 2008. She is responsible for the financial management, human resources and overall administrative operations of TLPI. She leads the TLPI Administrative team providing grants management and administrative support on all TLPI grants and projects. Her background includes over 15 years of experience in administrative management, operations and logistics. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Science in Film, Media, and Social Justice and a minor in Business Administration and holds a Master in Business Administration from Mount Saint Mary's University. Jessica is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the internationally recognized Project Management Institute.

Charlene Jackson

(Diné), Owner/Managing Attorney, Jackson Law Firm, PLLC; Associate Judge, Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Chief Judge, Fort Mohave Tribal Court of Appeals; Chief Judge, Cedarville Rancheria Court of Appeals; Associate Justice, Colorado River Indian Tribe; Judge Pro Tem, Tonto Apache Tribe; Judge Pro Tem, Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada

Charlene Jackson is the Owner/Managing Attorney of the Jackson Law Firm, PLLC in Arizona.  Her practice focuses primarily on representing and assisting Tribes with various legal issues as well as policy and organizational development and improvement. In addition to her legal practice, Charlene serves as an Associate Judge for the Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona, Chief Judge of the Fort Mohave Tribal Court of Appeals, Chief Judge of the Cedarville Rancheria Court of Appeals, Associate Justice for the Colorado River Indian Tribe, Judge Pro Tem for the Tonto Apache Tribe and Judge Pro Tem for the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada.  In addition, Charlene is a consultant for the Tribal Law & Policy Institute in West Hollywood, California providing training and technical assistance to tribes throughout Indian Country.  She is also a consultant for the National Drug Court Institute, the training division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in Alexandria, Virginia.  In 2007, Charlene was invited to serve on the faculty of the National Tribal Justice Center at the National Judicial College and frequently trains tribal court judges from across the on issues including civil and criminal jurisdiction, domestic violence, child custody and protective orders.  Prior to returning to private practice, Charlene previously served as the Chief Judge of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, a Judge for the Gila River Indian Community, the Ak-Chin Indian Community and as a Judge Pro Tem for the City of Chandler. She also has served as an Appellate Judge for the Hualapai. Before her appointment to the bench, Charlene served as assistant counsel for two Arizona tribes. 

Lawrence King

Chief Judge, Colorado River Indian Tribes

Chief Judge King joined the Colorado River Indian Tribes Tribal Court in 2014. He is a Magistrate for the Town of Paradise Valley. Judge King is on the Board of the Arizona Magistrates Association and serves as its President, and teaches continuing education subjects. Before his appointment as Chief Judge in 2014, Judge King worked as a Judge Pro Tempore and Acting Chief Judge for Colorado River Indian Tribes; Judge Pro Tempore for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Hualapai Tribe and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. In his career as a civil servant, Judge King has served the public by working for Governor Rose Mofford of Arizona and Lt. Governor Thomas P. O’Neil, III of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was also a Candidate for United States House of Representatives in 2002. He clerked for Judge Stephen L. Reinhart on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jeffrey N. Kushner

Montana Statewide Drug Court Coordinator, Montana Supreme Court/Office of the Court Administrator

Jeffrey Kushner, M.H.R.A.,  is the Montana Statewide Drug Court Coordinator with the Montana Supreme Court/Office of the Court Administrator. Kushner assumed his duties in January of 2008 after the Montana Legislative Assembly provided initial funding for the state’s drug courts and his position. Kushner, in November of 2015, received an award by the Supreme Court of the State of Montana for "Distinguished Service To The Montana Judiciary And The People of The State of Montana." Prior to assuming his duties in Helena, Kushner was the Drug Court Administrator for the 22nd Judicial Circuit in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Kushner began with the Circuit in December of 1996 as the primary planner for the drug court that opened in April of 1997. Kushner served as the lead trainer at the National Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse where he taught the basic drug court track. Previous to his position in St. Louis, Kushner was the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director in Nebraska, Colorado and Oregon over a period of 26 years. Kushner was the Director in Oregon for sixteen years where he was designated as Manager of the Year in Oregon’s Executive Service. Kushner has served on numerous national task forces, committees and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council. Kushner was President of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and received their Outstanding Service Award for his contribution to that organization. Other awards include the Oregon Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse President’s Award, The Harold E. Hughes Exceptional Services Award, Ecumenical Ministries Award for Public Service, Women’s Commission Award from the Oregon Women’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Issues, and the Administrator’s Award for Public Service from the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Federal government. Upon leaving St. Louis, the 22nd Judicial Circuit recognized Kushner for, "his vision, knowledge, persistence, diligence, and leadership in creating and developing the St. Louis City Drug Courts. Kushner was also recognized by the Supreme Court of Missouri for his contribution to the drug court movement in Missouri. Kushner is a strong advocate for implementation of evidence-based practices within treatment programs and drug courts and chaired an initiative with National Drug Court Institute to publish a document on evidence-based practices for drug courts in conjunction with 12 internationally known researchers in related fields. This publication, Quality Improvement for Drug Courts: Evidence-Based Practices, has been completed and thousands of copies have been distributed across the country. Kushner, working with American University, is one of two lead authors in the development of a set of guidelines entitled, "A Technical Assistance Guide for Drug Court Judges on Drug Court Treatment Services." to improve the understanding of evidence-based treatment practices and their use by drug courts. Kushner has also joined with Children and Families Futures to develop a Family Strength and Needs Assessment Survey instrument to improve services to family members of drug court participants across the country.  In conjunction with Addiction Consulting Group, Kushner developed the Recovery Maintenance Check-in (RMC-i), an instrument developed for drug courts and treatment programs to follow-up on clients/participants after they have left treatment/drug court to help them maintain their recovery. Kushner is the moderator of the national Rural Drug Court List Serve in conjunction with American University’s Office of Justice Programs. Kushner is the only individual in the country who has been both a Single State Agency Director for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and a statewide drug court administrator. Kushner lives in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains with his wife, Siberian Husky and Great Pyrenees and is an active volunteer fire fighter and past President of the Victor, Montana Rural Volunteer Fire District Association.

Allie Greenleaf Maldonado

(Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), Chief Judge, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court

Honorable Allie Greenleaf Maldonado is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) and a member of the Turtle Clan.  She was first appointed the Chief Judge of the LTBB Tribal Court in 2012.  In 2014, Judge Maldonado was voted Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly Woman of the Year. In addition, she was privileged to be selected as the 2015 Unsung Hero for the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly. In 2016 she was chosen by Harvard Law School as an honoree for International Women’s Day recognizing her extraordinary work with students. In 2017, Detroit News named her a Michiganian of the Year.  Judge Maldonado graduated in the top third of her class from the University of Michigan (UM) Law School. While at UM, she served as a Contributing Editor for the University of Michigan Law Review. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the City University of New York and Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School, Judge Maldonado was selected through the Honors Program at the United States Department of Justice to serve as a litigator in the Indian Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington, D.C.  In September of 2002, Judge Maldonado returned to Michigan to serve as Assistant General Counsel for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, a position she held until her appointment as Chief Judge of the Tribal Court.

Richard McCoy

(Lac du Flambeau Ojibwa Tribe), Group Facilitator/Cultural Liaison, Gookomis Endaad Residential Treatment Facility

Richard is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwa tribe. Richard is a veteran of the United States Army where he served with six years of service as an Army medical specialist. Richard is a recovering addict and completed treatment in 2010 and has over eight years in recovery.   Richard has worked with numerous medicine men and tribal elders from various tribes thus Richard has an extensive knowledge base in many different forms of Native American Traditions and Spirituality.  Furthermore, Richard has a unique way of blending these skills with Recovery knowledge and education. Furthermore, Richard is a trained facilitator for cultural groups, recovery groups and Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT).

Eric M. Mehnert

Chief Judge, Penobscot Nation Tribal Court

Hon. Eric M. Mehnert, J.D.,  has served as the Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court since 2008.  He presides over the Nation’s Criminal and Civil Courts as well as the Nation’s Wellness Court.  He tells anyone who will listen that it is the best job he ever had, and ever hopes to have. He also serves as the Wellness Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe in Arizona.  He was appointed in 2016 to establish the Tribe’s Wellness Court which is now fully active. He serves as a Contract Judge for the Bureau of Indian Affairs where he is a member of a team reviewing Tribal Courts to assist in meeting the due process requirements of the Tribal Law and Order Act and Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction under the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He is a member of the Maine, Massachusetts & Federal Court bars, as well as being admitted to practice before the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  He has extensive jury trial and appellate experience in both the State and Federal Courts. Prior to his appointment to the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court Eric was a senior partner in Hawkes & Mehnert, LLP.  In his thirty-two year career he focused his litigation practice on civil rights; employment discrimination, housing discrimination and defending the rights of those who have been institutionalized. Eric has also served as the Chief of Enforcement of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Commission against Discrimination overseeing a staff of 45 investigators and 15 attorneys in prosecuting discrimination actions throughout the Commonwealth.  He has served on the Maine Advisory Group to the US Commission on Civil Rights; The Board of Directors of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Executive Board of the Portland Branch of the NAACP.

Brooke O’Byrne

Program Associate, Children and Family Futures

Brooke O’Byrne has served a range of organizations including grassroots nonprofits and government agencies. She is passionate about justice reform and behavioral health.

Prior to joining the Children and Family Futures team, Ms. O’Byrne served as the court administrator with Nevada’s Sixth Judicial District Court where she was responsible for grant administration, financial management, staff development, and program implementation. During her tenure with the Sixth Judicial District, Ms. O’Byrne established the jurisdiction’s first Family Treatment Court, PreTrial Release Program, and Behavioral Health Task Force. She also founded the Family Support Center, rural Nevada’s premier outpatient behavioral health treatment facility. Ms. O’Byrne received her Masters of Business Administration from Western Governors University and her Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. She is a Certified Drug and Alcohol counselor and serves as a state appointed board member on Nevada’s Rural Behavioral Health Policy Board. In addition to her role with CFF, Ms. O’Byrne serves as a private consultant for justice reform initiatives to state and local government agencies.

Kristina Pacheco

(Pueblo of Laguna), Program Manager, Pueblo of Laguna Behavioral Health Services

Kristina Pacheco is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, Program Manager for the Pueblo of Laguna Behavioral Health Services and has been in the field of Alcohol and Drug prevention and treatment for over 20 years. During her career, she has been very fortunate to provide services to her tribal community in the capacity of school based health, probation/Healing to Wellness Court and direct addictions counseling. Ms. Pacheco is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna; where she resides in the village of Paraje/Casa Blanca, New Mexico.

Mark Panasiewicz

Program Director, Healing to Wellness Counseling, LLC

Mark Panasiewicz, LMSW, is a veteran of the United States Airforce, who went on to get his Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Michigan Technological University and then received his Master’s in clinical social work from Michigan State University.   Mark has been involved with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court) from 2011-2018.  Mark was a team member on the KBIC Drug court and acted as the group therapist/facilitator for the drug court and a consultant for the team.  Furthermore, Mark has also been involved with the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) since 2014.   With TLPI Mark is one of the main authors of the Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Treatment Guidelines 2cd edition that was published and released in 2017.  Mark has also been on countless “on sites” for TLPI where he has provided technical assistance and helped guide Native American communities in the formation of new drug courts or helped them “iron” out issues with existing drug courts. Mark has extensive knowledge of the 10 key components, sanctions and incentives and the importance of treating substance abuse as a disease.  Mark also has extensive knowledge on working in and with Native American communities. Mark has a very good understanding of the culture and the politics that occur when working in Native American communities and has been called upon to train nonnatives in healthy interactions with Native Americans communities. Furthermore, Mark is a licensed Clinical Therapist in both Wisconsin, and Michigan and is the Clinical Director of a ninety (90) day inpatient substance abuse treatment center (Gookomis Endaad) where his treatment modalities and treatment plan were adopted and implemented.  Mark is considered by many communities and organizations as a foremost expert in the field of substance abuse in particular with co-occurring mental health issues and Mark has been called upon to present and speak on this subject across the country.   Mark has done presentations at the Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Montana Association of Drug Court Professionals conferences on subject matters such as Enablement, Relapse Prevention, Pharmacology and Drug Testing, Veterans in Treatment Court and Screening and Assessments plus many more subjects related to the Drug Court field or on Co-occurring/Duel Diagnosis. Mark has also done webinars for the Seminole Tribe in Florida on subject matters such as meth and the effects it has on housing and has also done webinars for the Salvation Army on duel diagnosis issues and substance abuse. Finally, Mark owns and manages his own company called Healing to Wellness Counseling LLC.

Michelle Tom

(Diné), Family Medicine Physician, Winslow Indian Health Care Center

Michelle Tom, DO, MPH, is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, born and raised on the Navajo reservation. Michelle attended Winslow High School, and Arizona State University where she received a B.S. in Microbiology and Pre-Med. While in college, Michelle played Division I basketball. Michelle received her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Arizona. Michelle receive her medical degree from Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Michelle conducted her medical internship at Southampton Hospital with Stony Brook Medicine in Southampton, NY, and her family medicine residency at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, NJ. Michelle is presently a family medicine physician at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center.

Lori Vallejos

Counselor III, Pueblo of Laguna Behavioral Health Services

Lori Vallejos, LMSW, is a counselor with Laguna Behavioral Health Services in Laguna, New Mexico.  She has been a member of the Healing to Wellness Court for the Pueblo of Laguna since May 2017.  In 2003 she worked with Juvenile Drug Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She has received training in both Moral Reconation Therapy® and advanced Moral Reconation Therapy® and facilitates individual and group therapy using this treatment approach. 

Lauren van Schilfgaarde

(Cochiti Pueblo), Tribal Law Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

Lauren van Schilfgaarde, J.D., serves as TLPI's Tribal Law Specialist, which includes facilitating technical assistance to tribal courts, including Healing to Wellness Courts, and researching legal and policy issues as they face tribal governance and sovereignty. Prior to TLPI, Lauren served as law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Lauren is licensed in the State of California, and currently serves on the board of the National Native American Bar Association, the American Bar Association's Center for Racial and Ethnic Justice, and the American Bar Association's Tribal Courts Council. She recently finished serving a 3-year term on the board of the California Indian Law Association. Lauren graduated from the UCLA School of Law, where she focused her studies on tribal and federal Indian law. While in law school, she served as president of the Native American Law Students Association and on the board of the National Native American Law Students Association. Lauren participated in two tribal clinics, including the Tribal Legal Development Clinic and the Tribal Appellate Court Clinic.

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The Enhancement Training is offered as part of the Healing to Wellness Courts Training and Technical Assistance project--A project delivered by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) under a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.


Visit WellnessCourts.org for more information about the project. And, be sure to visit Home.TLPI.org for more information about TLPI's many projects, services, and free publications.

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