The Honorable Calvin Johnson, retired Chief Judge of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court established the first Mental Health Treatment Court in the State of Louisiana in 2002. By 2005, this Special Court was selected as one of four demonstration courts in the Country. Prior to establishing the first Mental Health Treatment Court, Judge Johnson served as Drug Court Judge from 1994 until 2002. As Chief Judge at the time Hurricane Katrina struck, Judge Johnson directed proceedings and maintained Court functions simultaneously across eight statewide locations.
Following his retirement from the bench in 2008, Judge Johnson was enlisted by the Governor to serve as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Human Service District (MHSD), an agency created by the State legislature to oversee the delivery of publicly funded, community based behavioral health services. Judge Johnson directed the agency’s turnaround, leveraged new opportunities created by managed care and the Affordable Care Act, and established an effective leadership team. In six years, he moved the agency out of its dilapidated trailers, defined and enhanced its services, and strategically positioned it as a model for health care reform and behavioral health transformation. The MHSD is now a $30 million organization operating an array of evidence based programs across three Parishes, including Assertive and Forensic Community Treatment (ACT/FACT) teams, Multiple Systemic Therapy (MST), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Positive Parenting Programs (Triple P), Coordinated System of Care (CSoC) and a 24/7 crisis response team which include crisis respite.
Judge Johnson retired from MHSD in April of 2014. Since his retirement in April he’s done consulting work for Magellan Health Louisiana, Futures Education and The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse(CADA). The consulting work for CADA specifically focused on a Reentry program for those Justice involved with Behavioral Health issues. Judge Johnson is currently working with the Federal Monitors appointed by Judge Lance Africk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana around the issue of proper care for defendants with mental health issues in the Parish prison.
Judge Johnson received his undergraduate degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1969, served four years in the United Stated Air Force, and then received his Jurisdoctorate from Loyola Law School in 1978. He was Professor of Law at Loyola Law School for nine years and Judge of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court for seventeen years. He has received many awards in recognition of his commitment to working with individuals involved in the criminal justice system through every aspect of their recovery, including job readiness, housing stability, and community service projects. He is the recipient of the La. Supreme Court Justice Albert Tate Award for Judicial Excellence, the Louis A. Martinet Award for Judicial Excellence, the ACLU Ben Smith Award for Community Service, the Loyola Law School Alumni of the year award, the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans Hero award, the Juvenile Justice for Youth Award, and the Crime Stoppers Award. Judge Johnson remains on the faculty of the Loyola Law School.