Panel Discussion

"Adapting to Changing California Laws and Its Impact on Our Communities"

A panel discussion, moderated by Bill Tarkanian, L.A. CADA’s Director of Program Development.  The esteemed panel includes:  Jennifer Lopez, Regional Administrator for the Department of Children and Family Services, Santa Fe Springs, CA; Douglas Haubert, Esq., City Prosecutor, City of Long Beach; Chief Jeff Piper, Chief of Police, City of Whittier; and Cinthya Alcaraz, LCSW,  Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health / Court Liaison

Proposition 64, passed by 57% of voters in California in November of 2016, decriminalized the personal possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older, leaving in effect Proposition 215, minimally regulating Medical Marijuana, and effectively legalizing Recreational Marijuana starting in January of 2018, with limits (smoking of marijuana in public is punishable by a fine; driving under the influence is still a crime; unlicensed sales is still punishable, but the sentence is limited to six months; and all sales to minors remain illegal

Proposition 47, passed by nearly 60% of voters in California in November of 2014.  The measure’s main effect was to reduce the severity of penalties associated with many non-violent offenses, including drug possession offenses, and the crimes often associated with substance abuse and dependency, like petty theft, forged and bad checks under $950.  Savings generated from reduced costs of incarceration were to be re-directed back into communities and schools.

AB1810 was signed into law in June of 2018 by Governor Jerry Brown.  This law created a pre-trial diversion alternative for persons with mental health disorders who are charged with misdemeanors and some felonies.  The law intended to mitigate an individual’s entry or reentry to the criminal justice system when significant mental health issues exist, while promoting public safety through redirection of funds.  The law also afforded local communities to create diversion policies and programs aimed at increasing a continuum of appropriate care, and judges’ considerable discretion in determining its applicability.

Our panel will discuss the costs and benefits of Prop. 64, Prop. 47 and AB1810, relative to community health and safety, specifically, and the appropriateness of diversion and alternative sentencing programs as part of society’s increased awareness for legal and health equity, more generally.



Bill Tarkanian, B.A., J.D., L.A.A.D.C. is a recovering lawyer, and the Director of Program Development for L.A. CADA. He is an advocate for marginalized populations, including the homeless, the LGBTQ, and others who are systems impacted. He leads L.A. CADA’s Court Diversion efforts as part of the agency’s commitment to legal and health equity. Bill teaches as an Adjunct at Azusa Pacific University’s Graduate School of Psychology (MFT track) and with Los Angeles Community Colleges.


jennifer lopez

JENNIFER LOPEZ, M.A. has more than 25 years of experience in child welfare and protective services for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). She has held many management positions throughout the Department and is currently a Regional Administrator at the Santa Fe Springs office.


DOUGLAS HAUBERT, Esq. is a skilled and experienced attorney. He was elected Long Beach City Prosecutor in 2010, and re-elected in 2014. He is known for his innovative and collaborative approaches to community safety, and nationally recognized for his diversion pro-grams, including a recent pilot program involving the Department of Mental Health and L.A. CADA, known as Priority Access Diversion (PAD), aimed at helping high frequency, non-violent, misdemeanor defendants.


CHIEF JEFF PIPER has been the permanent police chief of the Whittier Police Department since 2011 and is a 26-year law enforcement veteran. Chief Piper has been recognized for his contributions in community policing, directed enforcement efforts, and the development and implementation of mission-based policing. He holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Cal State Fullerton and a MA from Cal State San Bernardino.


CINTHYA ALCARAZ, LCSW, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Court Liaison, providing alternatives to incarceration. Cinthya provides staff coordination and services integration between the courts, the jails, and community-based treatment programs, with particular focus on balancing the needs of individuals and the expectations of the judicial system. She received her MSW from California State University Long Beach through the Advanced Standing Program.

This conference meets the qualifications for the provision of six (6.0) continuing education credits/contact hours (CEs/CEHs). UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs (Provider #64812). UCLA ISAP maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. This conference meets the qualifications for six (6.0) hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. UCLA ISAP is also an approved provider of continuing education for RADTs I/II, CADCs-CASs, CADCs I/II, CADCs-CSs, and LAADCs (CCAPP, #2N-00-445-1119), CATCs (ACCBC, #CP 20 872 C 0819), and CAODCs (CADTP, #151). CE credit will be awarded at the conclusion of the conference. Partial credit will not be available for those participants who arrive late or leave early.