Texas Tech University

Law Professor Appointed to Judicial Commission on Mental Health

George Watson

April 18, 2018

Brian Shannon will serve a two-year term on the state commission.

Brian Shannon
Brian Shannon

Brian Shannon, a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law, has been appointed to a two-year term on the State of Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health, which was established in January to assist the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals to better serve people struggling with mental health issues.

Shannon has tremendous expertise in the area of criminal procedure when it comes to persons with mental illness. He authored the 2016 edition of the book, “Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness.” He also co-authored the four previous editions of the book as well as award-winning Law Review articles focusing on mental health law.

“I am very honored to have been selected by the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to serve on this important new Judicial Commission on Mental Health,” Shannon said. “There is a significant overlap between the state's criminal justice system and issues involving persons with serious mental illness and other mental health problems. It is significant that the state's two highest courts have identified the need to better serve people who grapple with mental health issues and encounter the legal system. I look forward to working with this newly appointed group of judges, policymakers and other mental health experts to help make improvements in this critical area.”

Shannon has been a popular professor in the School of Law since 1988 and has won numerous teaching awards, including the 2013 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award, the President's Academic Achievement Award and the President's Excellence in Teaching Award. He also served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2001 to 2007.

He is a board appointee for StarCare Specialty Health System (formerly known as Lubbock Regional MHMR Center), where he has served for more than 25 years and is a former chair. He also has served on the boards of Advocacy, Inc., which is now Disability Rights Texas, and the Texas Council of Community Centers.

Shannon is an elected member of the American Law Institute and was the 2008-09 president of the Lubbock Area Bar Association. He is a past chair of the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee, and former Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to four terms on the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities from 2003-11. He also served in 2002-03 on a state task force that rewrote the state's criminal competency statues.

Additionally, Shannon has served as the NCAA faculty athletics representative at Texas Tech since 2008 and also is the Big 12 Conference's representative to the 1A Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) national board, being elected in 2016 to a third two-year term as president of the 1A FAR, which will expire in September.

In 2014, Shannon was named to the NCAA Division I Council, which came as a result of an overhaul of the NCAA's governance system, which has primary responsibility for Division I legislation, developing and recommending policies to the Board of Directors and supervising and acting on a wide array of issues, including NCAA championships. That four-year term began in January 2015.

“Professor Shannon's outstanding contributions and commitment to improving how our legal system works for those affected by mental illness is inspiring,” said Jack Wade Nowlin, dean of the School of Law. “He will be a dedicated and passionate voice on the commission. I look forward to the positive changes he and this commission will bring for Texans contending with mental health challenges.”