Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board establishes the policy and project priorities of The Council of State Governments Justice Center. The board features state legislators from both political parties, judicial leaders, health and human service agency administrators, victim advocates, corrections administrators, juvenile justice professionals, law enforcement officials, people who have experienced the criminal justice system firsthand. Together, our Board of Advisors represents a cross-section of leaders in who shape criminal justice policy in various parts of the country.

Executive Committee


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Justice Michael P. Boggs, Chair
Supreme Court of Georgia, GA
Justice Michael P. Boggs serves on the Supreme Court of Georgia. Previously, Justice Boggs served as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia from 2012 through 2016. Prior to his appellate judicial service, Justice Boggs served as a
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Superior Court Judge where he founded his circuit’s Felony Drug Court Program, and served as its Presiding Judge. Justice Boggs also previously served in the Georgia General Assembly. Justice Boggs has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his legislative and judicial career including the Georgia Sheriff’s Association “Leadership Award,” the Georgia District Attorney’s Association “Commitment to Justice Award,” recognition for his support of the Magnolia House Shelter for abused women and child victims of domestic violence, and the Boy Scouts of America “Golden Eagle” Award. In 2017, Justice Boggs was awarded the prestigious St. Thomas More Award for his work in leading the state in criminal justice reform, and in 2019 was awarded the “Spirit of Justice” award by the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Justice Boggs served as a member of Georgia’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform in 2011, and served as co-chair of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018. He currently serves as a member of Georgia’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, and chairs the Mental Health Courts and Corrections subcommittee. Justice Boggs also serves on the Pew Public Safety Performance Project Councils on Jails/Pretrial and Community Corrections and Civil Justice Reform, as well as the National Center for State Courts Evidence Based Sentencing Peer Group. Justice Boggs is a member of the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission, the Mercer Law School Board of Visitors, and the Board of Directors of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.
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Commissioner Marie Williams, Vice Chair
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, TN
Marie Williams was appointed commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services by Governor Bill Haslam in October 2016. Prior to that, she was the department’s deputy director, serving as a top advisor to the commissioner
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and assisting in the closure of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute. The closure reinvested $20.5 million into community-based services and enlisted the support of three East Tennessee private psychiatric in-patient hospital partners to provide services to patients previously served by Lakeshore. She also worked with the commissioner to create of the Prescription for Success initiative, a multi-faceted strategy to address the prescription drug problem in Tennessee. Previously, Williams served as the Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health Services, where she worked to expand consumer-based recovery services and oversaw the statewide planning and implementation of the behavioral health safety net program. Williams also launched the Creating Homes Initiative, served as a Community Builder Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was director of homeless services for Catholic Charities of Memphis, and led the Homeless Services at the Midtown Mental Health Center in Memphis.
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Sheriff Peter John Koutoujian, Jr.
Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, MA
During his nearly eight years in office, Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has initiated several landmark programs at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office that have garnered national attention. These include a medication-assisted treatment program recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National
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Institute of Corrections (NIC). Under Sheriff Koutoujian, Middlesex County was also chosen as one of three Data Driven Justice (DDJ) Project pilot sites by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. In October of 2017, he was selected by his peers to serve as President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association; he is also a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration and has been recognized as a “Champion of Justice Reform” by the Coalition for Public Safety. Sheriff Koutoujian is a graduate of Bridgewater State University, the New England School of Law, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
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Director Anne L. Precythe
Missouri Department of Corrections, MO
Anne L. Precythe became the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2017. In this role, Precythe is responsible for 21 adult correctional facilities, 6 community supervision centers, a community release center, and more than 40 probation and parole
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offices across Missouri. She oversees more than 11,000 staff, 58,000 probationers and parolees, and 33,000 inmates. Before becoming the second woman to serve as director of the department, Precythe was the director of the Division of Community Corrections in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, where she served from March 2013 to December 2016. Previously, Precythe served as the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections Supervision Services Administrator. In 2015, she was appointed by United States Attorney Eric Holder to the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, representing community corrections across the country.
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Senator Cam Ward
Chair, Judiciary Committee, Alabama Senate, AL
Alabama Senator Cam Ward has served in the Alabama State Senate since 2010. In 2014, he was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to serve as the chair of Alabama’s Prison Reform Task Force, which is a group of state policymakers
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and practitioners that guides the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Alabama. Sen. Ward previously served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives. He received his bachelor’s degree from Troy University and his JD from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
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Board Members At-Large


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Marsha R. Banks
Founder, Executive Director, Amiracle4sure, Inc., Reentry Services, PA
Marsha R. Banks is the founder and executive director of Amiracle4sure, Inc., a ministry that is focused on renewing, refreshing, and restoring the lives of people reentering the community after incarceration. Her work as an educator, counselor, and mentor has
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brought her to prisons, rehabilitation facilities, and churches with the intention of educating communities on the needs of this population. Marsha sits on the executive board for the Capital Region Ex-Offenders Coalition, is an advisory board member for Correctional Ministries Chaplains Association, and is a trainer and facilitator for Healing Communities of PA. She earned her associate degree at Harrisburg Area Community College, her bachelor’s at Lebanon Valley College, and an MA in public service leadership.
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Commissioner Lynn T. Beshear
Alabama Department of Mental Health, AL
Lynn T. Beshear was appointed commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health on July 10, 2017, by Governor Kay Ivey. Commissioner Beshear—who began her career as a nurse—has served on the boards of directors of several groups and councils,
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including the American Heart Association, Helping Montgomery Families Initiative, the Joint Public Charity Hospital Board, Medical AIDS Outreach Advisory Board, and more. In addition to these roles, Commissioner Beshear was part of the team that founded the Montgomery Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. From October 2020 through July 2017, Commissioner Beshear was the executive director of Envision 2020, a community-driven strategic planning effort in central Alabama counties that sought to develop 25 shared goals related to the quality of life through the use of active partnerships.
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Bernice Corley
Executive Director, Indiana Public Defender Council, IN
Bernice A. N. Corley is the Executive Director of the Indiana Public Defender Council. As Executive director she assist in the managing of the agency and carrying out the policies established by the Board of Directors. Prior to joining the
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Public Defender Council, Ms. Corley served four years as General Counsel at the Department of Education and also served as legal counsel for both the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives. Her career includes clerking for Hon. Carr Darden. Ms. Corley served as a Marion County Public Defender Agency as trial counsel as well as appellate counsel.
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Laurie Dudgeon
Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky Court of Justice
As director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Laurie K. Dudgeon administers the judicial branch budget, monitors legislation, and works with county, state, and national officials on court-related issues. She is responsible for providing administrative support to Kentucky's 404
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elected justices, judges, and circuit court clerks. Laurie previously practiced law in Kentucky and South Carolina; she was also executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and a staff attorney in the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. She has a BA and JD from the University of Kentucky.
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Representative Eric K. Hutchings
House Chair, Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, Utah House of Representatives, UT
Representative Eric K. Hutchings has served in the Utah House of Representatives since 2001. He serves on the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, the House Education Committee, and House Revenue and Taxation Committee, among others. Rep. Hutchings is
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a member of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and the Salt Lake County Commission on Youth and is the co­-chair of the Utah Reads Alliance Community. He has received the Community Leadership Award from the Utah Advisory Board on Children’s Justice and an Outstanding Public Service award from the Utah Sentencing Commission, among other honors. Rep. Hutchings received his BA in Asian studies from Brigham Young University.
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Presiding Judge Sharon Keller
Court of Criminal Appeals, TX
Presiding Judge Sharon Keller was first elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994, the first woman to serve on this court. She was elected Presiding Judge in 2000 and has twice been re-elected to that position. Presiding
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Judge Keller is the chairman of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and a member of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission, and a former chair of the CSG Justice Center Advisory Board. She is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the Judicial Advisory Council to the Community Justice Assistance Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. By virtue of her office, she is also vice-chair of the Texas Judicial Council. In 2003, Presiding Judge Keller received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service from the SMU Dedman School of Law. A native Texan, she holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rice University and a JD degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law.
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Director Joe O'Leary
Oregon Youth Authority, OR
In February 2018, Joe O’Leary became the director of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), the state’s juvenile justice agency, after serving as acting director since September 2017, and as its deputy director before that. His professional experience ranges from working
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as a public defender to advising two governors on public safety and legal issues. As its acting director, Joe is responsible for overseeing the operations of the agency, which serves approximately 1,400 youth ages 12‐24 at any given time. Immediately before joining OYA as deputy director in June 2012, he ran the Policy, Planning and Legislative Analysis Division at the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. Prior to his state government service, Joe was a trial attorney in Portland. He began his legal career as a public defender, which included a stint in juvenile court. Afterward, he spent several years in private practice representing members of law enforcement, corporate officers, lawyers, and employees. Prior to attending law school, he worked in a Latino farmworker community in Central Washington as a volunteer housing program coordinator through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. Joe received his undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and his juris doctorate from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland.
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Sheriff John R. Mehr
Madison County Sheriff's Office, TN
Sheriff John R. Mehr was elected to serve as the Sheriff of Madison County, Tennessee in August 2014 and was reelected in 2018. His entire working career has been devoted to law enforcement, with 38 of those years with the
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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Sheriff Mehr received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement from the University of Tennessee Martin and his Master’s Degree from The University of Memphis.  He is a 2008 graduate of the Tennessee Government Management Institute. Sheriff Mehr’s first job was as a Police Officer with the Bells Police Department. In 1975, Mehr joined the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division and was assigned to the Nashville, Murfreesboro, Jackson and Dyersburg, Tennessee areas. After 10 years of service as a Special Agent, he was promoted to Special Agent Coordinator of Drug Investigations for the Western Tennessee District of the T.B.I.   He served the Bureau in this capacity from 1985 until 1991, and was appointed to Special Agent in Charge for the Western District of Tennessee, Criminal Investigation Division, in which he served from 1991 until his retirement in 2012. Sheriff Mehr’s continuing professional education includes a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 139th session; F.B.I. Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar. A graduate of the Drug Enforcement Administration Officers Academy, Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Commander Supervisory Training Program, FBI’s Tennessee Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar and the National Sheriff’s Institute. Sheriff Mehr’s certifications include Certified Law Enforcement Officer, Tennessee Law Enforcement Planning Commission; Certified Fraud Examiner, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Austin, Texas; and he held a Top Secret Clearance with Federal Bureau of Investigation until his retirement from the TBI. Sheriff Mehr’s memberships have included, F.B.I. Domestic Terrorism Working Group; the U.S. Department of Justice; Association of Certified Fraud Investigators; the F.B.I. National Academy Associates; and the West Tennessee Criminal Investigators Association, where he served as President from 2000–2002 and honored as Officer of the Year for 2005-2006. Past awards include Certificate of Appreciation, Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (May 1985); Certificate of Appreciation, Memphis Police Department (July 1986); Certificate of Appreciation, 25th Judicial District State of Tennessee, U.S. Attorney General (March 1991); Special Commendation Award, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney General (January 1992); Certificate of Appreciation (U.S. Secret Service (1992); and Award for Public Service, U.S. General Services Administration, Inspector General’s Office (June 1994). Director’s Award from Tennessee Highway Safety Office in 2018, Union University 2018 Champion of Victims’ Rights Award. Sheriff Mehr serves on the Freed Hardeman University Mid-South Youth Camp Advisory Board. UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center Board, Madison County E911 Board Statewide Tennessee CIT Task Force Committee. Tennessee Pre-Arrest Coalition. He has also has been an Adjunct Professor for University of Tennessee at Martin. Recently appointed to the State Board of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
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Ann Miller
Managing Attorney, Defender's Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, MT
Ann M. Miller has been an attorney with the Tribal Defenders Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the Flathead Reservation in Montana for 23 years and the managing attorney for 13. During her tenure, the Defenders Office
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implemented an innovative in-house service for clients with co-occurring mental illness and chemical dependency and adopted a holistic defense practice with assistance from the Center for Holistic Defense, sponsored by the Bronx Defenders Office in New York. In 2015, her office created the Flathead Reservation Reentry Program that provides interdisciplinary, supportive services for tribal members returning to the reservation from incarceration. Miller served on Montana’s Public Defender Commission for six years and Montana’s Statewide Reentry Task Force for two. She currently serves on the Missoula Criminal Justice Coordinating Council that seeks criminal justice reform in Missoula, Montana.
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Chief Gordon Ramsay
Wichita Police Department, KS
Chief Gordon Ramsay has been the Wichita Police Chief since January 2016. A long-time proponent of community policing, he also served for nearly a decade as police chief in Duluth, Minnesota, where he had been a member of the force
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since 1996. He is a past president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and served as the general chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Midsize Agencies Division. Chief Ramsay received his BA in criminology and sociology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and his MA in management from the College of St. Scholastica. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 222.
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Senator Richard Sears
Chair, Judiciary Committee, Vermont Senate, VT
Vermont Senator Richard Sears has served in the Vermont State Legislature for 24 years and has chaired the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee for 20 years. A passionate advocate for improving the criminal justice system, Sen. Sears also chairs the Corrections
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Oversight Committee and has worked with residential programs for troubled youth for more than 35 years. Sen. Sears began his public service in 1987, when he was elected to the Bennington Select Board, where he served for seven years before his election to the Vermont State Legislature in 1992. Sen. Sears received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont.
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Charles A. Spahos
Chief Financial Crimes Prosecutor, North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, NC
Charles A. “Chuck” Spahos has been the chief financial crimes prosecutor for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys since January 2018. Prior to this role, Spahos served five-and-a-half years as the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of
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Georgia following more than 10 years as the elected solicitor-general of Henry County, Georgia. He previously practiced law as a sole practitioner and served as the solicitor for the City of McDonough Municipal Court during those three years. Additionally, Spahos is a certified police officer, having been a patrol officer, a narcotics investigator, and later the Chief Investigator of the Flint Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office; and also served as an assistant district attorney upon graduating from law school. Spahos received his BS in criminal justice from Mercer University in 1994 and graduated magna cum laude from John Marshall Law School in 1997. Spahos served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1987-1992 and was on active duty during Operation Desert Storm.
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Thomas Stickrath
Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety, OH
Thomas Stickrath brings more than 30 years of experience in the criminal justice field to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Stickrath began his career in 1978 with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) and subsequently served as warden
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at the Orient Correctional Institution and regional director of the DRC, before being named assistant director in 1991. In 2005, Governor Bob Taft appointed him the director of the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS). Under his leadership, the department achieved national accreditation for all of its programs, earning DYS the American Correctional Association’s distinguished Eagle Award. In May of 2010, Governor Ted Strickland appointed Stickrath the director of the Department of Public Safety, where he oversaw the State Highway Patrol, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and Homeland Security. In January 2011, Attorney General Mike DeWine tapped Stickrath to serve as superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, overseeing the state crime lab and a team of law enforcement professionals. Stickrath also chairs Ohio’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. He has served extensively as a consultant on criminal justice issues to various organizations and state governments. Stickrath received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University and his JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and in 2011 received the University’s “Distinguished Service Award."
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Secretary John Wetzel
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, PA
John Wetzel was appointed Secretary of Corrections for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in January 2011 by Governor Tom Corbett and was reappointed by Governor Tom Wolf in January 2015. Wetzel has presided over the first prison population reduction in
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Pennsylvania in more than four decades, a restructuring of the community corrections and mental health systems, and a re-engineering of internal processes to yield a more efficient program delivery. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the corrections field, including as a corrections officer, treatment counselor, warden, and training academy director. He is a member of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, which is focused on reducing prison populations. He is also a member of Harvard’s Executive Session on Community Corrections, which is a joint project of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice that works to shape the future of community corrections policy in the United States. He is a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and, in May 2016, was presented with an honorary doctorate degree by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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Justice Joseph A. Zayas
Administrative Judge, Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Queens County, NY
Joseph A. Zayas, an elected justice of the Supreme Court, was appointed the administrative judge for Supreme Court, Criminal Term, in Queens County, New York (11th Judicial District) in January 2013. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Justice Zayas also
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presides over jury trials and the county’s old case calendar. Previously, he served as judge of the Court of Claims, Acting Supreme Court Justice, and judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, presiding over Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, and Youth Court. Earlier in his career, Justice Zayas served as the principal law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Rolando T. Acosta at the Harlem Community Justice Center, a multi-jurisdictional, problem-solving court serving the communities of East and Central Harlem. He is a frequent lecturer and presenter on legal and judicial subjects including drug, mental health, and youth courts, and conducts seminars for new judges. Justice Zayas received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center and his JD from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Charles Evan Hughes Fellow.
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