Speakers

Addressing the intersection of of Mental Health, Homelessness and Criminal Justice

      

     

Judge Cindy Davis

Judge 
Superior Court of California, County of San Diego

Judge Davis was appointed by Governor Brown in December 2013. She is currently assigned to lead the Mental Health Court for the county in the central division of the superior court. Her current role includes heading the Behavioral Health Court, as well calendars for conservatorships, writs, and competency all related to mental health issues. Judge Davis served as a Commissioner of the Superior Court from 2006 to 2013. She has experience as a judge in civil, criminal, family law as well as domestic violence specialty courts.

Prior to joining the bench she prosecuted consumer fraud cases as the Head Deputy City Attorney of the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit at the San Diego City Attorneys office. She was also in private practice with Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps, LLP in the areas of real estate and business litigation.

She served as a Judicial Clerk, to the Honorable William B. Enright, United States District Court, Southern District of California after graduating with honors from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1993.

During her years of practice she was also very involved in the local legal community. She served as President of Lawyers Club of San Diego, Vice President and Treasurer of the San Diego County Bar Association, President of the San Diego Bar Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. She remains active with the bar serving on the Advisory Board to Lawyers Club of San Diego.

   

Matthew Dix

Deputy District Attorney
County of San Diego, District Attorney's Office

Dix has served as Deputy District Attorney in San Diego since 2007. He has successfully prosecuted a wide array of criminal offenses, including murder, rape, child sexual abuse, child pornography, child physical abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, narcotic sales, juvenile offenders, and large-scale auto theft conspiracies.

Since January 2018, DDA Dix has been assigned to the Collaborative Courts Division, leading Behavioral Health Court for his office. Behavioral Health Court is a community-supervised rehabilitation program for probation eligible misdemeanor and felony offenders living with a serious mental illness who are willing to engage in intensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration. DDA Dix has experience in other Collaborative Courts including Drug Court, Homeless Court, and Veterans Court.

  

       

Christina LaCroix

County of San Diego, Public Defender's Office

Christina graduated with her master’s degree in social work from USC. From 2011 to 2015 she worked with juvenile offenders at the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office conducting comprehensive clinical assessments, developing and implementing treatment recommendations to reduce recidivism, and writing mitigation reports for transfer hearings. In 2015, Christina joined the Parole Department providing clinical case management for parolees with severe and persistent mental illness who were transitioning from prison or the state hospital back into the community. In 2016, she joined the newly developed Defense Transition Unit in the San Diego Public Defender's Office providing assessment and linkage to treatment, court education and advocacy, and participation in collaborative court and community projects.

  

  

Heather Trocha

Deputy District Attorney
County of San Diego, District Attorney's Office

Heather has been a Deputy District Attorney since 2007 with the County of San Diego. She has worked in the juvenile JUDGE unit, central pre-trial, Superior Court, and Northern and Eastern branches where she managed multiple serious felony cases. Since 2013, she has worked in the Collaborative Justice Division with post-conviction offenders. She helped implement the current process for parole revocations, is team leader for the Parole/Post-Release Community Supervision court and the Proposition 47/64 unit, handles all of the County’s Mandatory Supervision cases, is one of the Deputies assigned to Re-entry Court, and handles the DA’s Community Justice Initiative (CJI) for the County, which grants diversion to low-level misdemeanor offenders.

  

Mary Woods

Regional Director of Operations in San Diego County and Arizona
Telecare Corporation

Mary Woods, LMFT is a Regional Director of Operations in San Diego County and Arizona for Telecare Corporation. She has 30 years’ experience in behavioral health services as a clinician and a leader. She oversees the operations of multiple out-patient behavioral health programs, including several with a focus on forensic behavioral health.

   

Neil Besse

Public Defender
County of San Diego, District Attorney's Office

Neil Besse has been a Deputy Public Defender for 19 years. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University (BA 1991) and the University of Georgia (JD 1996). He currently supervises the Public Defender’s Defense Transition Unit, which he formed in 2016. The DTU consists of four licensed mental health clinicians and two housing navigators. With paralegal support, the DTU accepts referrals directly from assigned Public Defenders. DTU clinicians assess clients’ diagnoses and treatment needs within 5 working days, linking them to mental health services with timely and appropriate treatment plans which may be used as conditions of probation.

   

Michael Via

Senior Probation Officer
San Diego County Probation Department

Senior Probation Officer Michael Via, has 12 years’ experience working for the San Diego County Probation Department, working in Juvenile Institutions and Investigations, as well as both juvenile and adult community supervision.  He is currently assigned to the Behavioral Health Court (BHC) program and supervises adult BHC members currently on Formal Probation