Legal

MAJ Alma Whitelaw

MAJ Alma Whitelaw currently serves as the Command Judge Advocate (CJA) for the 287th Sustainment Brigade headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. In this role, MAJ Whitelaw advises the command regarding military justice actions, current legal issues, preparation for deployment and Warfighters, and ethics.

For the past two years MAJ Whitelaw worked as a Judge Advocate with the Kansas Army National Guard at the Joint Forces Headquarters in Topeka. Her duties included providing free outreach CLEs for civilian attorneys to better understand military jargon, pay, benefits, as well as the impact of civilian court decisions on Servicemembers military careers. She also assists Servicemembers with medical boards, discharge boards, legal assistance with civilian legal matters, and a variety of other legal issues. She briefs and advises KSNG Soldiers and Airmen mobilizing, both pre-deployment and post-deployment. Since her deployments to Kuwait and Iraq, MAJ Whitelaw maintains a special interest in Servicemembers with PTSD and other serious medical issues as a result of their service while on military duty.

She received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and a Master of Science from Central Michigan University She received her J.D. from Washburn University and, an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University in Philadelphia. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Mental Health Disability Law from New York Law School with an emphasis in trauma related disability.

Cruz Vallarta

Currently employed as a Senior Outreach Case Manager for the Veterans Jail Diversion Trauma Recovery Program Mr. Vallarta is a graduate of Webster University, St Louis Missouri with a Master Degree in Counseling Psychology and a second Masters degree in Management.

Mr. Vallarta has 30 years’ experience in mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities service provision. He has worked for the Center for Health Care Services, a Mental Health Authority for Bexar County for the past 18 years in a direct service and supervisory capacity. Mr. Vallarta is a combat veteran and is retired from the US Army after 22 year having been honorably discharged after two tours (Republic of Vietnam and Central America).

Mr. Vallarta has been asked to provide consultation and treatment guidelines for services coordination to Veterans and their service organizations. He has been asked to testify before the Texas House and Senate on various Veteran related initiatives. He has presented at various conferences and organizations at the local, state and National level. Mr. Vallarta has provided consultation to the GAINS National Center for Jail Diversion and the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as well as many other Veteran’s organizations.

Anthony San Giacomo

Anthony San Giacomo has been with the U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services Office for 22 years and has a Masters of Public Administration from Canisius College.  He was promoted to Chief U.S. Probation Officer approximately three years ago and is currently an FJC trainer, Adjunct Professor at Hilbert College, a member of the NCCC Criminal Justice Board, The Hilbert Masters of Public Administration Board, and the FCI McKean Community Relations Board.

Jack O'Connor

Jack O'Connor is a Vietnam Combat Infantry veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. He holds a Bachelors’ Degree Sociology/Masters Degree Counselor Education from Canisius College in Buffalo New York. He has worked with the Erie County Department of Social Services for 34 years and held the position of “Director Of Medicaid Managed Care” from 1993 to 2009.

Mr. O'Connor is an Advisory Board member of Western New York Veterans Hospital (1995 to present) and a Buffalo Veterans treatment Court Mentor Coordinator (2008 to present). He has been married 42 years and has three daughters and five grandchildren.

Wendy Neihaus

Wendy Niehaus is the Director of the Hamilton County Department of Pretrial and Community Transition Services. She has served in that capacity since 1980, and is responsible for policy direction and coordination of pretrial release, early treatment intervention, and jail population management activities for the Hamilton County Courts. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a wide array problem solving initiatives impacting release, diversion, specialty dockets and reentry. In addition, she has collaborated to develop key partnerships to improve Hamilton County’s overall response to women involved in the criminal justice system.

Ms. Niehaus is the past President of the Ohio Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, and continues to serve as member or advisor on numerous criminal justice and related community boards. Ms. Niehaus is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and holds a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Corrections from Xavier University.

Eileen Moore

Eileen C. Moore, Associate Justice 4th District Court of Appeal, California
Associate Justice Eileen C. Moore received her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1978, and holds a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from University of Virginia. Justice Moore was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three in 2000 by Governor Gray Davis. From 1965 until 1972 she practiced as a registered nurse, including service as a combat nurse in Vietnam. She is a member of Vietnam Veterans of America. She serves as Women’s Mentor for the Orange County, California’s Combat Veterans Court,

Timothy J. Murray

Timothy J. Murray is the Executive Director of the Pretrial Justice Institute. He has worked as a criminal justice practitioner at the local, state and federal levels for 40 years. His extensive pretrial justice experience includes management and executive positions with the pretrial services systems in Washington, D.C., and Miami-Dade County, Fla. While in Miami, he was the principal architect and administrator of the nation's first drug court. He went on to serve with the U.S. Department of Justice as first director of the Drug Court Program Office.

Following that appointment, Tim held the positions of Director of Policy and Planning and Director of Program Development at the Bureau of Justice Assistance. He completed his federal service as part of the start-up team for the Transportation Security Administration, now part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He was selected as PJI's Executive Director in 2006. He has provided technical assistance to hundreds of programs and organizations, nationally and internationally. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies and is the proud recipient of the Association's most prestigious honor, the Ennis J. Olgiati Award. He also serves as the Executive Director for the Institute for Justice Planning, a subsidiary of PJI providing planning support to jurisdictions engaged in criminal justice system reform.

JoAnn Merica

Jo Ann Merica is special counsel with the Commercial and Construction Practice Groups of Sedgwick LLP in Austin, Texas. Ms. Merica currently serves on the Texas State Bar Board of Directors and chairs the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans project on a state-wide basis and is the co-chair of the TLTV project in Austin.

Ms. Merica’s dedication to providing legal aid to Texas veterans has been recognized on numerous occasions. She was presented with the Texas Veterans Commission Leadership Award and received a State Bar Presidential Citation for her work as a co-chair of the State Bar Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans Project and as co-chair of the Austin Bar Association’s Veterans Project Committee.

She was also honored with the Judge Sam Williams Leadership Award for her work as a co-chair of the State Bar Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans Project and for setting up a wills clinic for deploying Marines during this past bar year. Ms. Merica is a past chair of the Austin Bar Foundation (2008) and past president of the Austin Bar Association. She has also served as the president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) (1998-99) and the Austin Young Lawyers Association (1993).

Jim McGuire

Jim McGuire, LCSW, PhD – James McGuire is a Social Work Researcher and Program Administrator whose current position is National Director, VHA (Veterans Health Administration) Veterans Justice Program (VJP). VJP is composed of VA Healthcare for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Program (begun 2006; provides prison outreach and reentry services) and VA Veterans Justice Outreach (begun 2009, provides law enforcement, jail, and court-based services for justice-involved Veterans). In collaboration with over 1,000 state and Federal prisons, and hundreds of local jails, courts, and community law enforcement agencies, VA outreach reentry and case coordination services have been provided to more than 45,000 prison reentry Veterans and 39,000 justice-involved Veterans through September 2012. In addition to these services, VJP in 2012-2014 will, in collaboration VA’s Law Enforcement Training Academy, train 3,000 VA law enforcement officers in Veteran-specific crisis de-escalation skills.

For 22 years prior to employment at VA (in 1994), Dr. McGuire was a clinician and administrator at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Culver City, California. He worked in crisis intervention, substance abuse, family and child guidance, and justice treatment programs during his tenure in community mental health.

Dr. McGuire earned his MSW and PhD from UCLA.

Gregg Maxon

Brigadier General Richard Gregg Maxon retired on July 1, 2008; culminating military and state service careers as the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. Appointed by Governor Janet Napolitano, he assumed duties as the Director on March 28, 2007.Gregg enlisted in the Army in May 1972 serving as a linguist for the Army Security Agency. Separating from active duty in July 1975, he attended Arizona State University where he earned Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, and Juris Doctor degrees.

In October 1980, Gregg re-entered active duty as a Judge Advocate with the U.S. Navy. He joined the Arizona Army National Guard as a Judge Advocate in August 1984. In June, 1999, he was appointed as the Assistant Adjutant General and promoted to Brigadier General on December 12, 2000.

Gregg retired from military service on July 9,2007. Currently he is working with a number of Veterans Organizations and practices law in the area of Veterans’ Disability Claims Appeals. He serves as a Judge Pro Tem in Maricopa County Superior Court Veterans Treatment Court and is a Judge on the Arizona Court of Military Appeals. He is a 2011 inductee into the Arizona Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

Judge Windy Lindley

Judge Wendy S. Lindley has been a Judicial Officer in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, since 1994. She has created and presided over many of the Orange County Collaborative Courts, which feature a multi-agency approach to sentencing and rehabilitation of non-violent offenders. Judge Lindley currently presides over the Adult Drug Court, Criminal Mental Health Courts, DUI Court, Veterans Treatment Court and the Homeless Outreach Court, all of which she played a crucial role in establishing.

Her experiences with both substance abusers and the mentally ill have sensitized her to the need for early intervention, and the importance of providing services to the indigent population. She recognized that a failure to divert the homeless population from the criminal justice system contributes to an escalation in the level of crimes committed by homeless individuals, and creates barriers to re-entering society. Her Veterans Treatment Court addresses issues of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), substance abuse and sexual trauma in an attempt to restore the veterans to the people they were prior to their life-changing combat experiences.

Judge Lindley was instrumental in the creation of the Community Court, which is located in Santa Ana, California. The Community Court houses all of the Collaborative Court programs over which she presides. Co-located in the Community Court are numerous service providers, including Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Services Agency, Veterans Administration, and Legal Aid. Services are provided for anyone in the community who needs them. Offices are located on-site in order to provide immediate access for participants and to facilitate staff collaboration.

Judge Lindley has served as Presiding Judge of the South Orange County Judicial District, has served on many committees and lectured extensively on therapeutic justice. Prior to becoming a judge, she created the first Domestic Violence Unit in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Marilyn Harp

Marilyn Harp is the Executive Director of Kansas Legal Services, a statewide provider of civil legal services to low income people.She graduated from the University of Kansas Law School in 1979 and has been with Kansas Legal Services since then. Kansas is proud of its strong military presence, including Army, Air Force and National Guard.Kansas Legal Services has worked closely with the Kansas Bar Association to find ways to meet the legal needs of service members and their families residing in Kansas.

Joan Gillham

Joan is an Accredited Attorney by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and has been admitted to practice law before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Joan represents Veterans and their surviving spouses on their Department of Veterans Affairs claims for disability benefits and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) commencing at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA), and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).

Ms. Gillham represents Veterans who have been medically separated from the military between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009 in the review of their disability ratings by the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR). She also represents Veterans who have served in the military from August 2, 1990 to present, including the Gulf War, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, OIF, OEF, and OND. Joan has extensive knowledge in medical record review and medical terminology. Her legal representation is limited to matters and proceedings before federal courts and agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs. She received her JD from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University.

Patricia George

Patricia George received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in 1994 and her law degree from the University of Arizona in 2000. For the past 11 years Ms. George has been a prosecutor with the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office. Initially a trial prosecutor, Ms. George was a domestic violence specialist and was responsible for handling some of the most severe domestic violence cases. From trial, Ms. George transferred to the Charging Bureau and has spent 6 years reviewing hundreds of cases per year submitted by the Phoenix Police Department to determine the appropriateness of criminal prosecution. Currently, Ms. George is a Prosecutor in the Community Prosecution Bureau and coordinator for both the City of Phoenix Mental Health Court and Veterans Court. As a coordinator for these Courts, she received a 2013 Excellence award as part of the City of Phoenix Problem Solving Courts Team.

Ms. George is a member of the Avon Project Order of Protection Task Force in Arizona, the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence Predominant Aggressor Work Group, and the Maricopa Association of Governments Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project. She also received the 2012 David R. White Excellence in Victim Advocacy Award from the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council, a 2013 City of Phoenix Excellence Team Award as a member of the Domestic Violence Team, and a 2012 City of Phoenix Individual Excellence Award for her work in both domestic violence and veterans affairs. Through her work with Veterans, Ms. George is a member of the Arizona State Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Committee, the Arizona Office of the Attorney General’s Anti-Violence Commission and Veterans Task Force (CAMO) and is the founder and chair of the City of Phoenix Law Department Armed Forces Support Committee.

Jodi Galvin

Jodi Galvin serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association Armed Forces Committee and the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative.  She works closely with Paul Freese, Vice President of Los Angeles Public Counsel, to expand Veteran Treatment Courts, including state and federal jurisdictions. She has been instrumental in bringing together the various entities involved in Veterans affairs and in finding ways to resolve traffic ticket/warrant issues which pose major obstacles to employment and affordable housing.  She coordinates the efforts of Veterans assistance groups, to maximize the utilization of resources and effectiveness of training programs. She has created a brief bank of motions covering different charges for Penal Code Section 1170.9 (Veteran Treatment Statute in California) and make it available to defense lawyers in the state. Previously she served as a career Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney (gang prosecutor), adjunct professor at Santa Monica College, and investigator for the Public Defender’s office.  She has extensive training in mediation from Pepperdine University, the Center for Mediation, and La Sierra University and she has been appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court panel of mediators. She received her JD from Western State University College of Law.

Paul Freese

Paul L. Freese, Jr., is the Vice President of Public Counsel, the public interest law office of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations and the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the United States. In 1994 he joined Public Counsel as Directing Attorney of the Homelessness Prevention Law Project. He was promoted in January 2001 to be Director of Litigation & Advocacy and again in 2010 to be the organization’s first Vice President. From October 2007 through March, 2008, he was appointed as Public Counsel’s Interim CEO. In July, 2012 the law firm, Irell & Manella, named Paul as their first Chair in Public Interest Law.

Paul serves as Special Adviser on Veterans Advocacy to the ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, Chair of the ABA Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits and Services; past Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) Ventures (the affordable housing arm of PATH), He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Reclaim Neighborhoods L.A., the Children’s Law Center, Angels Nest,TLP,, JOB, and CORE (Coalition On Residential Education).

He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1988 and was selected to be a commencement speaker. His other experience includes an externship with the Honorable Stephen V. Wilson, United States District Court Judge, and four years of part-time volunteer work with El Centro Legal in Santa Monica. He is married to Dr. Denise Freese, a family physician with UCLA Medical Group, and has two sons, David and Paul Leo.

Rose Ewing

Rose Ewing, J.D., is known throughout  nationally for her work organizing therapeutic court services as alternatives to incarceration for people with drug, alcohol, mental health, and veterans treatment problems. She spearheaded the planning and implementation of the third Veterans Treatment Court in the United States, for veterans or service members arrested in Tulsa County. In 2010 she was inducted into the National Drug Court Hall of Fame. Rose has a BS degree from Oklahoma State University, a MS from University of California-Santa Barbara, and a JD from the University of Tulsa.

Joe DeWoskin

Joe DeWoskin is a partner in the law firm of Waits, Brownlee, Berger & DeWoskin in Kansas City, Missouri. He practices in the area of family law, military law, landlord/tenant, personal injury, Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Social Security Disability, and general civil litigation. Joe is admitted to practice law in Missouri, Kansas, the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Missouri, U.S. Federal District Court of Kansas, United States Army Criminal Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Kansas Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Creditors Rights and Assets Protection Group.

In 2010, Joe served as the Chair of the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division (GP/SOLO) of the American Bar Association. Joe has taught continuing legal education seminars for the American Bar Association; the Missouri Bar; the Indiana Bar; the Creditors Rights and Asset Protection Group; the United States Army Reserves; and the Johnson County Kansas Bar Association.

He has also been retained as an expert to advise and draft documents and has testified as an expert in cases involving the division of military retirement, SCRA, and rights under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the United States Army Reserve. He received his B.A. from Washington & Jefferson College in 1988 and his J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1991.

Jeff Conway

Jeff Conway is a 1989 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law, and is currently a consultant with The Strategic Organization in Kansas City. He has been the project lead for Army OneSource’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel pilot project. Prior to his work with The Strategic Organization, Jeff worked in a variety of positions in public policy and government affairs.

He served as a legislative aide to three different state senators in Nebraska, a bill drafter in both the Colorado General Assembly and the Nebraska Legislature, legislative liaison for the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Legal Counsel to U.S. Senator Jim Exon.

He is a member of the Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas bars.

Kris Carlson

Kris Carlson practices Cybersecurity Law with Polsinelli PC in Phoenix, Arizona and a former Special Forces Medical Sergeant. Kris served with 3rd and 10th Special Forces Groups, and is a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

After separating from the Army, Kris attended law school at the University of Arizona. As a law student, he helped set-up Tucson City Veteran's Court, and worked to create a Veterans' legal assistance clinic at the University of Arizona law school. Kris also serves as a subject matter expert for the development of the Army OneSource Military Legal Assistance video on Serving Those Who Have Served.

Bob Barrett

Bob is a 1999 graduate of the United States Military Academy. Bob served over five years in the Army as an Infantry Officer and participated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He graduated from George Washington University Law School in 2007. After law school, Bob worked at Hunton & Williams and Spotts Fain in Richmond as an intellectual property attorney. While at Hunton, Bob helped found the Veterans Pro Bono Program and served as the Program's Director from 2008-2010. During Bob's time as the Director, Hunton's Veterans Pro Bono Program helped over 30 Veterans receive Veterans benefits and donated over 6000 hours to Veterans legal representation.

Bob is currently the Assistant Corporate Counsel at Degremont Technologies N.A. in Richmond and is the Co-Chair of the Virginia Bar Association's Veterans Issues Task Force (VITF). The VITF helps Virginia Veterans and Servicemembers in need of legal assistance find pro bono or reduced fee legal representation. The VITF has helped over 90 Veterans and their Families with their legal issues.

Dan Abreu

As Senior Project Associate, Mr. Abreu represents PRA at national meetings and conferences on issues related to justice and behavioral health and coordinates justice behavioral health training and projects. He also provides Technical Assistance, Strategic Planning and assists with facilitatation of State Policy Academies for SAMHSA’s Service Members Veterans and Families Technical Assistance Center (SMVF).

The SMVF’s mission is to strengthen the behavioral health systems serving Service Members, Veterans and their Families. As Associate Director of the SAMHSA National GAINS Center, Mr. Abreu has coordinated technical assistance to SAMHSA jail diversion grantees and in several states and communities has conducted Sequential Intercept Mapping and Strategic Planning workshops which promote behavioral health and criminal justice collaboration.

Mr. Abreu is former Associate Director of Operations at Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC) and in his capacity of Associate Director oversaw discharge planning activities for individuals with mental illness returning to the community from prison, as well as development and implementation of the Sing Sing CORP Re-entry Program. He formerly held positions with CNYPC as Regional Supervisor and as Chief of Mental Health Services at Sing Sing C.F. Prior to employment with CNYPC, Mr. Abreu coordinated jail mental health services in Albany and Rensselaer counties in New York State.

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